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Course structure and assessment

The MPhil in African Studies is a taught postgraduate course with a substantial research component. It is structured by four key elements. These are the core course, the option course, the dissertation, and language training.

Assessment consists of four components:

  1. A practice essay on a topic related to the candidate’s dissertation; submitted at the beginning of the second academic term (Lent)
  2. The coursework essays; submitted during the second academic term (Lent) for the core course and option course
  3. The dissertation; submitted at the end of the third academic term (Easter)
  4. A certificate of proficiency or a certificate of attendance; this certificate is awarded by the University of Cambridge Language Centre to confirm a candidate’s successful completion of language training, normally by the beginning of the third academic term (Easter)

All assessed essays have a word limit of 5,000 words; the dissertation is 15,000-20,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography). The practice essay is marked as pass/fail; candidates must achieve a pass mark (one resubmission is allowed), but the numerical figure does affect the final degree assessment. Completion of language training is mandatory, but numerical marks achieved in Cambridge University Language Programmes courses are not counted in the final degree assessment. For more information on the course components, please visit our current students pages.

The final mark for the MPhil in African Studies is calculated as follows:

  • The coursework essays are examined and weighted at 40% of the final mark (20% each)
  • The dissertation is examined and weighted at 60% of the final mark.
  • The weighted essay and dissertation marks are added together and rounded either up or down to produce a final mark.

Essays and dissertations are marked on a numerical scale, with 60% or above being a pass.

Related links

Course assessment

Examinations Regulations

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