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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school

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Programme and Aims

The MSc in African Studies is an interdisciplinary degree programme that aims to give you an intensive understanding of contemporary Africa in both breadth and depth. Designed for students from a range of backgrounds, the degree provides a strong theoretical and empirical grounding in the core disciplines of African Studies – History, Politics, and Anthropology – while also drawing on fields such as Economics, Arts and Literature, and Geography. We provide advanced skills and methods training to ensure you develop the research design, analytical, critical thinking, and writing abilities necessary to succeed in future research, whether applied or academic.

Our students bring diverse interests, but a common passion for understanding Africa’s political, social, cultural, and historical dynamics in global context. Students are encouraged to work individually with the Programme Director to design a curriculum that suits your interests and ambitions beyond the MSc. Many of our students have gone onto pursue PhDs at Edinburgh and other top universities, while many others apply their expertise in business, government, or non-profit sectors.

The MSc in African Studies is an ESRC-approved research training programme, which means it can be taken as the stepping stone to a doctoral programme. Visit the Structure and Courses page for more details on our courses and how you can design a curriculum that suits your interests and develops your Africa expertise. Students who graduate from the University of Edinburgh with this degree not only know about Africa, but are also equipped with the skills to undertake research on or in the continent.

The student body is very international, from a wide range of backgrounds, and our staff draw not only from the social sciences, but also from business, law, divinity, religion, and the natural sciences to provide a broad and deep grounding in Africa's past, present and future.

The University of Edinburgh, and the Centre of African Studies which delivers the programme, constitutes one of the world's leading centres of Africa-focused knowledge and research. The M.Sc. draws on expertise from across the School of Social and Political Science, and elsewhere, to deliver relevant, cutting-edge training on Africa. Our staff edit major journals focusing on African politics, society, and culture: the Journal of Modern African Studies, the Journal of Southern African Studies, and Critical African Studies