We have 7 African History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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African History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 7 African History PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

PhD in African History

A PhD in African History allows students to dive deeply into the rich past of the African continent. Students may decide to research by location, period, theme or case study. Whether you’re interested in human society, economics or cultural studies, by the end of the PhD your dissertation should act as a unique and significant contribution to the field of African History.

What’s it like to do a PhD in African History?

PhD students of African History are expected to engage in a range of historical sources and secondary literature. You’ll be asked to identify a primary source base and contribute to existing historiographical discussions with your informed interpretations.

Some popular research topics in African History include:

  • Africa in the Atlantic world
  • Diaspora
  • Gender
  • Political history
  • Religious history
  • State formation
  • Violence and inequality

In addition, students may wish to focus on the culture or society of specific countries in certain time periods.

Most African History doctoral programmes require applicants to propose their own research project. This will then form the basis of your work for the duration of the PhD. By the end, you will have produced a thesis of around 75,000 words to be defended in an oral viva exam.

Some students will apply for an advertised PhD project in African History, though these are less common. Often advertised PhDs involve researching a historical site, theme of current political interest or a particular source base.

During the PhD you will likely spend your time analysing historical texts, discussing your ideas and progress with your supervisor and sharing your research with colleagues. Depending on the availability of your sources you may be required to travel to historical archives. This could involve research trips to Africa. Many PhD students will also have the opportunity to teach undergraduate students.

Entry requirements

Most African History PhD programmes will require applicants to have a Masters degree with Merit or Distinction in a relevant subject (such as History, Politics or Religious Studies). Depending on where you choose to apply, you may also need to show that you have a level of language proficiency in the country’s native tongue.

PhD in African History funding options

In the UK, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) fund African History PhDs. The AHRC offers fully-funded studentships, including a tax-free stipend to cover living costs. If you are applying for an advertised PhD project, then funding will be guaranteed upon acceptance. However, if you are proposing your own project then you can only apply for Research Council funding after being accepted by a university.

It is also common for African History students to ‘self-fund’ their PhD. Many students are able to meet the financial demands through other means such as employment or the UK government’s PhD loan. Additionally, it is possible to secure short term grants from various sources to help cover one-off costs, such as travel.

PhD in African History careers

Aside from preparing you for a career in research, academia and teaching, the transferable skills gained throughout a PhD can set you up for success in some less obvious industries. African History PhD holders may find themselves working as civil servants, project managers or even in politics. Additionally many work as archivists, museum curators and publishers.

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Transnational social movements and the struggles against settler colonialism in Southern Africa

The project provides an opportunity to examine the roles, motivations, and impacts of twentieth century transnational social movements, that were involved in the struggles to end white-minority rule in Southern Africa (eg. Read more

History PhD (option of joint PhD with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

The History Department at King’s is one of the top 5 history departments in Europe (QS Subject Rankings 2021). Our aim is to provide outstanding training and supervision in most branches of medieval, early modern and modern history to prepare students for careers both within the academy and beyond. Read more

Lifting barriers to Black Academia

This studentship is funded through Departmental endowments to signal our support for the findings of the Lifting Barriers to Black Academia Through Decolonisation and Positive Action Report, which follows on from an online series of symposia hosted by the Department’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery in 2021. Read more
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