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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


How to Apply

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The application deadline for this programme is 13th July 2018.

Please note that full applications must be received by the deadline in order to be considered for entry in September 2018.

See the Graduate School's website for guidance on how to apply

Students who will need to apply for a visa to study in the UK should plan to apply at least three to four months prior to the start of semester.

In addition to the School's and University's requirements  the Centre of African Studies gives particular weight to the following factors:

The applicant's postgraduate work at Masters level:
We will expect a good overall performance, at least in the 60s range or equivalent, with particular focus on the dissertation.  Additional factors, such as ESRC-certified methods training (or its equivalent), directly relevant work experience, as well as command of one or more African languages, are also highly desirable.

The applicant's research proposal:

The research proposal must be a detailed description of the intended research topic. The proposal should be about 2,000 words and must be written in a clear and concise manner. It should include the following sections: 

Overview: a general introduction to your research topic, which should include the research question(s) to be addressed and the overall aim of the project.

Context: situate the research within the relevant literature(s). This should include a brief summary of research already taken in the field, addressing key works and scholars. Specific attention should be paid to problems in the existing literature and ways in which your proposed research challenges/addresses these problems. You should also give an account of the theoretical issues relevant to your research, and whether you intend to test existing theories or develop new ones.

Methodology: provide a detailed account of the methodology and/or methods that will be used (quantitative, qualitative, or mixed; fieldwork; interviews and surveys; archival /primary source research; etc.). Specific attention should be paid, where relevant, to any innovative aspects of the proposed methodology.

Impact: a brief discussion of the implications of the proposed research for the broader discipline, any practical applications, and/or any policy relevance. 

Applicants should bear in mind that their proposals will also be evaluated in terms of their grammar, style, and presentation; revising is thus strongly recommended. The University has also produced a document entitled How to Write a Good Postgraduate Research Proposal

Students on the PhD in African Studies normally have two supervisors. You are strongly advised to get in touch with at least one prospective supervisor affiliated with the Centre, and to indicate in the appropriate section of the EUCLID application the name of any 'Proposed supervisor' who has agreed to the role. A well-developed research proposal is likely to help your initial engagement with a prospective supervisor. S/he might also ask you to provide them with written work from your Masters degree (for example, your MSc dissertation, or two long essays), in order to get a sense of your research potential). Further information and contact details may be found at the CAS Core Staff and CAS Associates webpages.

Further information can be found in the programme handbook. Please direct any questions relating to the PhD in African Studies to the Postgraduate Advisor, Andrew Bowman.

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