African history courses are growing in popularity but it can be a daunting task to choose which one to study. In this article we will give you some practical tips to help you choose an institution and programme that is best suited to what you would like to achieve with your studies.
African history provides insight into the ideas that shaped the past lives of African men and women. By studying African history, students develop a better understanding of the continent, its people and the world in general.
In particular, a really good African history course should give you insight into African social and political structures, how they came to be, and how nations, economies, and traditions were formed.
In this article, we discuss:
- Why do you want to study African history?
- Will you have the support you need?
- How representative is the institution?
- Why study with us
- Get in touch
In order to select the right course for study, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Before starting your research, think concretely about what has motivated you to study African history and what you want to get out of a structured course in it. Many new providers of African history courses have emerged in recent years and many universities are beginning to add modules in African history to their programmes of study. However, each programme is written from a particular perspective and to achieve a particular result. An African studies course at a leading business school will surely focus on different areas and use different methods of analysis to a course run by a leading cultural institution. Thus, the first thing to ask is what you want to get out of the course of study as this will affect where you choose to study.
When researching schools, look at the wider specialisms of the institution. Do they have a robust African studies programme across literature, social sciences, physical sciences and the humanities? This helps to show a deeper engagement with and expertise in teaching and researching on African history. What you don’t want is an institution that has no real expertise in teaching African historical or contemporary experiences.
You also want to check that the course is fully up to date – does it consider the latest scholarship in a particular area? Institutions that have active and reputable research arms are able to update their African history courses more regularly to include the latest research published in a particular area.
Everyone needs a different level of support with their studies. It can be hard when studying online or returning to study after some time to stay motivated to complete your readings and assignments. Do your research to check the level of support you will get from tutors at the school you are considering. You should ask them whether the department provides each student with a personal tutor who they can meet with a couple of times a term throughout the course to discuss the course materials and handle administrative questions.
You may also want to look at the educational and cultural backgrounds of the students and staff at the institution. Studying at a school where your peers and lecturers are from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds will provide a great learning experience as they will bring diverse perspectives and enrich the course. This is also important to gauge how much the institution actually supports Black scholars and Black scholarship. You want a course that is connected with the descendents of the communities it explores, using the intellectual production of the historians and wider thinkers of those communities to lead their explorations.
The international team of researchers and fellows in our Department of African History and Political Thought and in our Department of Education design and develop African history courses that help students engage in critical conversations about the history of the continent. The departments’ sole focus is to help students dive into the historical narratives of the continent which have helped to shape modern African consciousness. Thus, studying in this department will help you develop a thorough understanding of Africa and the world. In addition to all this, all our courses are run online to make them convenient and accessible to all students.
The best place to start is to sign up to our newsletter and then come along to one of our public lectures.
If you are interested in studying for the Foundation Certificate, please send our admissions team an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or using the form below and we can schedule a call to discuss things further or register you for one of our open days.