The MA in African Studies at UGent is the only Master’s programme in Belgium uniquely focusing on the academic study of the African continent. The programme starts from a truly interdisciplinary perspective as its courses take on a deep-time perspective on Africa’s peoples, cultures, literatures and languages, with a geographical focus on Central and Eastern Africa. It combines broad thematic courses and specialized seminars allowing students to become trained in disciplines as diverse as anthropology, history, literature studies and linguistics.

The most up-to-date version of the programme can be found in the course catalogue.


The MA African Studies is a one year programme, consisting of a total of 60 credits (ECTS). It consists of three central courses at 5 ECTS each, 4 courses at 5 ECTS each selected from a list of specialist Africanist courses, 10 ECTS worth of courses freely chosen from the university’s course catalogue, and a MA thesis at 15 ECTS.


In its three obligatory central courses, the MA African Studies has a geographical focus on Central and Eastern Africa.

Half of the programme consists of elective courses, offering you a great degree of freedom to shape your own curriculum according to your own research interests, by selecting courses from various subdisciplines. You will select four out of the following courses:

In addition, you will choose another 10 ECTS worth of courses either from the Africanist courses listed above, or freely from the courses offered by the various academic programmes of the university. One of your options is to choose courses on Swahili or Lingála from the BA programme, the two most important languages of Central and Eastern Africa.


The MA programme is concluded by writing a MA thesis, which is valued at 15 ECTS. The thesis is based on independent, empirical research, preferably (but not necessarily) through fieldwork in Africa. The MA thesis will be closely supervised by one or more of the department’s professors. Your thesis lets you dig deeper into a specific topic of African Studies, apply the methodological frameworks that you have mastered, and produce original, Africanist research.

You can freely decide your own topic for your thesis, in consultation with your supervisor, or pick a topic from lists of suggested thesis topics.

For examples of previous theses written by former students of African Studies in Ghent, see the following:

Caitlin Sabbe

Datsha Mutunku

Magalie Callebaut

So Young Ko

Charline Spruyt

Eva Bleyenberg

Margot Luyckfasseel

More information on writing your thesis, the instruction manual, and the administrative process, can be found here.