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Centre of African Studies: Studying Africa


Studying Africa

Postgraduate Study

The Centre offers a range of taught and research post-graduate programmes in African Studies. We have a thriving and cosmopolitan community of graduate students, studying for the degrees of PhD, MSc, and Diploma or Certificate. Our research degrees include the PhD in African Studies and the PhD in International Development. Our taught degrees include the long-standing MSc in African Studies and the MSc in Africa and International Development. MSc and PhD students are also welcome to enroll in the Swahili postgraduate courses.

We have two on-line MSc programmes. We run  an Online Distance Learning MSc in International Development and an Online Distance Learning Msc Global Challenges. Our online students not only have access to Edinburgh’s excellent resources, but also become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from around the world.

For those interested in obtaining a standalone Postgraduate Certificate, we offer a part time distance learning courses in Global Development Challenges.

Teaching Environment

The Centre is a recognised ESRC outlet which means our teaching and training has been nationally quality assured. We are consistently ranked in Good University Guides as one of the top two African Studies programmes in the UK.

Our associates' research is highly regarded internationally, all the subject areas to which we contribute (Sociology, Social Anthropology, Politics and History) were rated in the top six in their respective fields in the UK in the 2008 research assessment exercise. Consequently, our teaching and supervison are of the highest standard, built on our commitment to teaching and our own cutting edge research.


Students at CAS form a dynamic group, all studying different topics and countries but linked by their interest in Africa. Students are encouraged to become active members of the Centre, participating in conferences, seminars, research projects and contributing to our publication profile. Senior research students are often involved in course planning and teaching, which helps in equiping them for future academic careers.

We provide a challenging, dynamic, supportive and tightly-knit environment for our students. You can read comments describing their time at CAS from some of our past students here and page through images of our community here. 

Student seminars and workshops

Throughout the year, PhD students organise informal peer review seminars where students have the opportunity to present their research proposal, fieldwork plans, chapter ideas, etc. This provides a friendly forum in which students can exchange ideas about theoretical and practial aspects of their work with others who wre going through or have recently gone through the same process. MSc research students also are invited to participate in these sessions. Other student-led activities include our book club, 'ladies' club', language classes and the Africa in Motion film festival.

CAS students have also been involved in the organisation of more substantial research workshops, raising the funding themselves from organisations like the ESRC and Royal African Society.

Undergraduate Study

As yet we do not offer an undergraduate programme however we do run some very popular courses that can be taken as part of a number of other degree programmes in the University.

Edinburgh Graduations