Postgraduate study

African Studies PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: African Studies

The Centre of African Studies offers a PhD programme with an international reputation, awarded from one of the world's leading universities.

Since its foundation in 1962, the Centre of African Studies (CAS) has expanded research activities from its core disciplines of history, politics, social anthropology and education to include many other fields, including:

  • law
  • business and management studies
  • sociology
  • gender studies
  • environment and development
  • religious studies

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2020/21
PhD6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2020/21

As well as having access to a wide range of methodological courses and training resources in the School of Social & Political Science, you are encouraged to get involved with the fortnightly student-led methods and research seminar series.

The city and the University have superb resources for the study of Africa.

The National Library of Scotland has major collections relating to Africa, especially through the Church of Scotland’s mission papers.

The University Library has built up one of the finest collections of African studies texts in the UK.

Through the UK’s Standing Conference on Library Materials on Africa, the library additionally has an obligation to maintain collections on Zambia and Malawi.

CAS organises weekly seminars for visiting scholars and holds an annual international conference.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PhD4 YearsFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

For specialised guidance on submitting a competitive scholarship application, we strongly recommend you contact the * Postgraduate Advisor for your Subject Area. You should advise which scholarships you intend to apply for and send your draft research proposal. The Postgraduate Advisor will then contact you with guidance.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

  • your programme
  • the duration of your studies
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

*(Revised 19 November 2020 with changes to links and advice for funding.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Director, Dr Akin Iwilade
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5534
  • Contact: a.iwilade@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
13 September 2021 5 July 2021

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Director, Dr Akin Iwilade
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5534
  • Contact: a.iwilade@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD