There are many good reasons to study Africa. For anyone wishing to engage with the continent on a deeper level, the traditional formulas are for the most part inadequate. A single discipline can no longer cover or express the multiple demands faced by anyone dealing with Africa and its people. Where the usual interpretations fail, new knowledge is needed. In Basel, a wealth of such knowledge has been developed over decades and consolidated at the Centre for African Studies Basel (ZASB). Since 2002, the Centre offers a specialized interdisciplinary Master’s Degree in African Studies. The program draws on the social sciences, humanities and the natural sciences. Key thematic fields are media and imagination, knowledge production and transfer, governance and politics, public health and social life, and environment and development.

Focal areas of teaching and research

The goal of the MA in African Studies is to equip students with in-depth knowledge and skills for an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary scientific examination of Africa. Against the backdrop of the Centre’s particular interest in African cities and the rapid urbanization process underway on the continent, the program focuses on five thematic key areas:

  • Media and imagination: How is the increasingly visual orientation of information and communications technologies changing societies in Africa? What fears, hopes, goals and dreams are expressed in media and images?
  • Knowledge production and transfer: How is knowledge generated, concentrated, negotiated and passed onin African contexts? Are cities a hub for the emergence of an African knowledge society?
  • Governance and politics: How is political rule reproduced in a rapidly changing context? How are the everyday practices of political administration and services arranged in Africa?
  • Public health and social life: What challenges does healthcare face in Africa? How do people interact with health systems? What is the basis for their resilience in crisis situations?
  • Environment and development: How do environmental factors of global change impact on the built environment? What conditions must be met to ensure sustainable use of urban and rural habitats?

The individual modules include courses from a variety of disciplines. Central among them are history, social anthropology, sociology, political science, theology/religious studies, environmental sciences and epidemiology. Moreover, the degree program features regular contributions from disciplines such as literature studies and linguistics or gender studies.

By combining and comparing these different approaches, students develop a scientific understanding of the dynamics and historical evolution of the social and natural environment, the health situation, and the living conditions of people in different regions of the continent. Students are exposed to a wide variety of scientific methods. Furthermore, transdisciplinarity is promoted by introducing students to applied research fields and leveraging practical knowledge from outside the university.

Admission requirements

Students are admitted with a bachelor’s degree (BA/BSc) in one of the subject areas or fields of study listed in the study program of the MA in African Studies. The program has a strong emphasis on the social sciences. Foundational knowledge in a social science discipline and prior experience and knowledge of the African continent are advantageous, but not a requirement for admission.
Once an application has been submitted through the Student Administration Office, it is assessed by the African Studies teaching committee, which may stipulate additional admission requirements. The final decision by the President’s Board is conveyed by the Student Administration Office.
Advice on admission requirements is available from the ZASB executive office.

Program structure

A master’s is a second degree that a person can earn after completing a bachelor’s and requires 120 credit points (CP) in total. The Master's Degree Program in African Studies is a single-major degree, which means that no other subjects are studied to achieve the 108 CP. Free electives (12 CP) are also included. One ECTS credit point equates to approximately 30 hours of work.

Master of Arts (120 CP)
African Studies
108 CP
Free electives
12 CP
Master's degree program

Students are free to choose any free elective. These courses allow students to deepen their knowledge of their degree subjects, gain an insight into other degree subjects offered by the University of Basel, or acquire language skills.

Master’s admission requirements

Admission to master’s programs is regulated by the university student regulations and the stipulations of the individual degree program descriptions. More details of the general master’s admission requirements are provided here.

For students to be admitted with no additional requirements, they must hold a bachelor’s degree worth 180 CP from a higher education institution recognized by the University of Basel.

Subject-related requirements are defined in the admission requirements (section 3) of the study program for the relevant subject. The guidelines may also contain further useful information that is key to successful studies.

Registration dates

Students must register for their bachelor’s or master’s degree program within a specified timeframe – even in cases of delayed registration.

