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Postgraduate Admissions

Teaching

The MPhil in African Studies is a taught postgraduate course, structured by four key elements. These are the core course, the option course, the dissertation, and language training.

The formal assessment consists of two parts: coursework essays (submitted for the core course and the option course) and a dissertation (submitted at the end of the course). You are also required to submit a practice essay on a topic related to your dissertation research, and a dissertation proposal, but these are not formally assessed. Language training is also not a formal part of the degree assessment, but all students are required to demonstrate that they have attended a language course in either an indigenous African language or a language spoken in Africa (other than English) and made good progress at language acquisition. The language element of the MPhil course is jointly managed by the University of Cambridge Language Centre and the Centre of African Studies. All students are enrolled for a course at the University of Cambridge Language Centre, which is taught over 15 weeks during Michaelmas and Lent terms, and are usually expected to take Swahili Basic 1 if available.

For further details visit the Course Structure and Assessment page on the Centre of African Studies website.

One to one supervision

Eight to ten (guideline rather than a rule) hours per year.

The University of Cambridge publishes an annual Code of Practice which sets out the University’s expectations regarding supervision.

Seminars & classes

Core course: 16 two-hour lessons taught in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. Option courses: usually between ten and thirteen weeks through Michaelmas and Lent terms. The option course may in some cases consist of two single term papers.

Lectures

The Centre of African Studies Seminar Series (Michaelmas and Lent terms) and various non-compulsory lectures from other departments. Please see the Centre website for details.

Practicals

Practical skills training may be incorporated into the core course when possible.

Feedback

  • Students will receive an average mark and written report on the practice essay during the Lent term.
  • Students will receive a written report on their core course and option course essays in the Easter term.
  • Students will receive feedback on their dissertation plan and progress from their supervisors in Lent and Easter term.
  • Supervisors will write a termly Graduate Supervisor Report which will be made available to students.

Assessment

Thesis / Dissertation

The dissertation will be submitted during Easter full term and should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography). It counts for 60 per cent of the final mark. If the examiners consider it necessary, they may conduct an oral examination on the dissertation.

Essays

The core course is assessed by means of an essay of no more than 5,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) on a topic chosen from a prescribed list of questions, which is distributed by the MPhil office in the first week of Lent term. The option courses are generally assessed by means of an essay of not more than 5,000 words (some option courses may vary slightly). The core course essay and option course essay each count for 20 per cent of the final mark and are submitted in the Lent term.

A compulsory practice essay on a topic related to the dissertation is to be submitted in the Lent term. This essay does not count towards the final mark but a pass mark of above 60 should be obtained. Any student who does not attain a pass mark at the first attempt will be required to re-submit.

Written examination

Language Course

All students are enrolled for a language course at the University of Cambridge Language Centre, which is taught over 15 weeks during Michaelmas and Lent terms. 

Other

 A compulsory practice essay submitted in Lent term, in which a pass mark of above 60 should be obtained. Candidates whose grade falls below this on the first attempt will be required to resubmit.

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Key Information


9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

This course is advertised in multiple departments. Please see the Overview tab for more details.

Course – related enquiries

Application – related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Michaelmas 2021

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
May 31, 2021
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2021

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Jan. 7, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2020