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Africa in Practice


Admission requirements

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


In the course Africa in Practice the student will work on a portfolio which focuses on the application of acquired scientific knowledge and skills, a reflection on acquired skills, and the preparation for the labour market. The course consists of three main components:

  • A component in which the student is guided through the organization of a seven weeks internship and the writing of an internship plan. This component will be given in the first semester in Blocks 1 and 2;

  • A component in which the student is guided through the set-up and writing of a research proposal which forms the basis for the five weeks fieldwork period and the master thesis. This research proposal is developed in close collaboration with the academic supervisor for the master thesis at Leiden University. This component will be given in the first semester in Blocks 1 and 2;

  • A training module to develop students’ employability skills which will be given in the first semester in Block 2 and in the second semester in Block 4.

Course objectives

The course Africa in Practice contributes to the following learning outcomes of the MAAS.

Applying knowledge and understanding

a. The ability to apply acquired knowledge of relevant issues in African Studies in a professional setting;
b. The ability to work in a professional setting with a complex body of sources of diverse nature;
c. The ability to critically analyze data and to report on this analysis either orally or in written form;
d. The ability to develop a coherent and feasible internship plan and research proposal, under supervision of a senior researcher at Leiden University and a(n) (academic or non-academic) supervisor in Africa;
e. The ability to apply academic knowledge and insights to professional domains, such as policy, development, business or journalism;
f. The ability to develop, arrange and execute a project in an unfamiliar country, to liaise with various stakeholders of a different nature, and the ability to work in a (culturally) unfamiliar professional environment.

Ability to formulate judgements

The student
a. has the ability to formulate judgements, based on a key question or problem which is central in the internship, even when the student has insufficient or limited information due to lacunae in the data available;
b. can take into account social and cultural, academic and ethical aspects relevant to the internship, the field research as outlined in the research proposal, and the formulation of judgements;
c. can reflect on moral issues relevant to the internship and field research as outline in the research proposal;


The student has:
a. oral and written skills to write and communitare the internship plan and research proposal and to clearly communicate the outcomes of the internship based on the student’s own (academic) research, knowledge, motifs, and considerations to professionals as well as the broader public.

Learning Skills

The student:
a. has the learning skills to continue further study at a professional level;
b. is able and aware of the necessity to keep abreast of relevant developments in the academic and practitioners field, and furthermore is able to assess where his/her own research/work can contribute to these fields;
c. is capable of making a conscious choice in favour of a possible further specialist training or of a position in the job market;
d. has acquired intercultural skills that enable him/her to perform professionally in different cultural environments.


African Studies

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Workshops

Course Load

Total course load: 5 EC (=140 hours)

  • Lectures: 25 hours

  • Workshops: 15 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 20 hours

  • Assignment(s): 80 hours

Assessment method


Throughout the course the student will compile an individual portfolio that contains the following items:

  • Internship Plan

  • Research Proposal

  • Oral presentation internship and research proposal

  • Reflection Report Cross-Cultural Communication

  • Video Pitching Your Research Project

  • Refection Report on Networking
    After you have completed the portfolio you will receive an overall grade for the portfolio, which is a weighted average of the grades for the various components of the portfolio (except for the internship plan, see below) combined with additional requirements.


The student receives one grade for the portfolio which is a weighted average of the grades for the various components of the portfolio combined with additional requirements. The weighing of the grades for the components in the overall score is as follows:

  • Research Proposal (70%)

  • Oral presentation internship plan and research proposal (10%)

  • Video Pitching Your Research Project (20 %).

The additional requirements for receiving the final grade are as follows:

  • The internship plan is approved by Career Service and the Exam Committee of the MAAS

  • You have received a Pass for the Reflection Reports on Cross-Cultural Communication and on Networking

  • The lectures and workshops in the course have been attended (attendance will be registered)

  • You have completed the intermediate assignments that lead to the internship plan and research proposal

  • The grades for the research proposal, the oral presentation and the video pitching need to be sufficient, that is, a 6.0 or above


Resits are possible for all components of the portfolio. A resit is not possible if a grade for a component is 6.0 or above. The deadline for resits for the internship plan, research proposal, the reflection report on cross-cultural communication and oral presentation is 20 December 2019. The deadline for resits for the video pitching and the reflection report on networking is 1 July 2020.

inspection and feedback

A student can request a review for inspection and feedback within 30 days after publication of the grade for a component and the overall score.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Sharing all practical course information and updates on this

  • Sharing documents, relevant weblinks and other information to be used in lectures and seminars or relevant for the students to be able to do the assignments and compile their portfolio

  • Assignments (both issuing assignments by lecturers and uploading assignments by students)

  • Grading, feedback and grades overview

  • Creating a discussion board for students

Reading list

The readings for this course will be indicated in the syllabus which will be pusblished on BlackBoard at a minimum of two weeks before the course starts.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website


Dr. André Leliveld

Education Administration Office van Wijkplaats:

Coordinator of Studies: P.C. Lai LL.M. MSc