Master in African Studies

University of Geneva

Program Description

Master in African Studies

University of Geneva

Master in African Studies

Africa is experiencing radical changes. Whether it is in the economic, social, environmental demographic or political sphere, African societies are evolving fast. This Master’s programme provides the critical distance needed to understand these transformations in all their complexity. The curriculum stands out for its interdisciplinarity, combining approaches from the social, natural and human sciences. It also provides a long-term perspective and gives students the opportunity to study Africa not in isolation, but in terms of the continent’s interactions with the rest of the world.

The Master begins with the interdisciplinary core curriculum. After the first semester, students can choose between two areas of specialisation: “Environment and societies”, which focuses on environmental challenges and the way they influence life in society; and “States, societies and development”, which examines the formation of states since the colonial era and their role in development-related issues at various levels.

Geneva, which houses many international organisations, is a unique place to study these dynamics. This Master’s programme also places particular emphasis on experience in the field, and students can take advantage of exchanges with UNIGE’s partner universities in Africa. To complete their course, students choose between a “research” option, which includes a fieldwork and a thesis, and a “professionalising” option involving a work placement/internship over several months and a detailed internship report report.


  • Required courses from the core curriculum (36Credits) :
    • Prehistory and precolonial history of Africa
    • Colonial history of Africa
    • Environment
    • Development economics
    • States, territories and development in Africa
    • Critical approach to world divisions
  • Specialised courses (36Credits) : Choice between:
    • Specialisation 1: Environment and societies
    • Specialisation 2: States, societies and development
  • Electives (36Credits)
  • Work placement/Internship or thesis (36Credits)


Given the length of the programme, Master’s students are allowed to go on exchange for one semester maximum. Students may go on exchange as early as their 3rd semester and may earn no more than 30 credits at another university. The thesis cannot be substituted. A stay in the field is strongly recommended.


Africa is a new hub of economic and demographic growth. As its role in the international stage becomes more and more pronounced, so do the social inequalities generated by this growth. Graduates of the programme have the skills needed to understand and address the issues at stake in Africa, and they find work in a variety of sectors such as diplomacy, international organisations and NGOs, the media, industry, including multinationals operating in Africa, or in the promotion and protection of historical and cultural heritage.

Admission Criteria

Bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree. Merit-based admission.


Deadline: 28 February 2017

This school offers programs in:
  • French


Knowledge of English is recommended.

Last updated September 28, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Feb. 2018
4 semesters
Full time
Switzerland - Geneva
Start date: Feb. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Feb. 2018
Switzerland - Geneva
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info