African Studies

Changing Africa...
Engaging with the Region
Diversity and Range

Africa is on the move, with accelerating economic growth, more stable governance and widening security.
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Enduring challenges - of economic transformation, governance and contentious politics - provide the focus for teaching, research and engagement.
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Through wide-ranging course offerings and activities, the program addresses issues across countries, sectors and societies.
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Overview
Faculty
Program Activities
Curriculum
Minor
Events Calendar
Our Alumni
Research
External Resources
Contact

The African Studies Program offers an extensive curriculum covering development, governance and security across the continent. We draw on leading theories of international politics, political economy and comparative analysis in approaching this dynamic region. The program offers excellent foundations in the history and politics of the region, with a consistent focus on current policy concerns and emerging issues in Africa. Courses address general themes as well as particular countries, regions and specialized topics.

With an incomparable location in Washington DC, our students engage with a global array of leading academics, policymakers, activists and development practitioners. Through opportunities for independent research, internships and study visits, students regularly travel to the region. Graduates pursue successful careers in the private sector, international development institutions, non-governmental organizations, government and the policy world. Please join us at our community page, Connect SAIS Africa, for updates,comentary, and news on students and alumni.

African Studies student and Yayi Bayam, president of a small non-profit that provides skills training for young women in a religiously "conservative" community just outside of Dakar.
SAIS International Development-African Studies intersession trip to South Africa.
Nigerian elections: distribution of voting materials, photo: Jenny Bussey Vaughan
Student trip to China examining China-Africa relations, photo: Joseph Ho
Afrobarometer presentation: "Lived Poverty Declines in Africa: Is it Better Growth or Better Roads?" February 2016
Conference: "Re-framing South Africa: Thinking About Transformation"
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Faculty

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Program Activities

 

Program Highlights

Students in the African Studies Program have many opportunities for travel, research and engagement with contemporary issues on the continent.

Our seminar series brings dozens of speakers to campus each year, focusing on a wide range of academic and policy topics. Recent seminars have covered the political foundations of ethnic violence, the challenges of institutional reform in Africa, politics in Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa, conflict in Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the role of social media and democracy, and China-Africa relations. The program's annual conferences cover a range of themes from development, to democratization, to the role of religion in politics.

Most students benefit from assistance for travel to Africa, including internships, independent research and structured study trips. Research opportunities include extended programs in Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia, as well as self-designed initiatives in other countries.

 

Internship Opportunities

African Studies students regularly receive internships in the United States and Africa. These encompass a range of organizations in government, nongovernmental institutions and the private sector. Students have had recent access to internships in Benin, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Niger Republic, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

 

Travel Opportunities

On an occasional basis, the program offers study trips to students during intersession and summer periods. Recent trips have included South Africa, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and China.

An independent study field program to Senegal, Ghana or Tunisia is an option between the first and second year. Students should develop a project proposal in the fall semester to be submitted by March of the spring semester. Proficiency in Arabic or French is required for Tunisia, proficiency in French for Senegal.
In the past few years, other study trips and research projects have included:

  • “African Migrants to Europe: The West African Coastal Link” (Senegal) 
  • “Authoritarian Development in Ethiopia and Rwanda”
  • “Beyond Local Content: Catalyzing Economic Development through Ghana’s Oil Sector”
  • “China’s Engagement in Africa: the Case of Cameroon”
  • ”Constitutional Development in a New State” (South Sudan) 
  • “Democracy and Traditional Rule in Ghana” 
  • “Developing Transport Linkages in SADC: Malawi and Zambia” 
  • “Displaced Persons and Land-Related Violence in Kenya”
  • “Education in Conflict-Stricken Areas: Challenges and Achievements of Education in Rwanda”
  • “The Evolving Character of Ghanaian Democracy” 
  • “IDPs and Conflict in Northern Nigeria”
  • “Managing Resource Wealth in a New Oil Producer” (Ghana)
  • “Media Programs and Governance: the Case of Sierra Leone” 
  • “Political Survival and Regime Change in Africa”
  • “Protest and Democratic Succession in Senegal”
  • “Regional Variation in Southern African States” 
  • “The Role of Kenya’s Civil Society in the Constitution Review Process”
  • “A Strategic Approach to Women’s Right in Senegal: Engaging Local Partners in Legal Reform”
  • “Success and Shortcomings of Kenya’s Counterterrorism Efforts”
  • “Understanding Accountability Across Post-Conflict Societies: The Cases of Nepal and Liberia”
  • “Violence and Resources in the Niger Delta of Nigeria” 
  • “Youth Movements and Political Crisis in Cote’ d’Ivoire”
  • “Youth Unemployment in South Africa: The plight of South Africa’s marginalized and under-skilled youth”
 

Events and Conferences

The African Studies Program sponsors a weekly seminar series and annual conferences covering a wide range of topics on Africa.

