nl en

MA Thesis African Studies


Admission requirements

The MA thesis African Studies is a compulsory element of the MA African Studies and only open to students that have been admitted in this programme.


The MA thesis is written based on a ten-week field assignment (research internship) at an organization in Africa or an Africa related setting in the Netherlands/Europe, of which about 80% of the student’s time is spent on independent research.
Students develop the research proposal for their projects during the course Africa in Practice in the first semester in conjunction with the courses Researching Africa in the 21st Century and Intensive Methods Clinic. The topic of the thesis should be linked to the field assignment (research internship). Students are encouraged to select the topic of their thesis themselves.
The thesis for the African Studies MA programme should as a rule not exceed a maximum of 20,000 words excluding notes, bibliography and appendices. The thesis is supervised by a lecturer of the MA programme of African Studies.

Course Objectives

A thesis is an academic essay, written by the student in consultation and under supervision. The thesis must show that the student is capable of analysing existing literature in a critical manner, and of conducting independent research. Moreover, the thesis must show that the student is capable of reporting on research in an academically sound manner.

Knowledge and understanding
1. Multidisciplinary knowledge of and insight into societies and cultures of Africa at an advanced level.
2. A thorough understanding of the societal relevance of the study subject.
3. General knowledge of and insight into current issues within the overall field and main disciplines of African Studies
4. Advanced knowledge of at least two of the following disciplines in relation to African Studies: Linguistics, Culture Studies, Anthropology, Geography, Political Science, History or Economics.

Applying knowledge and understanding
1. The ability to apply knowledge, insights, concepts and research methods relevant in African Studies in independent research
2. The technical and cognitive skills to collect, select, analyse and critically evaluate data and academic literature to formulate an answer to research questions
3. The ability to work with a complex body of sources of diverse nature and to report on this analysis in written form
4. The ability to apply academic knowledge and insights to other professional domains, such as policy, development, business or journalism.
5. The ability to work in an unfamiliar country and professional environment and with stakeholders of a different nature

Ability to formulate judgements
1. Formulate judgements in the field of African Studies
2. Take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the analysis of complex questions and the formulation of judgements.
3. Reflect on methodological, historical and ethical-social aspects of African Studies.

1. Written skills to clearly communicate the outcomes

Learning Skills
1. Has the learning skills to continue further study at a professional level / start a PhD
2. Is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field.
3. Is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to academic or practioners’ fields.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Thesis MA

Assessment method

Thesis MA

Reading list



Not applicable.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Reuvensplaats