Information events

The University of Basel organizes regular information events for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Details can be found on the <link de fakultaet aktuelles external-link-new-window internen link im aktuellen>events page of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 
Some subject areas also offer their own separate information or welcome events. Please consult the page for the relevant subject area for event dates and locations.

Career opportunities

The program prepares students for what is a relatively young scientific field in Switzerland, and an emerging international labor market. This market calls for a wide range of specific, Africa-related knowledge and skills that are not usually taught in a connected fashion in university education, and are prerequisites for further professional training.

Combined with appropriate internships, trainee positions or further education programs, the MA in African Studies offers a gateway to the following professional fields: multilateral and bilateral organizations, migration and integration, museums and exhibitions, archives and libraries, governmental and non-governmental development cooperation, commissioned research and consulting, environmental projects, diplomatic service, tourism, business, research, journalism and intercultural communication. In addition, the master’s degree provides access to <link de doktorat external-link-new-window internen link im aktuellen>doctoral studies.

Academic advice

Teaching committee


International Students

Please note that in the case of international students the letter of admission is often only issued a month before the start of lectures. Since the application process for a study permit can take up to 4 months, international students usually have to postpone the start of their studies to the folllowing semester.

For a successful visa application a proof of sufficient financial means to cover the cost of your living and studying (CHF 2000.-/month) has to be submitted. As a rule the embassy will expect a bank draft of an account in the applicant's name containing the funds required for the first 9 monhts of your studies in combination with a letter explaining in a transparent and plausible way, that funding is sustainable for the chole duration of the studies (24 months).

The MA theses can be accessed at the coordination office of the ZASB. Please indicate the reference number.

