M.A. African Studies

SOAS, University of London

Application deadline: June 30
Tuition fee:
  • € 6,780 / Year (EEA)
  • € 17,250 / Year (Non-EEA)
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 12 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time, Full-time

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The MA in African Studies provides an unrivalled programme of advanced courses on Africa; one of the worlds most fascinating and challenging regions. The opportunity for interdisciplinary study of the continent is a particular advantage of the degree. Students can choose from a range of about 30 courses in fourteen disciplines. 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.

Recipients of the MA African Studies have entered various professions after leaving the Department. Some have been able to pursue careers directly related to their study area while others have made use of the general intellectual training provided by the advanced study of cultures for involvement in analysing and solving many of the problems contemporary societies now face. Among a variety of professions, career paths may include:

* Academia
* Charity
* Community
* Government
* NGO's
* Media
* Publishing
* UN Agencies


Students take three taught course units, one of which is considered a major, and complete a 10,000-word dissertation related to the major.

As the emphasis in the Regional Studies programmes is on interdisciplinary study, students are required to select their three course units from more than one subject. One course unit may be made up of two 0.5 unit courses. The subjects of the programme are: Anthropology, Art, Economics, History, Law, Literature, Media, Politics, Religious Studies, and Language.

The two minor course units can be taken in the same subject (but different to that of the major), or two different ones.

A language course can only be taken as a minor course, and only one language course can be taken.

Candidates who wish to take a language at other than introductory level will be assessed at the start of term to determine which is the most appropriate level of study.

When applying, applicants are asked to specify their preferred major and minor subjects, and asked to give alternative choices as practical considerations such as time tabling and availability of courses may limit freedom of choice.

Once enrolled, students have two weeks to finalise their choice of subjects and have the opportunity of sampling a variety of subjects through attending lectures etc.

All courses are subject to availability.

Course Options Anthropology (minor only) * Culture and Society of West Africa - 15PANC083 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Culture and Society of East Africa - 15PANC084 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World - 15PANH010 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* African and Asian Cultures in Britain - 15PANH009 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2

Art * Painting and Architecture in Christian NE Africa: 2nd - 17th Centuries - 15PARC012 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013
* Arts and Society in sub-Saharan Africa - 15PARH052 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa - 15PARH048 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013

Economics * Economic development in Africa - 15PECC203 (1 Unit) - Full Year

History * Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa - 15PHIH002 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945 - 15PHIH003 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Warfare and the Military in African History - 15PHIC070 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries - 15PHIH028 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa - 15PHIH029 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1

Language (minor only) * Amharic 1 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC130 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Amharic 2 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC131 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* The structure of Bantu languages (Masters) - 15PAFC126 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Hausa 1 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC136 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Hausa 2 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC138 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Somali 1 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC132 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Somali 2 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC133 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Swahili 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PAFC140 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Intermediate Swahili 2A (Postgraduate) - 15PAFC141 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Swahili 3 (Postgraduate) - 15PAFC142 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Practical translation from and into Swahili - 15PAFC029 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Yoruba 1 (Postgraduate) - 15PAFC134 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Yoruba 2 (Postgraduate) - 15PAFC135 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Zulu 1 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC128 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Zulu 2 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC129 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Zulu 3 (postgraduate) - 15PAFC137 (1 Unit) - Full Year - Not Running 2012/2013

Law * Islamic law (MA/LLM) - 15PLAC121 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Literature * Literatures in African languages - 15PAFC124 (1 Unit) - Full Year
* Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo - 15PAFC139 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Media * Aspects of African film and video 1 - 15PAFH006 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1
* Aspects of African film and video 2 - 15PAFH007 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2 - Not Running 2012/2013

Politics * Government and politics in Africa - 15PPOC205 (1 Unit) - Full Year

Religious Studies * Preaching Prayer and Politics: Independent Christians in Southern Africa - 15PSRH042 (0.5 Unit) - Term 2
* African Missionaries - 15PSRH043 (0.5 Unit) - Term 1


Applicants should have a first or good second class honours bachelors degree from a UK university, or equivalent, in a subject appropriate to that of the programme to be followed. As an approximate comparison, an equivalent BA from a US university would have a Grade Point Average of either 3.3 or 3.5 depending on the awarding university. If an applicant does not have a bachelors degree in an appropriate field s/he may be required to complete a qualifying year or a one year diploma before entering the masters programme. Relevant work experience may also be taken into consideration. Individual courses may have specific entry requirements, so you are advised to consult the postgraduate prospectus for further information.

English language requirements
In order to ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of English to study effectively, we require overseas students to submit evidence, during the application process, of their current level of proficiency.

Score for Unconditional Entry

* IELTS: Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
* TOEFL: iBT105+ with at least 25 in all sub scores
* Pearson Test of English - Academic: Score of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores

English Language Requirements

IELTS band: 7
TOEFL iBT® test: 105

IMPORTANT NOTE: Per 6 April 2015 only the English language tests from IELTS and Trinity College London are accepted for Tier 4 Visa applications to the United Kingdom. Other tests (including TOEFL, TOEIC, Pearson, City & Guilds) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa. Since the Trinity College London language tests must be taken in one of their exam centres in the UK, IELTS is now the only language test accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK that can be taken worldwide.

The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.


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