Overview and entry requirements
The MA African Studies (Literature Pathway) enables students to engage critically with varied aspects of oral and written literatures in Africa. The MA programme is unique in the way that it encourages exploration of relationships between indigenous African aesthetics and contemporary literary theories. The module ‘Theories and Techniques of Comparative Literature’ provides theoretical and methodological skills while the programme’s other units focus on specific areas such as literatures in African languages and contemporary African literature in English.
See African Languages, Cultures and Literatures department
Why study African Studies (Literature Pathway) at SOAS
- SOAS ranks 1st in London in the Complete University Guide 2021 for Middle Eastern and African Studies, and 6th in UK
- we are specialist in the studies of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia
- gain in-depth understanding of one these key world regions, grounded in the study of one or more languages of the region
- access SOAS’s comprehensive cross-regional expertise and gain an understanding of the interconnectedness of these regions in an increasingly globalised world
- solid methodological and interdisciplinary foundation
- students have an opportunity to develop a holistic and integrated approach to the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East through their languages and cultures
Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time
- We will consider all applications with 2:ii (or international equivalent) or higher. In addition to degree classification we take into account other elements of the application including supporting statement and references.
- One calendar year (full-time);
Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)
- Overseas fees:
Fees for 2021/22 entrants. This is a Band 3 fee. The fees are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. Further details can be found in the Fees and Funding tab on this page or in the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page
NB: For students on the Literature pathway, the dissertation (10,000 words) must be on a subject in African Literature.
Choose a module(s) from the List of Literature options below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module(s) from the List of Modules below to the value of 30 credits
Choose a module(s) from Postgraduate Open Options to the value of 30 credits
List of Modules (subject to availability)
Anthropology (minor only)
Language (minor only)
The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.
Teaching & Learning
One-year Masters programmes consist of 180 credits. 120 credits are taught in modules of 30 credits (taught over 20 weeks) or 15 credits (taught over 10 weeks); the dissertation makes up the remaining 60 units. The programme structure shows which modules are compulsory and which optional.
As a rough guide, 1 credit equals approximately 10 hours of work. Most of this will be independent study, including reading and research, preparing coursework and revising for examinations. It will also include class time, which may include lectures, seminars and other classes. Some subjects, such as learning a language, have more class time than others. At SOAS, most postgraduate modules have a one hour lecture and a one hour seminar every week, but this does vary.
More information is on the page for each module.
- Students will acquire knowledge and critical awareness of current issues and/or insights into Africa from the perspective of at least two social sciences and/or humanities disciplines.
- Students will have the opportunity of gaining knowledge or further knowledge of an African language.
- Students will gain specialised and in-depth knowledge in one particular area of the study of Africa and from disciplinary perspective.
Intellectual (thinking) skills
- Students will develop a critical and analytical approach to issues relating to Africa in the disciplinary areas chosen.
- Students will develop skills of synthesizing materials from a variety of sources and presenting these in writing and orally in an academic context.
- Students will have the opportunity of researching topics which have been little commented on in the secondary literature and thus develop research skills by working on primary sources.
Subject-based practical skills
- Students will gain specific knowledge of aspects of African life, which will prepare them for working in Africa.
- The specialist knowledge developed in the individual courses will allow students to add an academically grounded perspective to their particular subsequent work context.
- If a student takes an African language they will have a strong practical skill, which will help them in any context where the language is used and which will also be of benefit if they need to learn another language in the future.
- Through managing their studies students will develop the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.
- In researching and writing coursework and the dissertation students will develop research and writing skills.
- Students will develop the skills of independent learning required for continuing onto a research degree or for professional development.
- Useful resources from the African Languages, Cultures and Literatures department.
- SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Fees for 2021/22 entrants, per academic year (Band 3 tuition fee)
||Part-time 2 Years
||Part-time 3 Years
||Part-time 4 Years
Intensive Language only
Fees go up each year, therefore, your tuition fee in your second and subsequent years of study will be higher.
Our continuing students, on the same degree programme, are protected from annual increases higher than 5%.
Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the postgraduate tuition fees page.
Application Deadline: 2021-01-29 00:00
Application Deadline: 2021-02-15 00:00
Application Deadline: 2021-05-31 00:00
Application Deadline: 2021-06-04 00:00
For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section
A postgraduate degree in African Literature from SOAS provides students with competency in language skills and intercultural awareness and understanding. Familiarity with the region will have been developed through a combination of the study of language, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. Graduates of this programme will develop their ability to engage with and explore relationships between indigenous African aesthetics and contemporary literary theories.
Graduates leave SOAS with a portfolio of widely transferable skills which employers seek, including:
- written and oral communication skills
- attention to detail
- analytical and problem solving skills
- ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources.
A postgraduate degree is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Postgraduate students gain linguistic and cultural expertise enabling them to continue in the field of research or to seek professional and management careers in the business, public and charity sectors.
Some graduates leave SOAS to pursue careers directly related to their study area, while others have made use of the intellectual training for involvement in analysing and solving many of the
problems that contemporary societies now face. The MA African Literature can lead to further study and research, however there is also a range of opportunities in fields such as:
- Archive work
- Arts Management
Find out more on our Careers Service website
A Student's Perspective
Mia Eskelund Pedersen
I had studied in an international school in India that focused a lot on extracurricular activities, and going to SOAS seemed like a natural continuation of my studies.