Aeschlimann (Mshana)Mickness Eliakunda2020To what extent has the female participation in microfinance programs led to a chnage in gender relations at the household level?MAT 2020 002
AjayiOluwasooto2020African Voices in the Africa Rising NarrativeMAT 2020 004
HillRobin2020Diving Across socio-ecological SpacesMAT 2020 006
OrschulkoAnja2020More than a health insurance? An Exploration of helath related and non-health related uses of the Improved Community Health Fund amongst microfinance-beneficiaries in Igota, TanzaniaMAT 2020 001
Stirnimann (Sisay Bekle)Rahel2020The Working Experiences of Former Ethiopian Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia and their Impact on Future Migrant ChoicesMAT 2020 003
BayuhSamuel2019Assessment of psychological problems and risky sexual behaviors of ethiopian youth migrants in SwitzerlandMAT 2019 005
BieberLilian Gathigia2019World War II and the Campaign for Self Rule in KenyaMAT 2019 008
IslerDanielle Audrey2019The Politics of the Seen and Unseen - What Inequality has to do with Race and (In)visibility in Salvador da BahiaMAT 2019 003
KanyimbaTebuho Winnie2019Independence on the Horizon - Reading History in Namibian Documentary Films of the 1980sMAT 2019 006
KaruwoKingdom Fungai2019Political Economy in the Post-Colony. The Role of Tertiary Education on Emigration Decisions in GhanaMAT 2019 002
KimuraMisato2019The intersubjective lifeworld of Congolese and Burundian refugees in the Northwestern province of ZambiaMAT 2019 004
Mugabi (Schwarzer)Johanna2019Target group perception of humanitarian assistance focusing on enhanced food security through the concept of sustainable livelihoods - On the example of farming groups by the Welthungerhilfe Deutschland in Rhino Refugee Settlement Arua-UgandaMAT 2019 007
YotégéAurélie Fanga2019La gouvernance interne des ONG: entre incertitudes et contraintes, le cas de 3 ONG suisses au CamerounMAT 2019 001
ZüchnerAnika2019Der Kruger Nationalpark und seine Besucher im Wandel der Zeit - Ein Nationalpark im Spannungsfeld zwischen Nationalerbe, Naturschutz und der südafrikanischen BevölkerungMAT 2019 009
BolligerNicole2018Understanding the role of trust and risk perception in the water purchasing intention from a small-scale independent provider: The case of sachet water at the markets in Cotonou, BeninMAT 2018 01
Onedibe (Ikeh)Ogechi Nkolika2018Social Determinant and Coping Strategy of Postnatal Depression among Mothers in Jos, NigeriaMAT 2018 06
OtiMahsun2018Re-engaging with the past, present, and future through collective memories: The case of Rhodes must fallMAT 2018 02
StewartGene Anthony2018Ausweis bitte: Black, Educated, and Racially Profiled in the basel Metro-AreaMAT 2018 04
ZublerVanessa2018Eating tomatoes, feeding poverty? How does Coop's corporate resposability approach deal with the prevailing social and environmental conditions in the Souss valley of MoroccoMAT 2018 03
GautschiManuel2017Development Brokers or Political Entrepreneurs? The Role of Mayors in Liberal Democracy Assistance in the Department of Borgou, BeninMAT 2017 004
GepperthNadja2017Changing Concepts of Masculinity. A Historical Study on Cameroonian Migrants in GermanyMAT 2017 007
JennyRaphael2017End of Supremacy. With Rhodesian Commandos and their Motives for Fighting at the Closing Phase of Zimbabwe's War of Liberation, 1979-80MAT 2017 001
Lages WerlenSarah Lages2017Rare cases of European females of the better class and delinquent coloured girls and women. Women's prisons in Cape Town, 1899-1948MAT 2017 005
LeuZanele Ntombikayise2017The Experiences, Roles, and Perceptions of Black Policemen in Kimberley during Apartheid in South Africa 1979-1980MAT 2017 009
MusaRamatu2017Dueling Realities: The Authentication of African Womanhood in Two Photographs by Priya RamrakhaMAT 2017 008
Nzayisaba (Nzoyisaba)Lydie (Lydia)2017The role of Traditional Healers in Tuberculosis Management and Control in Temeke MunicipalityMAT 2017 003
Osei-GyawuMatthew2017Livelihood Resilience and Perceived Vulnerability to Flooding among the Urban Poor in AccraMAT 2017 006
