MSc African Politics


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Mode of Attendance: Full-time or part-time

The Department of Politics and International Studies offers seven linked masters programmes in politics and the international politics of Asia and Africa.

The MSc African Politics is a regional specialist MSc, aiming to provide students with a detailed specialist understanding of both domestic and international politics (and of the implications of one for the other) in Africa. At a Masters level, there is particular emphasis on seminar work.

Students make full-scale presentations for each unit that they take, and are expected to write substantial papers that often require significant independent work.


Students must take 180 credits comprised of 120 taught credits (including core and option modules) and a 60 credit dissertation:

  • 15PPOC205 Government & Politics in Africa (core).
  • Three modules from B, C or D, with no more than 30 credits coming from List D, and no more than four x 15 credit modules.
  • Dissertation on some aspect of African Politics (compulsory).

Please note that not all option modules may run every year.


This would focus on some aspect of African Politics.

  • Dissertation in Political Studies

Core Module

Module must be completed successfully for the achievement of an exit award.

  • Government and politics in Africa


Choose modules to the total value of 90 credits from List B, List C and List D, with no more than 30 credits coming from List D, and no more than four 15-credit modules.

List B: Full-Unit Politics Modules

  • Politics of Globalisation and Development
  • State & society in Asia & Africa
  • International Politics of Africa
  • Islamic/Democratic Political Thought

List C: Half-Unit Politics Modules

  • Violence, justice and the politics of memory
  • Conflict, rights and justice
  • International migration and diaspora politics
  • The Politics of Global Security
  • Comparative International Political Thought
  • Queer Politics in Asia, Africa and the Middle East
  • Political Thought on the Just Rebellion
  • Approaches to Comparative Political Thought
  • The Indian Ocean in World Politics
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Social Research
  • Foreign Policy Analysis

List D: Modules focused on Africa in a cognate discipline

Courses from this section may only be taken with the permission of the programme convenor and relevant course convenor.

  • Literatures in African languages
  • Zulu 2 (PG)
  • Amharic 2 (PG)
  • Somali 2 (PG)
  • Yoruba 2 (PG)
  • Zulu 3 (PG)
  • Hausa 2 (PG)
  • Travelling Africa: Writing the Cape to Cairo
  • Intermediate Swahili 2A (PG)
  • Swahili 3 (PG)
  • Directed Readings in an African Language
  • The Story of African Film: Narrative Screen Media in Africa
  • African Philosophy (PG)
  • Philosophy and Decolonisation (PG)
  • Curating Africa: African Film and Video in the Age of Festivals
  • The Structure of Bantu Languages (PG)
  • African and Asian Cultures in Britain
  • African and Asian Diasporas in the Modern World
  • Culture and Society of East Africa
  • Culture and Society of West Africa
  • Modern and Contemporary Arts in Africa
  • Visuality and Islamic Art
  • Photography and the Image in Africa
  • Neoliberalism, Democracy and Global Development
  • Marxist Political Economy and Global Development
  • Security
  • Global Commodity Chains, Production Networks and Informal Work
  • Water and Development: Conflict and Governance
  • Borders and Development
  • Migrant Labour in the Global Economy
  • Natural resources, development and change: putting critical analysis into practice
  • The Working Poor and Development
  • Gendering Migration & Diasporas
  • Gender, Armed Conflict and International Law
  • Colonial Conquest and Social Change in Southern Africa
  • Social and Cultural Transformations in Southern Africa Since 1945
  • Slavery in West Africa in the 19th and 20th Centuries
  • Historical Perspectives on Gender in Africa
  • Warfare and the Military in Precolonial Africa
  • Warfare and the Military in Modern Africa
  • Law and Development in Africa
  • Colonialism, Empire and International Law
  • Colonialism and Christian Missions in Africa: Readings from the Archives

Learn a language as part of this programme

Degree programmes at SOAS - including this one - can include language courses in more than forty African and Asian languages. It is SOAS students’ command of an African or Asian language which sets SOAS apart from other universities.

Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session.

Admissions and Applications

You can apply for this course via the online application form.

We aim to assess a complete application and provide a decision within a 5-week time frame. Overseas students who require a Tier 4 visa and wish to join SOAS should bear in mind visa applications can take several weeks, so you should apply as soon as possible.

Consideration of Application

The whole application, including transcript and references, is considered before a decision is reached. You are therefore advised to submit a complete application including references and transcript (where required). An incomplete application will add considerable delays to the decision-making process.

Students will receive an acknowledgement of their application. Each application is carefully considered and although we try and respond as quickly as possible, we do ask that students should expect to receive a response within five weeks of receipt.

Candidates who are available in the United Kingdom may be called for an interview. The absence of academic members of staff (or instance on study leave) may affect the timing of decisions.

Entry Requirements

The qualification for entry is normally a first or upper-second class honours degree (or equivalent) in Politics or International Relations, or related social science discipline. Applicants without such a background may be considered for admission depending on their academic training and undergraduate performance.

English Language Entry Requirements

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS. Please note that we take our English language requirements seriously and failure to meet them exactly may well result in your application to SOAS being rejected. It is not possible to negotiate if your scores are below our required levels, with the expectation that because they are 'close enough' they will be accepted. It is important that you plan appropriately, well in advance, so that your English language test comes in good time and so that you have time to retake the test if necessary. We do not accept reasons of inconvenience or financial hardship for not submitting or retaking an English test.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if unconditional entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a Tier 4 entry visa is required then a SELT, such as UKVI IELTS may be needed. For this reason, we recommend all Tier 4 visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS Academic test as the test of first resort.

Last updated Oct 2019

About the School

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues.

SOAS University of London welcomes the brightest minds to study on its central London campus with like-minded individuals who feel passionately about contemporary world issues. Read less
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