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MPhil Admission Process and Funding Deadlines

Prospective applicants are always welcome to contact the MPhil Office in the Centre of African Studies for further advice and information.  We can be reached via or +44 (0) 1223 334396.

Places on the MPhil in African Studies are limited and the course may be full before the advertised application deadline. We therefore recommend that you submit your application as early as possible. Deadlines for funding opportunities are also important to note before you apply!

In addition to the guidance provided here,  we would advise you to consult the How to Apply information on the Graduate Admissions website.

It is essential that you upload relevant supporting documents (including transcripts, writing samples and the research proposal) within 7 days of submitting your application. It is also recommended that you request your references in good time, as incomplete applications cannot be considered.

We encourage you to follow the progress of your application via your Applicant Portal. If accepted, you will be informed by the Graduate Admissions office of the conditions (usually academic and financial) attached to our offer. Admission is only confirmed when the requested documentary evidence is received, and all specified conditions have been met. Applicants are advised to submit all required evidence as soon as possible, in order to avoid delays and to secure their place on the MPhil in African Studies course. Once approved by the Graduate Admissions office, applications are considered for College admission. When the evidence concerning the fulfilment of entrance requirements is received, and a College place has been secured, the offer of a place at the University of Cambridge is finally confirmed.

Completing the Online Application Form via the Applicant Portal

The online application form is for the most part self-explanatory, but some guidance notes are below:

  • The ‘Course Code’ for the MPhil in African Studies is HUASM1
  • The ‘Programme of study or research area’ is MPhil in African Studies
  • The ‘Department’ is POLIS
  • The ‘Final Award’ is MPhil
  • The ‘Duration’ is nine months

Please enter ‘MPhil in African Studies’ even if the intention is to proceed to PhD study. These details can also be found in the Qualifications Directory.

  • Summary details of research proposal or reason for applying for the course

Provide a concise provisional title for the research project and write a brief summary (about 100 words) of the preferred topic of study.

You are required to submit the following supporting documents as part of your application to the MPhil in African Studies: a research proposal; a writing sample; degree certificates and detailed academic transcripts; English language test results (if applicable); and two academic references.

Start an on-line graduate application

Supporting Documentation

Information about uploading your documentation can be found on the Graduate Admissions website.

(i) Research Proposal

The application form provides relatively little space for you to explain your proposed research project. Consequently, all applicants for the MPhil African Studies are required to provide a longer and more carefully argued statement of intended research on a separate page. This statement is effectively a preliminary research proposal for the dissertation that you intend to write. It should be a detailed statement of 600-1,000 words (2-5 pages) in length, which outlines the area and parameters of your proposed dissertation topic. You should take care that the scope and/or chronological range of their proposal is not too broad, and thus unviable for a nine-month course of study. In addition, you should submit a clear, short title for the proposed research topic. You may, if you wish, indicate a particular member of the University by whom you would like to be supervised, although there is no guarantee that this supervisor will be available.

The detailed research proposal is an essential part of your application. You are urged to consult your lecturers and advisors at your own university, or work colleagues if appropriate, during the process of preparing it.

(ii) Writing Sample

In order for us to judge the ability of applicants, a sample of written work must be included with all MPhil applications. The writing sample should be no longer than 4,000 words in length. The piece can be an undergraduate essay, or part of an undergraduate or graduate (MA or MPhil) dissertation. If no suitable written work is available from your previous university study, an essay written specially for the Cambridge application is acceptable, but this should be clearly indicated. All work must be submitted in English and you must declare that the writing sample submitted with your application is substantially your own work.

(iii) Degree Certificates and Academic Transcripts

Copies of degree certificates and transcripts of marks/grades must be supplied with your MPhil application. You are advised to request a copy of their transcript from your University as early as possible, especially since it can take time to produce transcripts. An official explanation of the mark scheme is also required.

(iv) Evidence of Competence in English

Most non-UK nationals are normally required to upload evidence of their competence in English as a supporting document at the point of application. Details of the requirements are available from Graduate Admissions.

(v) References

You should arrange for two academic references in support of your application to be submitted to the Graduate Admissions office.

Withdrawing an Application

If you decide to withdraw your application, or cannot meet the conditions of your offer of admission, you are requested to indicate this via your online application portal and also to notify the Centre of African Studies.

Please note that should you be unable to take up our offer of admission, you would not be permitted to defer or to resubmit the same application for admission in the next academic year. You are required to reapply for the course and submit your supporting documents again. A previous offer does not guarantee that a second offer of admission will be made in a subsequent academic year.

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