Download the programme brochure for BA African Studies with Development to find out more about the course structure
African Studies with Development is a broad-based, multidisciplinary degree. Applicants are required to have an interest in-and curiosity about- Africa, rather than a detailed knowledge of the continent.
For African Studies with Development students, the first year provides foundation courses in the sociology, history, development, politics and cultures of Africa. In the second year students build their disciplinary expertise with a 20-credit course on history, theory and methods of development. The final year culminates in a dissertation, where you explore a specific area of Development, drawing on the knowledge and inter-disciplinary skills that you have built up over the degree programme.
Why study this course
The Department of African Studies and Anthropology (incorporating the Centre for West African Studies) at the University of Birmingham has over 50 years of expertise in teaching and research in this fascinating area. Here, students from all parts of Africa, Europe, America and the Caribbean, work together in a friendly community. You'll find we offer exciting opportunities and a commitment to excellence in teaching.
At Birmingham, you will benefit from an intellectually challenging and stimulating environment for your undergraduate studies, focused on ensuring you are a fully supported and active learner. Our unique degrees are designed to provide both academic excellence and vocational development; a balance that’s highly sought after by employers in today's intellectual and creative industries. The courses are also very flexible, allowing you to specialise more as you progress, culminating in a final-year dissertation that allows you to carry out in-depth, individually supervised research into topics of your choice. You will work with academic staff who are at the forefront of research in this wide-ranging subject.
Student satisfaction scores for African Studies with Development at Birmingham are very high, with 96% of students reporting that they are satisfied with the quality of the course.
Our BA African Studies with Development graduates also have a high employability rating, with 95% going into work or study within six months of graduation.
"There was never really one defining moment in my life when I decided that I was destined to study Africa, like most things it started as a vague possibility and gradually grew on me. When choosing my degree subject, I always knew that it would include some geographical element… African Studies seemed to be a sort of enhanced degree in that it was everything I loved about Geography but with a lot more focus. Also I loved the idea of contrasting lectures…" African Studies Graduate
Sarah Nwafor (BA African Studies, third year)
African Studies, Anthropology and Development at Birmingham
June 2013 open day talk given by Dr Maxim Bolt
Focus on studying societies 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. Doing development introduces you to the history, theory and methods of development. 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 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, you will also take Perspectives on Africa, 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 either 80 credits of African Studies optional modules, or 60 credits of African Studies modules plus a 20 credit Module Outside the Main Discipline.
Options (second and third year)
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, of which one may be a Module Outside the Main Discipline. The number of taught modules is slightly fewer in the final year because of the emphasis that we place on the Dissertation (40 credits). This is the culmination of the enquiry-based learning that students have been working towards throughout their degree programmes. 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.
Fees and funding
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: BBB
General Studies: accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 32 points
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.
We expect applicants to have an interest in Africa rather than a detailed knowledge of the continent.
We welcome applications from mature and Access students.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
How to apply
Key Information Set (KIS)
Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.
The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.
The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.