Curriculum

 

AFRICAN STUDIES | MA Requirements

African Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives

Entering Class 2016-2017

MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.

 

AFRICAN STUDIES

Students concentrating in African Studies take at least 6 courses within this program, which may include one course outside African Studies on an African topic. Courses in the curriculum cross-listed with African Studies may be counted toward the concentration requirement. African Studies MA students must take a minimum of one of the following courses below and are highly encouraged to take two additional courses with the prefix of SA.780.XXX:

  • SA.780.648 Political Economy of African Development
  • SA.780.724 Contemporary African Politics
  • SA.780.727 Politics of Foreign Aid in Africa
 

INTERNATIONAL ECONOMICS

Students complete four courses within this program.
·         Microeconomics
·         Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent Microeconomics)
·         International Trade Theory (prerequisite Microeconomics)
·         International Monetary Theory (prerequisite Macroeconomics)
 
Eligible students who pass the waiver exams in these subjects or who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term must replace those courses with alternate economics courses. Many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization in one of four areas of economics and therefore use electives to meet these requirements. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets.

Students must receive a 2.67 average in the 4 required economics courses or they must retake a course(s) until a 2.67 average is obtained. If any of the 4 courses are achieved by passing a waiver exam or during Pre-Term, the student must substitute an economics elective course(s) in place of the waived course(s) in order to fulfill the economics requirement above. In this case, the school will use the highest economics program elective course grade(s) to compute this average if a student is replacing one or more of the 4 required courses of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory or International Monetary Theory.

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

Students complete one course from the list below.
·         Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
·         Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
·         Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
·         Risk Analysis and Modeling
·         Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
 
Students may not double-count a Quantitative Reasoning requirement as one of the four required International Economics courses and vice-versa. Eligible students who pass the statistics waiver exam or pass the statistics course in Pre-Term are still required to take an alternate Quantitative Reasoning course from the list above.

 

CORE COURSES/EXAMS

All SAIS students must pass 2 core exams and/or courses in addition to their concentration requirements. African Studies concentrators must pass Comparative Politics as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the second core is not completed by the start of the final semester, a student must enroll in second core course.
·         American Foreign Policy Since World War II
·         Comparative National Systems
·         Evolution of the International Systems
·         Theories of International Relations

 

LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

African Studies MA candidates a required to demonstrate proficiency in French, Portuguese or Arabic, through a course sequence and/or proficiency exam. Please consult the program for permission to use Swahili (not taught at SAIS). All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school. Native speakers of French, Portuguese or Arabic must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.

 

CAPSTONE

African Studies concentrators in the second year produce a program paper of publishable quality, which may be the product of a regular course or supervised independent research. The paper is due by April 15th of a student’s second year. For those whose final semester is fall, consult the Program Director for a due date.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS BY ACADEMIC YEAR

Entering Class 2015-2016
Entering Class 2014-2015
Entering Class 2013-2014
Entering Class 2012-2013
Entering Class 2011-2010
Entering Class 2010-2011
Entering Class 2009-2010

Minor

African Studies Minor Requirements: (as of AY 16/17)

  • 3 courses from African Studies
  • 1 of the 3 courses must be from the following:
    ·         Political Economy of African Development (SA.780.648)
    ·         Contemporary African Politics (SA.780.724)
    ·         Politics of Foreign Aid in Africa (SA.780.727)
  • 2 additional African Studies or cross-listed courses

General Minor Requirements:

  • Minors are optional (like specializations)
  • A student can minor in only one area
  • A student cannot pursue a minor in International Economics or IR/General, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics
  • Minors consist of three courses
  • Some minors will have a required course(s)
  • A student may use a maximum of one cross-listed course (or 4 credits) towards both a minor and concentration. In this case, the minor would require just two additional courses. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area (e.g., Conflict Management, Global Theory and History, China, Japan, etc.) and not from the two additional required courses across the other IR or Asia areas. Note: IR/General concentrators can always minor in an IR sub-field or approved policy area (Conflict Management, Global Theory and History, International Law and Organizations, International Political Economy, Energy, Resources, and Environment, or Strategic Studies) by taking just two extra courses (8 credits).
  • Regional minors may require language study or proficiency in the language of that region
  • A student can declare a minor at any time—prior to graduation
  • Students who are pursuing a minor in a program will not have bidding priority in that program (only concentrators)

To add or change a minor, please click HERE.

Events

The African Studies Program sponsors a weekly seminar series and annual conferences covering a wide range of topics on Africa.

