Profile and Career - MA in African Studies – University of Copenhagen

African Studies > Profile and Career

Profile and Career

The aim of the Masters programme in African Studies is three-fold.

Firstly, it is to provide students with advanced knowledge and understanding of Africa and its relationship to the world in relation to the continent’s diverse historical, social, political, economic and cultural dimensions.

Secondly, it is to equip students with critical analytical capacities relevant to a range of social, political, economic and cultural challenges,that can be applied both to Africa-specific conditions and to other global, national and local contexts.

Thirdly, armed with such knowledge and skills, it is to produce graduates with competences that allow them to enter a range of professional environments in both the public and private sectors, both internationally and nationally.

Academic Programme Profile

The Masters in African Studies is an area studies programme, based fundamentally on an interdisciplinary approach. This necessarily combines concepts, theories, methods, literature and empirically-grounded research from a range of disciplines within both the social sciences and humanities. Such an approach both draws upon and expands knowledge and skills acquired during the student’s Bachelor studies.

The Masters education is structured so as to provide a combination of core compulsory courses, elective courses on selected topics, the option of internship and/or fieldwork study, and finally a research-based thesis.  The core courses cover: nature, population and society; economic development; religion, culture and society; andd politics, development and change. The electives vary over time and may include such topics as: conflict and violence, critical development planning and policy, human rights, migration and displacement, natural resources governance, non-governmental organisations and urban Africa. Kiswahili is offered as an additional elective.

Read more about the programme structure. 

Research-based teaching

Teaching methods vary. Depending on the specific course, they may combine: lectures, seminar-style classes, practice-oriented workshops, group discussions, opponent sessions, films and panel discussions. Active student participation is encouraged.

All teaching is strongly research-based, provided by staff who are very well established in their respective fields. CAS also frequently hosts internationally renowned scholars as guest speakers.

Graduate Profile

Graduates of the Masters in African Studies will be equipped to do the following:

  • Think about problems in multidimensional rather than one-dimensional terms
  • Critically analyse complex social, political and economic issues in a variety of contexts and at different scales
  • Design and conduct independent research that is both methodologically and theoretically sound
  • Discuss and communicate complex ideas verbally or through writing
  • Work practically in a range of institutional, geographical and cultural settings
  • Qualify to proceed further with graduate studies if desired


Having gained the knowledge, skills and competences noted above, graduates in African Studies may pursue – and have pursued – careers in a fairly wide range of professional fields.

These include careers in: international development and/or humanitarian organisations, be these bilateral, multilateral or non-governmental; various kinds of national government agencies such as those concerned with foreign affairs, the environment, migration and refugees, security, social development and so on; different arenas within the private sector such as business investment, consultancy, entrepreneurship or corporate social responsibility; the media or other spheres of information and communication; or continuing in academia as a researcher and/or teacher.

Meet a student, a graduate and a lecturer and see a film about the MA in African Studies.