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MPhil in African Studies Overview

Since its founding in 2010, our interdisciplinary MPhil programme in African Studies has been central to this mission. An average of ten to twelve students each year pursue an intensive course of study, anchored by the collaboratively taught core course and culminating in a dissertation based upon original research.

The core course begins from a critical perspective on the question of African Studies. Indeed, what African Studies is and should be today is an open question. Heated debates are transpiring in universities across Africa, Europe, the US, and Latin America and Asia over what African studies means, what its objectives are, what its disciplinary focus and geographical scope should be, what relations of power it is bound up with – and even whether it should exist at all. Our MPhil strives to take seriously the challenges and questions raised by demands for decolonization of knowledge production on Africa today and the many global struggles and movements around anti-racism and social justice in universities globally. This interdisciplinary core course is thus an effort to engage with the field of African Studies as it has been defined in various times and locations, while keeping open questions about what African Studies is, what tools it should use, and what its politics are.

The MPhil in African Studies runs for nine months over the three terms of the Cambridge academic year, from October until June. It provides a broad, but intensive, introduction to key debates in African history and politics, as well as in the humanities and social sciences more broadly. It helps students think through the use of printed, manuscript and other sources relevant to African studies. In addition, the course provides essential language training and offers instruction in the use of library and archival facilities. Finally, it offers close supervision in undertaking an original research project. It is ideal for students seeking to pursue PhDs in a number of disciplines, as well those seeking a stand-alone degree for careers outside of academia. 

The MPhil office

Centre of African Studies
Alison Richard Building
7 West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DT
For a map, click here
MPhil administrator: Ms Victoria Jones
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 334396