RandriamboavonjyJenna2017Le rôle de l'apprentissage dual dans la réduction du chômage des jeunes au SénégalMAT 2017 011
Sidler SahoEva Sophie2017Malawi's Land reform from a Chieftaincy's PerspectiveMAT 2017 002
WunderlinLena2017Comparing, Competing, Contemplating. Approaching citizens' evaluation of the EAC - a case study from MwanzaMAT 2017 012
ZanteNestor2017Les incivilités dans la ville de OuagadougouMAT 2017 010
AsamoahPrince2016Pursuing Dignity in South African Cities: How local Authorities respond to the Needs of Undocumented Migrant Families?MAT 2016 010
CharlesEnrika2016Black women's hairstyles in societies. To what extent do black women adapt their hairstyles as a way to negogiate dominant culture?MAT 2016 008
FordjourEmmanuel Arkoh2016The health status and support-based elder care in Ghana: A case study of the Ejisu-Juaben municipal in the Ashanti region of GhanaMAT 2016 004
Mettler (Mukuku)Fungai2016Forgiven or Forgotten? Notions of Reconciliation in Zimbabwe under the Government of National UnityMAT 2016 002
MisteliLeandra2016Alles Gold was gläntzt? Verantwortung von multinatonalen Unternehmen in der Goldindustrie: eine Fallstudie aus TansaniaMAT 2016 006
ParkSunghea2016Living as a Deaf Person in Urban TanzaniaMAT 2016 003
UnterfraunerFlorian2016Living with Change. Adoption Strategies of Cameroonian Studio Photographers in the Face of New TechnologiesMAT 2016 007
van ZelderenMerel Roos 2016Notions of Culture and ist Signifigance in Doing Business in and with AfricaMAT 2016 011
WeberAngelika2016Accountability and Justice for Economic Crimes? What standards and criteria were used to establish accountability and justice for economic crimes in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after teh civil war in Liberia?MAT 2016 009
WesthoffDominik2016“What is Ebola? Actors’ Framing of a Multifaceted Problem”MAT 2016 005
AdjeiIsaac2015Urban Solid Waste Management in a Growing Economy: The Acceptance of Policies and Regulations by the People. Case Study in Kummasi, GhanaMAT 2015 008
BiohPrince2015Assessing the Effects of Miming on Communities' Health and the Physical Environment: The Case of Newmont Gold Mine in Brong-Ahafo, GhanaMAT 2015 005
FahrlaenderBasil2015De la Sahraouité comme projet politique, étude socio-historique sur l'émergence d'une conscience nationale supra-tribale au Sahara OccidentalMAT 2015 004
FurrerChristian P.2015Malihai Clubs - Eine afrikanische Regierungsorganisation und die Natur-Kultur-DebatteMAT 2015 006
KoduaSamuel2015Youth Unemployment Situation in Ghana: The case of Kumasi MetropolisMAT 2015 007
TabiriGordon Kussi2015Masculinity and Sexual Health: Perceptions of HIV/AIDS by First Year University Male Students in Legon, AccraMAT 2015 003
TarrNatalie2015"Le Message Choisit La Langue" Language Choices and Attitudes Among University Students in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina FasoMAT 2015 003
van LeeuwenCaro2015Home or Hospital? Birthing Decisions of Women in Accra, GhanaMAT 2015 002
Bögli (Schaefer)Elaine Nicole2014Creating a Cause: Studying Principle Creation with Outsiders Theory through a Food Justice OrganizationMAT 2014 001
Brühwiler (Lusito)Agnes S.2014Realizing Foreign Investment in tanzania. How Policy Framworks Inform the Realization of the Bagamoyo EcoEnergy Project in Matipwili Village, Bagamoyo, Tanzania MAT 2014 004
ChansaChibamba Jennifer2014The 'Urbanization' of Colonial Mine Labour in Zambia: An Analysis of the Godfrey Wilson Papers on Broken Hill Mine (1938-1941) MAT 2014 003
GiezendannerEliane2014Ambiguous 'Homecomings'. Repatriation of Second-Generation Burundian RefugeesMAT 2014 007
HoopSabine2014Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Services in Rwanda: Sex Education and Decision-Making MAT 2014 008
KruckerJeanine P.2014The Discovery of Aquifers in Turkana County, Kenya: A Preliminary Study on the Prospective Impact of Recent Groundwater Findings on Pastoralist CommunitiesMAT 2014 005
OderindePeter A.2014The Rise of African Immigrants: A Case Study of Nigerian Entrepreneurs and Professionals in the Economy of South Africa, 1994-2013MAT 2014 002
