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 2018. 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. Introduction to African Geography and Development (20 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.
- Introduction to African Geography and Development (20 credits)
- Focus on Studying Societies (20 credits)
- Anthropology of Africa (20 credits)
Example African Studies Optional modules
- Introduction to African Culture (20 credits)
- Introduction to African Development (20 credits)
- Introduction to African History and Politics (20 credits)
- Thinking Anthropologically (20 credits)
- Widening Horizons module (20 credits)
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 (students may take up to 20 credits of these 80 credits of modules from other departments outside African Studies and Anthropology, provided the choice has been approved by the programme lead).
- Aid, NGO's and Development (20 credits)
- Perspectives on Africa (20 credits)
Example African Studies Optional modules (second and third year)
- From Colony to Nation: Ghana 1874-1966 (20 credits)
- African popular culture (20 credits)
- New African writing (20 credits)
- Caribbean Challenges to the Modern World (20 credits)
- Kinship, Gender and Sexuality (20 credits)
- Ethnographies of the Marginalised (20 credits)
- Independent study (20 credits)
- African, the Arts and Social Change (20 credits)
- Rural livelihoods and development interventions in West Africa (20 credits)
- South Africa in the 20th century (20 credits)
- Theory, Ethnography and Research (40 credits)
- Trajectories of Emancipation: Slavery, Labour, and Migration in Twentieth Century West African Societies (20 credits)
The option to study for a semester abroad
As an African Studies with Development student in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology, you can also apply to spend a semester abroad in your second year at one of our carefully selected partner universities, where we have close personal ties with academic staff. If your application is successful, during your time abroad you will be able to study modules in African Studies and related subjects, including topics specific to the place of study. It is possible to attend universities where all the modules offered will be taught in English. If students successfully apply for a Semester Abroad, they take a 60 credit Placement module at an African University in one term and 60 credits of modules in the Department of African Studies and Anthropology at Birmingham in the other term.
In your final year, you can choose your taught modules from a list available within the department. Students 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 optional modules of 20 credits each (students may take up to 20 credits of these 80 credits of modules from other departments outside African Studies and Anthropology, provided the choice has been approved by the programme lead). 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, 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. Your supervisor will 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.
African Studies Optional modules
- Four optional modules offered within the Department of African Studies and Anthropology (examples listed above in second year)