Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

M.A. African Studies


Taught Master’s Programme

A Master in African Studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin conveys knowledge on Africa through a combination of courses in the three regionally focused disciplines namely African Linguistics, History of Africa, African Literatures and Cultures. It is obligatory for the students to learn an African language, which gives them access to at least one specific culture. From the courses selected, the students are equipped with necessary scientific skills that enable them to develop their own research questions in the above disciplines.


Organization of Studies

During their studies, the students, first of all, are required to attend a module on an interdisciplinary introduction and fundamental concepts on Africa. Afterwards they choose one of the three academic disciplines and develop a core theoretical and methodological basis in this discipline for their individual researches.
The introductory module in the first semester which constitutes of three intensive seminars in all three disciplines offers a theoretical basis and fundamental knowledge on Africa. In the second semester, the students may decide to specialize in one of the disciplines and are required to take two modules in the form of research-oriented seminars. In the third semester, a project module in the chosen major discipline prepares the students for independent research. The students are expected to write their master’s thesis in the fourth semester in which they do not only demonstrate the ability to investigate scientific questions, but are also capable of proving in-depth reflections. The elective domain offers the possibility for personally designed, disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. The students are taught in German and English languages.


Key Qualifications

The Master in African Studies enables students to acquire academic knowledge in selected areas of African History, African Literatures/Cultures and African Linguistics. At an advanced level, students will be introduced to the methodology of each discipline, which will develop independent research opportunities. Students at the Master’s level gain specialized knowledge about a diverse Africa, learn research methods and practice how to write challenging scientific papers. They also learn to explore and reflect on various topics on their region of interest. During the Master's programme, students acquire both critical and analytical expertise, as well as research-and solution-oriented skills. At the Master's degree an excellent foundation for further studies at doctoral level or entry into professional life is provided.


Knowledge on Africa in Berlin

Courses related to Africa, as well as series of lectures with focus on a specific region or disciplines, are not only offered at HU in Berlin. A variety of academic and cultural institutions make Berlin to stand out prominently as an attractive location that contributes to the success of the Master programme in African Studies. Specific examples include a vibrant African Diaspora, many scientific and research-oriented institutions, political and culture dedicated associations, NGOs, foundations and archives concerned with Africa. This allows students to explore the wide range of cultural, political and scientific resources available on Africa as an enriching source of information.



Study Abroad

Master students have the possibility to enhance their degree programme by pursuing studies abroad for usually one semester. Several opportunities are offered through cooperation with HU international partner universities. Our African partner universities include the University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), the Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar (Senegal) as well as the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch (South Africa). Within the European Exchange Programmes, SOCRATES/ERASMUS, cooperation agreements exist with universities in Nice, Paris, Leiden, Vienna, Dalarna, Birmingham and Naples.


African Languages

Learning an African language is an integral part of a Master in African Studies. Students, who have not already learnt African lLanguage, are obliged to participate in an African language course. Our institute offers regular language courses such as Swahili, Hausa, and Northern Sotho. Bambara is currently being offered. All courses are taught over a period of three semesters. Students start with Beginners I and terminate with Advanced III. In each language module, students are taught the structure and basic vocabulary of the language. In addition, they acquire basic reading skills, oral fluency, auditory comprehension, and a general understanding of the language.


More information on M.A. Studies at the Institute