SimonSandro2014The Becoming of the Bamenda Wetlands: Cultivation in Continuous ChangeMAT 2014 006
AlbisserRaphael2013United States Anti-Slave trade laws in Southeast Africa. The Implementation of American Law in the Final Years of the Transatlantic Slave trade.MAT 2013 006
ButtàMaria Chiara2013The Rastafari Movement in Italy: An Imagined CommunicationMAT 2013 003
CabantacMyra Mae2013Positioning Success: Perspectives of Nigerian Women in Switzerland MAT 2013 002
HakizimanaJoël Muhizi2013Les Africains de Suisse face aux enjeux de l'intégrationMAT 2013 001
MüllerNina2013Spannungsfeld Entwicklungsarbeit. Die Rolle der Partizipation der Zielbevölkerung in der Arbeit der schweizerischen Direktion für Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit (DEZA)MAT 2013 005
Müller (Abukar Mursal)Faduma2013Forced Migration and Transitional Justice. Justice as for Somali forced migrants in CairoMAT 2013 004
AdisaOladimeji David2012Understanding Corruption through Public Perception. A Case Study of Nigeria.MAT 2012 002
Ahmadou AhidjoNadia Asmaou2012Frantz Fanon and the 21st Century: Ou en sommes nous?MAT 2012 004
FranzTobias2012"Join the Caravan": Von der Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédiction et le Combat (GSPC) zu al-Quaida im islamischen Maghreb (AQIM). Triumph des globalen Dschihads?MAT 2012 013
GeuderJacob2012Die Enträumlichung Bamakos. Transformation und Produktion eines urbanen RaumesMAT 2012 006
GhebreghiorghisTesfalem2012HIV Testing Barriers Among Eritrean Migrants In SwitzerlandMAT 2012 007
GroganPatrick Meredith2012‘Improving’ the Cape Colony, 1815-1821: The Perspectives of Sir Jahleel BrentonMAT 2012 001
LüthyCorinne2012The Development of the Water Distribution in Ouagadoudou, Burkina Faso: The Influence of Public Water Organization ONEAMAT 2012 008
SchellingAnna2012Flourishing Trade at the Mouth of the Volta: The Significance of the Basel Mission and the Basel Mission Trading Company in ada, 1870-1914 MAT 2012 005
WullimannChantal2012The Production of Road Traffic: Strategies of Pedestrians to claim Space in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania MAT 2012 009
ZannolFabienne2012Legislative Frauenquote in Tansania. (Un-)Möglichkeiten eines globalen Werkzeuges im lokalen KontextMAT 2012 003
ZimmermannChantal2012"Wie eine Wand, hinter der man das Leben nicht sieht." Nothilfe und ihre Spannungsfelder im Alltag von LangzeitbezügerInnen aus Afrika MAT 2012 010
ZumthurmTizian2012Climate and Agriculture in Central Namibia, 1845 – 1920. A Study in Historical Climatology and Environmental and Social HistoryMAT 2012 011
BischoffHelina2011South Africa's Shifting Identity: Categorisation and Strategy in the Climate Change NegotiationsMAT 2011 006
Kley-GomezChantelle2011Pictures of an Afropolitan Uplift: How Visual Representation of Africa in ARISE Magazine contributes to a new and modern African IdentityMAT 2011 003
KuengMyriam2011Normal Life in Rwanda. Everyday life on the campus of the National University from the perspective of the student restaurantMAT 2011 002
LortieLeona2011Rhetoric and Reflection in the Face of Opposition: A Discursive Analysis of the Maji Maji in Colonial Germany MAT 2011 001
OppligerDaniela2011What favours the desired outcome of a development project? - Perceptions of involved actorsMAT 2011 004
TaubeDorothea2011Wissensvermittlung afrikaspezifischer Inhalte in der entwicklungspolitischen Bildungsarbeit. Eine lebensweltliche Beschreibung wissensbildender Elemente bei ReferentInnen in der nicht-formellen BildungMAT 2011 005
AffentrangerLukas2010From "The Native Is The Enemy Of The Forest" Towards "Community Based Natural Resources Management": A History Of Forest Exploitation In MozambiqueMAT 2010 005
AmmannCarole2010There Is a Lot of Work to Be Done. Women and Politics in Benin. A Case StudyMAT 2010 007
BishopStephanie2010Damming the Olifants: Mining and Hydropolitics in the Limpopo ProvinceMAT 2010 004
BonenbergerMarc2010Malnutrition in Zanzibar – Prevalences, Determinants and Mitigation StrategiesMAT 2010 010
