Africa Thesis Award

The award | Who can apply The thesis | Subject of the thesis | Quality of the thesis How to submit a thesis | Time schedule The jury

Are you interested in Sub-Saharan Africa and is your Masters thesis on a related subject? If so, the African Studies Centre in Leiden is offering you the chance to win € 1.000 in its Africa Thesis Award. 

The award

The award aims to encourage student research and writing on Sub-Saharan Africa and to promote the study of African cultures and societies. It is presented annually to a student whose Masters thesis has been completed on the basis of research conducted on Africa. The award consists of a prize of € 1.000 and publication of the winning thesis in the ASC’s African Studies Collection. All theses submitted will be made available fulltext online via the ASC’s library catalogue.

Who can apply

Any final-year student who has completed his/her Masters thesis with distinction (80% or higher or a Dutch rating of at least an 8) at a university in Africa or the Netherlands may apply.

The thesis

The thesis has to be based on independent empirical research related to Sub-Saharan Africa in one of the subjects listed in the following section and must have been examined in the twelve months prior to the deadline for submitting manuscripts (see below). The thesis can be submitted if it is written in English, French or Dutch. If the thesis is in Dutch, a five-page English or French summary should also be attached.

Subject of the thesis

Any thesis thematically related to socio-geographical, economic, political, juridical or anthropological issues or focusing on the humanities, such as history, religion and literature but with the exception of language and/or semiotic studies, can be submitted. Its geographical focus should be Sub-Saharan Africa or its migrant communities elsewhere in the world. The thesis must be socially relevant.

Quality of the thesis

The ASC seeks to attract theses that stand out in terms of subject matter and demonstrate a sound methodological approach. The jury attaches importance to an original approach and insight, and to the relevance of the research to a scientific understanding of the issues covered. In addition, the jury will consider the significance of the thesis in relation to development-related issues, its style and readability and its interest for the general public.

How to submit a thesis

If a student or his/her supervisor feels that his/her Masters thesis merits an award because of its quality and originality, the thesis may be submitted to the ASC. Every submission must include:

  • an electronic version of the thesis (to be sent by email)
  • a summary of the thesis (max. 500 words)
  • a signed letter of recommendation from the student’s supervisor containing the grade and details of the quality of the thesis and the educational institution from which the student has graduated

Applications that are not complete will not be processed.

Time schedule

The deadline for submissions for the 2014 Africa Thesis Award is Friday 11 July 2014.

Jury 2014

The following experts are on the jury of the 2014 Africa Thesis Award:

  1. Dr Nicky Pouw (University of Amsterdam) (chair)
  2. Drs Wim Bossema (de Volkskrant)
  3. Prof. Jan-Bart Gewald (African Studies Centre)
  4. Dr Akinyinka Akinyoade (African Studies Centre)
  5. Dr Ineke van Kessel (African Studies Centre)

For more information or queries regarding the submission of a thesis, contact the Secretary of the ASC Awards Committee, Trudi Blomsma: The jury's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Read the flyer.