For a detailed listing of our annual conferences connect to our conference page.

Past Events
2011-2012 Academic Year Events
2009-2010 Academic Year Events
2008-2009 Academic Year Events
2007-2008 Academic Year Events
2006-2007 Academic Year Events


Our Alumni

 

Alumni of the African Studies Program can be found across the African continent and around the world, in government, private, academic, and non-governmental sectors. Among the professional opportunities for our graduates:

o African Capacity Building Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe
o African Development Bank, Tunis
o African Risk Capacity (ARC), Johannesburg
o African Union
o Albright Stonebridge Group
o AT Kearney
o British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Kinshasa, Congo
o The Brookings Institution
o Catholic Relief Services
o Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC
o Chevron
o Control Risks Group LLC
o Corporate Council on Africa, Washington DC
o Department for International Development (DFID), UK
o Economic Development Institute, World Bank
o The Enough Project
o The Eurasia Group
o Foreign Ministry of Tanzania
o Foreign & Commonwealth Office, U.K.
o Freeport McMoRan
o Frontier Strategy Group
o General Electric
o Harvard School of Public Health
o IHS/PFC Energy
o Institute for Security Studies, Johannesburg
o International Business Initiatives
o International Finance Corporation
o International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
o International Republican Institute, Washington, DC
o Jeune Afrique
o JP Morgan
o Lagos State Government
o Louis Berger
o Mitchell Madison Group, New York
o McKinsey & Company
o National Assembly of Nigeria
o National Democratic Institute, Washington DC
o National Endowment for Democracy
o Roland Berger
o South African Reserve Bank
o United Nations Development Program
o United Nations Peacekeeping Operations
o USAID, Washington DC
o US Congress
o US Department of Commerce
o US Department of Justice
o US Department of State
o US, Department of the Treasury
o US Trade Representative
o World Economic Forum
o The Whitaker Group
o The World Bank

Research

 
 
 

External Resources

 

News and General Information

Africa South of the Sahara (Stanford University)
Comprehensive list of Africa-related links

AllAfrica.com
Compilation of news sources from across the continent

BBC News/Africa

Inter Press Service - Africa

Thomson Reuters Foundation

United Nations, Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
News and analysis on areas of conflict
 

 

Research and Data

ACLED (Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project)

African Power and Politics

Afrobarometer Home Page

Survey research site, extensive analysis of politics and reform

Center for Global Development
Research and policy analysis, special focus on aid and reform

Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE)
Oxford University 

Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University
A leading source for economic research in the region

Council on Foreign Relations

Effective States and Inclusive Development
Consortium based at University of Manchester

Innovations for Successful Societies
Princeton University

International Food Policy Research Institute

University of Cape Town-Centre for Social Science Research
Inequality, poverty, HIV/AIDS and public attitudes

University of Sussex- Institute of Development Studies. (Brighton, U.K.)

United States Institute of Peace

The World Bank
Data, economic policy analysis, perspectives on governance

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)
University of Gothenburg and Kellogg Institute
 

 

African Studies Centers and Organizations

African Politics Conference Group

African Studies Association Home Page

The central African studies organization in the U.S.

African Studies Center, Leiden, Netherlands

Institute for African Development (IAD), Cornell University

Michigan State University, African Studies Center

Northwestern University Program of African Studies

Nordiska Afrikainstitutet/Nordic Africa Institute

Royal African Society
Leading institute on African affairs in the UK

University of California, Berkeley, Center for African Studies

UCLA, African Studies

University of Florida, African Studies Program

University of Wisconsin, African Studies Program

WomenAlsoKnowStuff : African Politics
List of scholars and areas of specialization

 

 

Policy and Advocacy

Africa Center, Atlantic Council

Africa Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies 


Africare 

The Enough Project, the project to end genocide and crimes against humanity

Ghana Center for Democratic Development 

Global Financial Integrity 

Global Voices Online


Human Rights Watch - Africa

Institute for Policy Studies

International Crisis Group
Authoritative analysis and advocacy on conflict

Mo Ibrahim Foundation 

Natural Resources Governance Institute

Network of African Democracy Research Institutes


ONE Campaign

OXFAM
Focus on sustainable development

The South African Civil Society Information Service 

Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative 

Transparency International

 

African Studies Resources by Region and Country

Central Africa

Southern Africa

East Africa/ Horn of Africa

Indian Ocean

West Africa

Contact Us


Paul Lubeck
Acting Director of the African Studies Program
plubeck1@jhu.edu
202-349-0981
Bernstein-Offit 715


Administrative Coordinator
202.663.5676
Bernstein-Offit 716

Address & Phone

African Studies
Bernstein-Offit Building
1717 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC
20036

202.663.5676