ChanJudith2010Social Suffering and Wellbeing: A Case Study of Somali Urban Refugee Youth in Eastleigh, Nairobi, KenyaMAT 2010 006
IsmailaYakubu2010NGOs as Agents of Change in Health Development: The Agogo Presbyterian PHC Unit and CBS VolunteersMAT 2010 011
Kaiser (Grolimund)Andrea2010Transhumance towards Northern Togo: Effects of a New Inter-ministerial OrderMAT 2010 008
NeugebauerInge2010Ein Jahrzehnt der Ungewissheit: Von der Segregation zur Apartheid in einer südafrikanischen Schule. Lemana Training Institution 1948-1958MAT 2010 002
ObrechtMartina2010Familienangehörige von Migranten in Burkina Faso. Gelebte transnationale Sozialräume aus der Perspektive der Daheimgebliebenen.MAT 2010 003
RiedwegKarin2010Stärken und Schwächen der Civil Society Organizations erötert am Beispiel von HIV/Aids in TansaniaMAT 2010 001
Schürer-RiesAnke2010Ruth Dammann and Anneliese Scherz: Unsung Photography and the Image of the Bushman in Post-Colonial ResearchMAT 2010 009
Abdel-AtiIbrahim2009Let the Colored into the Rainbow NationMAT 2009 004
HowellBrian2009The Price of Insecurity: The Growth and Impact of Private Security Firms in AfricaMAT 2009 005
MashunaTimotheus2009The 1978 elections: South Africa's decolonisation plan for Namibia and its other implicationsMAT 2009 001
Näf-GloorSandra2009Wanderlust or career planning? How the journey to South Africa in the years 1802-1806 determined the life of Hinrich LichtensteinMAT 2009 003
RenggliFrancesca2009Mediation - Mittel internationaler Konfliktbewältigung? Mediation als Peacebuilding-Konzept in Nord Kivu der Acte d'EngagementMAT 2009 002
SaxerNadin2008Coming Home: Reintegrating Male Returnees from the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern UgandaMAT 2008 001
BrühwilerBenjamin2007MANaging Bankruptcy. Masculinities in Dar es Salaam, 1985-1990MAT 2007 005
GastrowClaudia2007Designing Dystopias: Social Security in South Africa c. 1939 - 1946MAT 2007 004
KyburzSonja2007"Sending money home" Eine Untersuchung zum Remittance-Verhalten kamerunischer Migranten in der Schweiz im Spannungsfeld transnationaler FamilienbeziehungenMAT 2007 002
NyffeneggerManuela2007Wahrheit und Dichtung in den Lebensgeschichten von ehemaligen Sklavenkindern auf Sansibar. Ein Vergleich von Anton Horners/Jean-Joseph Gaumes Suéma und von A.C. Madans KiunganiMAT 2007 003
PfanderDenise2007"So gross oder klein wie ein Mensch, so gross oder klein ist sein chi." Aspekte eines Persönlichkeitskonzepts der nigerianischen Igbo im Vergleich mit dem Selbstkonzept C.G. Jungs.MAT 2007 001
Schätti ZundelChristian2007Kulturelle Epidemiologie und Krankheitsmanagement von Typ 2 Diabetes im ländlichen Südafrika: eine PilotstudieMAT 2007 007
SchubertJon2007Dez jogadores contra um guarda-rede. Angola. The Dynamics of State and Civil Society 2002-2007MAT 2007 008
SchumacherSylvie2007Das Potential von Community Health Workers und die Herstellung sozialer Sicherheit in Tansania. Sind Mikrokreditprogramme eine Option für die Sicherung der Gesundheitsversorgung auf der Gemeindeebene?MAT 2007 009
StettlerSarah2007Ethnisierungsprozesse in Ruanda - Bedeutungsänderungen der Begriffe "Hutu" und "Tutsi"? MAT 2007 010
WeberCyrilla2007Der Umgang mit der Vergangenheit. Aspekte des Transitional Justice Process in Sierra LeoneMAT 2007 006
Hofer (Czendlik)Daria2006Malaria in pregnancy – risks, insecticide treated nets and intermittent preventive treatment – a study in Rufiji District, TanzaniaMAT 2006 001
Mandume (Steinmann)Pia Andrea2006"Manuel ist mein bester Freund, mein Halbbruder". Eine qualitative Untersuchung der Beziehungsnetze von Jugendlichen aus Kamerun und der Demokratischen Republik Kongo in BaselMAT 2006 004
PulverJeanne2006Performative Kommunikation - Theatrale Intervention. Wirkungsziele und Wirkungsweisen einer kollektiven Theaterarbeit in Bobo-Dioulasso / Burkina FasoMAT 2006 002
RüediFranziska2006Asinamali! - We have no money: Social Movement Activism and the Role of the Churches in the Vaal Triangle c. 1975-1985MAT 2006 003
YéréHenri-Michel2006The Cultural Biography of a Generation: Zouglou Music and Youth in Côte d'IvoireMAT 2006 005