SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa

MA African Studies

One calendar year (full-time); Two or three years (part-time, daytime only)

Fees 2017/18

UK/EU fees:
Overseas fees:

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. This is a Band 1 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 Postgraduate Tuition Fees page

2017 Entry requirements

  • Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

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Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full Time or Part Time

The MA in African Studies provides an unrivalled programme of advanced modules on Africa; one of the world’s most fascinating and challenging regions. The opportunity for interdisciplinary study of the continent is a particular advantage of the degree. Students can choose from a range of about 30 modules in fourteen disciplines. Our former students have chosen to study Africa at this level for a wide range of reasons. For some a deep interest in the history and culture or political economy of a particular region is sufficient motivation, but for many students the programme has, in addition, been followed with the intention of furthering their career opportunities. Some go on to work either in Africa or in fields related to Africa. The opportunity to combine study of particular African subjects with an African language is very useful, although some evidence of competence in learning a foreign language is usually required.



Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Students take three taught module units, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their three module units from more than one subject. One module unit may be made up of two 0.5 unit modules. The subjects of the programme are: Anthropology, Art, Economics, History, Law, Literature, Media, Politics, Religious Studies, and Language.

The two minor module units can be taken in the same subject (but different to that of the major), or two different ones.

A language module can only be taken as a minor, and only one language module can be taken.

Candidates who wish to take a language at other than introductory level will be assessed at the start of term to determine which is the most appropriate level of study.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major and minor subjects, and asked to give alternative choices as practical considerations such as time tabling and availability of modules may limit freedom of choice.

Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures etc.

All modules are subject to availability.

Module Options
Anthropology (minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Culture and Society of West Africa 15PANH068 0.5 Unit Term 2
Culture and Society of East Africa 15PANH063 0.5 Unit Term 1
African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World 15PANH010 0.5 Unit Term 1
African and Asian Cultures in Britain 15PANH009 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Arts and Society in sub-Saharan Africa 15PARH052 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa 15PARH048 0.5 Unit Term 2
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Economic development in Africa 15PECC203 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa 15PHIH002 0.5 Unit Term 1 Not Running 2016/2017
Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945 15PHIH003 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries 15PHIH028 0.5 Unit Term 2
Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa 15PHIH029 0.5 Unit Term 1
Language (minor only)
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Amharic 1 (PG) 15PAFC130 1 Unit Full Year
Amharic 2 (PG) 15PAFC131 1 Unit Full Year
Hausa 1 (PG) 15PAFC136 1 Unit Full Year
Hausa 2 (PG) 15PAFC138 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Somali 1 (PG) 15PAFC132 1 Unit Full Year
Somali 2 (PG) 15PAFC133 1 Unit Full Year
Advanced Somali: Formal Usage (PG) 15PAFC148 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Swahili 1 (PG) 15PAFC140 1 Unit Full Year
Intermediate Swahili 2A (PG) 15PAFC141 1 Unit Full Year
Swahili 3 (PG) 15PAFC142 1 Unit Full Year
Practical translation from and into Swahili 15PAFC029 1 Unit Full Year
Directed Readings in an African Langauage 15PAFC147 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Yoruba 1 (PG) 15PAFC134 1 Unit Full Year
Yoruba 2 (PG) 15PAFC135 1 Unit Full Year
Zulu 1 (PG) 15PAFC128 1 Unit Full Year
Zulu 2 (PG) 15PAFC129 1 Unit Full Year
Zulu 3 (PG) 15PAFC137 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Islamic Law (Ma/Llm) 15PLAC121 1 Unit Full Year
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Structure of Bantu Languages (PG) 15PAFH011 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Literatures in African languages 15PAFC124 1 Unit Full Year
Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo 15PAFC139 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
Realism and Magical Realism in the Afrophone Novel (PG) 15PAFC146 1 Unit Full Year Not Running 2016/2017
African Philosophy (PG) 15PAFH008 0.5 Unit Term 1
Afrophone Philosophies (PG) 15PAFH009 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa 15PAFH006 0.5 Unit Term 1
Aspects of African film and video 2 15PAFH007 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals 15PAFH010 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
Photography and the Image in Africa 15PARH082 0.5 Unit Term 2 Not Running 2016/2017
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Government and politics in Africa 15PPOC205 1 Unit Full Year
Religious Studies
ModuleCodeUnit valueTermAvailability
Preaching, Prayer and Politics: Independent Christians in Southern Africa 15PSRH042 0.5 unit Unit
Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives 15PSRH043 0.5 Unit Term 1
Religions and Development 15PSRH049 0.5 Unit Term 1


Important information for 2017/18 applicants

For the 2017 academic year, SOAS has introduced a new academic framework for all of our postgraduate taught courses. The new model will mean that taught programmes are now made up of four units each worth 30 credits – our current structure is based on three units – plus dissertation. This approach is in line with PG programmes in most other universities.

In practice this means that there will be additional choice of modules for students taking PG taught programmes in 2017. The modules set out here represent the options available in the programme in 2016. In most cases, our 2017 programmes will contain these options plus additional modules – broadening the range of what is available on your programme.

Programme Specification


Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Teaching is normally provided by lecture or seminar and students are required to attend such classes. Each student will be assigned a supervisor in connection with his or her dissertation.

Lectures and Seminars

Most modules involve a 50-minute lecture as a key component with linked tutorial classes. At Masters level there is particular emphasis on seminar work where students may be expected to make full-scale presentations for units they take.


The 10,000-word dissertation on an approved topic linked with one of the taught modules.

Learning Resources

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 and funding

Tuition Fees

Full details of postgraduate tuition fees can be found on the Registry's Postgraduate Tuition Fees page.

This is a Band 1 tuition fee.

Fees for 2017/18 entrants. The fees below are per academic year. Please note that fees go up each year. 

Full-timePart-time 2 YearsPart-time 3 Years
£8,785 £18,075 £4,393 £9,038 £2,928 £6,025
Allan and Nesta Ferguson Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

Felix Non- Indian Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

Felix Scholarships

Application Deadline: 2017-01-31 17:00

John Loiello AFSOAS FISH Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

The Prospect Burma Scholarship

Application Deadline: 2017-02-22 17:00

For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


A postgraduate degree in African studies 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, literature, history, cinema, politics, economics or law. 

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. They 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; and the ability to research, amass and order information from a variety of sources. 

Some MA African Studies 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. Among a variety of professions, career paths may include: Academia; Charity; Community; Government; NGOs; Media; Publishing and UN Agencies. 

Graduates have gone on to work for a range of organisations including:
  • BBC News
  • British Embassy
  • Canon Collins Educational Trust for Southern Africa
  • Goal Nigeria
  • Government of Canada
  • Hogan Lovells International LLP
  • International Institute for Environment and Development
  • Kenyan Government
  • Mercy Corps
  • Migrant Resource Centre
  • Mo Ibrahim Foundation
  • The London MENA Film Festival
  • The University of Tokyo
  • The World Bank
  • Think Africa Press
  • U.S. Embassy
  • United Nations
  • University of Namibia
  • World Vision UK
  • Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts
Types of roles that graduates have gone on to do include: 
  • Development Producer
  • Africa Editor
  • Copywriter
  • Director of Trade and Investment
  • Projects and Fundraising Manager
  • Head of Desk, Africa
  • Senior Investment Manager
  • Sports Writer
  • Knowledge Management Projects Coordinator
  • Project Director
  • Presidential Advisor
  • Commodity Manager
  • Publisher
  • Tutor
  • Creative Consultant
  • Lecturer in African Arts and Cultures
  • East Africa Analyst
  • Youth Volunteer Advisor
  • Southern Region Educational Manager
  • Head Specialists Giving + Insights

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

SOAS has a really good reputation and I learned as much from my peers as I did from my tutors.

Frances Moffett-Kouadio


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