Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2017. We aim to publish any changes to compulsory modules and programme structure for 2018 entry by 1 September 2017 and recommend you refer back to this page shortly after that date for any changes. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
For African Studies with Development students, the first year provides foundation courses in the sociology, history, development, politics and cultures of Africa. Focus on Studying Societies (20 credits) is concerned with core study skills, taking you through all the steps of researching, planning and editing an essay, and enabling you to pursue a group investigation and present your findings orally. You will receive detailed one-to-one feedback on your assignments, and this should help you with your other modules. Introduction to African Development (10 credits) introduces development principles, concepts and terminology as tools for a) studying Africa's integration into a global political-economy and assessing its changing place within a globalising world, b) explaining disparities in material conditions in Africa, and between Africa and other parts of the world, particularly the Global South, and c) examining regional and local patterns and processes of planned socio-economic and environmental change. Your understanding of what 'development' might mean and how it might be undertaken in the African context will be built up through your remaining core modules, which introduce you to the politics, environments and societies of Africa. In addition to your 60 credits of compulsory modules, you take either 60 credits of optional modules in African Studies, or 40 credits of African Studies modules plus a 20 credit Widening Horizons module (Module Outside the Main Discipline).
- Introduction to African Development
- Focus on Studying Societies
- Anthropology of Africa
- Introduction to Geography and Africa
- Introduction to African Culture
- Introduction to African History
- Introduction to African Politics
- Thinking Anthropologically
- Widening Horizons module (Module Outside the Main Discipline)
In your second year, you will study the theory and practice of development, considering real life examples of development projects and agencies in Africa and beyond. In addition to Aid, NGO's and Development (20 credits), you will also take Perspectives on Africa (20 credits), which is concerned with issues of immediate importance in contemporary African societies, and which develops your skills in researching, planning and presenting your own projects. You can then choose 80 credits of African Studies optional modules.
- Aid, NGO's and development
- Perspectives on Africa
Options (second and third year)
- The African cannon
- African popular culture
- African new writing
- African religion and ritual
- Atlantic slavery: West Africa and the Caribbean
- Caribbean poetry
- Ghana: state and society
- Independent study
- Gender and development in Africa
- Rural livelihoods and development interventions in West Africa
- Social life of the economy
- South Africa in the 19th century
- South Africa in the 20th century
- South Africa since apartheid: politics and culture
- Theory, ethnography and research
- Trajectories of emancipation
The option to study for a semester abroad
You will have the option to study abroad in the either the first or second semester of your second year, so you will still be able to complete your degree in three years. Credits are gained in your subject area at the institution you choose. There is a wide variety of universities to choose from which are approved by the University of Birmingham's International Office with the Study Abroad and Exchanges Scheme.
In your final year, you can choose your taught modules from a list available within the department. Students will be taught in a combination of lectures and seminars and will be able to develop more specialised knowledge and analytical skills, often drawing on the first-hand research experience of their tutors.
Final year students take one 40 credit dissertation, plus 4 modules of 20 credits each from the list above. The number of taught modules is slightly fewer in the final year because of the emphasis that we place on the Dissertation. This is the culmination of the enquiry-based learning that students have been working towards throughout their degree programme. With the guidance of an academic supervisor in a series of one-to-one meetings, you will have the opportunity to identify a topic that is of particular interest to you, formulate relevant and interesting questions, search for and evaluate different sources of information, and present your findings and conclusions in a 10,000 word dissertation. In order to support you through this potentially daunting task, we arrange a series of workshops in which students present their work-in-progress, and receive useful feedback from members of the academic staff and their fellow students. Your supervisor will also read and comment on your drafts in order to help you produce a well-organised and well-presented piece of work. Successful completion of a dissertation enables students to demonstrate a wide range of skills that are transferable to employment and to further study.
- Four optional modules offered within the Department of African Studies and Anthropology (as listed above in second year)