TAFATHS01U MA Thesis and Thesis Seminar

Volume 2017/2018

MA programme in African Studies


The Centre of African Studies runs a Thesis Seminar each semester.  MA students must sign up for the thesis seminar. The purpose of this seminar is to enhance the student’s focus, skills and confidence in the thesis-writing process. This includes consideration of methodological, theoretical and writing aspects, as well as the provision of substantive feedback on the formulation of ideas and actual written work. A key element of the Thesis Seminar is participation by each student in two feedback/opponent sessions in which written material, directly linked to the thesis itself, is presented and discussed.

The first written ‘paper’ must be between 3,400 and 6,700 characters (including spaces). The paper should provide an overall outline and description of what the thesis is about, including a clearly defined research problem and question, an indication of the proposed thesis structure, and a timetable for the writing process.

The second written paper should be between 15,000 and 30,000 characters (including spaces). This paper has to be a coherent text (not in note form), such as one of the chapters of the thesis.

The written materials are presented in group sessions, and the group members provide detailed and constructive feedback as active ‘opponents’ to one another. The Thesis Seminar is based on active participation and requires that the students both present their own work and that they act as ‘opponents’ in response to other students’ work.

Learning Outcome

The aim is for the student to acquire the following qualifications:

  • Advanced knowledge of a specific area within the field of African Studies.
  • Ability to independently and competently identify and define an issue and to investigate it utilising academic methods and scientific argumentation.
  • Ability to independently search for, select and utilise relevant literature and other material.
  • Ability to independently and confidently analyse the issue in question from a theoretical and methodological point of view.
  • Ability to confidently demonstrate the interdisciplinary methodologies that have been practised throughout the course of study.
  • Ability to communicate academic content clearly and concisely in writing at a high academic level.
  • Ability to complete a comprehensive project within a set time-frame.
The thesis is the last part of the programme and written in 4th semester.

Sign up
Self Service at KUnet
You have to register for the Thesis Seminar via the Self-service on KUnet.
You must register for the thesis by setting up the thesis agreement (dissertation contract) in the Self Service system at KUnet. The deadline is 15 January for the spring semester and 15 August for the autumn semester.
In the seminar we use of combination of teaching methods: lecturing, writing exercises/workshops, student opponent sessions on written assignments. The seminar is based on the active participation of students.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 1
  • Preparation
  • 824
  • Seminar
  • 15
  • Total
  • 840
Type of assessment
Oral defence, 45 min.
Exam registration requirements

The student has to have
1. passed 90 ECTS
2. handed in a Thesis Agreement
3. participated in the Thesis Seminar.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

The grade of 12 is given when the student in his or her MA thesis demonstrates:

  • Comprehensive and relevant knowledge of the topic in question and in-depth understanding of the topic’s perspectives.
  • Academic confidence in the problem outline and planning of the relevant material.
  • Confident ability to discuss academic content, taking a critical and methodological approach.
  • Excellent skills in written communication of academic content, spelling and communication skills will also be assessed.
  • Excellent skills in written communication of academic content and of thesis summary for non-specialists.