SOAS University of London

African Languages, Cultures and Literatures Section

MA African Studies (2021 entry)

Select year of entry: 2022 2021

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Employment

Overview

Overview and entry requirements

The MA African Studies at SOAS 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. 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.

See African Languages, Cultures and Literatures department

Why study Africa 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.

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September intake only

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or Part-time

Entry requirements

  • 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.

Featured events

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

Convenors

Structure

Structure

Students take 180 credits: 60 credits from a dissertation, and 120 Taught Credits. All students take the core modules listed below (Approaches to African Studies; Remapping Area Studies). A minimum of 30 credits should be taken from List B, and a minimum of 15 credits from List C. Students are strongly encouraged to take a Language module from List D. Students opting to take more than 30 credits of language acquisition modules can only take 30 credits at introductory level.

Programme

Dissertation
Module Code Credits Term
Dissertation in African Studies 15PAFC990 60 Full Year
Core modules
Module Code Credits Term
Approaches to African Studies: Concepts, Methods and Theories 15PAFH036 15 Term 2
Remapping Area Studies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PNMH053 15 Term 1
List B

(minimum of 30 credits)

Module Code Credits Term
Contemporary African Literature (PG) 15PAFH032 15 Term 2
Language, Identity and Society in Africa (PG) 15PAFH033 15 Term 1
Intersecting Worlds: Race and Gender in the Contemporary Postcolonial Novel 15PAFH031 15 Term 1
African and Asian Diasporas in the Contemporary World: Cultures of Resistance and the Dissolution of Boundaries 15PANH085 15 Term 2
African and Asian Diasporas in the Contemporary World: Migration, Space, Identities 15PANH086 15 Term 1
Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa 15PARH048 15 Term 2
Global Film Industries 15PARH098 15 Term 1
Debating Pasts, Crafting Histories 15PHIC033 30 Full Year
List C

(minimum of 15 credits)

Module Code Credits Term
The Politics of Africa 15PPOC257 30 Full Year
The Politics of Southern Africa: Rule and Resistance after Apartheid 15PPOH069 15 Term 2
The Politics of Central Africa: Social Rupture and Reconfiguration in the Great Lakes Region 15PPOH063 15 Term 1
Political Life in African Cities 15PPOH062 15 Term 2
Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East 15PGNH007 15 Term 2
Violence, justice and the politics of memory 15PPOH019 15 Term 1
Economic development of Africa (PG) 15PECH034 15 Term 2
Law and Postcolonial Theory 15PLAH050 15 Term 2
Gender and Development 15PDSH010 15 Term 1
List D

(language acquisition modules)

Module Code Credits Term
Amharic 1 A (PG) 15PAFH021 15 Term 1
Amharic 1 B (PG) 15PAFH022 15 Term 2
Swahili 1 A (PG) 15PAFH029 15 Term 1
Swahili 1 B (PG) 15PAFH030 15 Term 2
Intermediate Swahili 2A (PG) 15PAFC141 30 Full Year
Swahili 3 (PG) 15PAFC142 30 Full Year
Zulu 1 A (PG) 15PAFH019 15 Term 1
Zulu 1 B (PG) 15PAFH020 15 Term 2

 

Important notice

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 and Learning

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.

Contact hours

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.

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.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge
  • 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.
  • The student will have the opportunity of gaining knowledge or further knowledge of an African language.
  • The student will gain specialized 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.
Transferable skills
  • 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.

Learning resources

  • Useful resources from the African Languages, Cultures and Literatures section
  • 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.

Employment

Employment

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. 

Skills gained

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. 

Careers

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 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
  • UN Agencies

Employers

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

Roles

The 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

Find out more om our Careers Service website

A Student's Perspective

The name says it all – it specialises in areas you wouldn’t normally be able to study elsewhere, and is truly an outstanding academic institution.

Nazmul Hudha

Find out more