Africa Thesis Award

Are you interested in Africa and is your master's thesis on a related subject? If so, the African Studies Centre Leiden is offering you the chance to win € 500,-. Moreover, your thesis will be published in the ASCL's African Studies Collection.  

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The award

The award aims to encourage student’s research and writing on African topics and to promote the study of African cultures and societies. It is presented annually to a student whose master's thesis has been completed on the basis of research conducted on an African topic. The award consists of a prize of € 500,- and publication of the winning thesis in the ASCL’s African Studies Collection. All theses submitted will be made available fulltext online via the ASCL’s library catalogue.

For who

Master students who have completed their thesis at a university on the African continent or in the Netherlands between 31 August 2023 and 31 August 2024 can apply for the Africa Thesis Award 2024. Students in the Netherlands must have received an 8 out of 10 or above. Students from non-Dutch universities with a grade A (or equivalent) may apply if the accompanying letter from the supervisor confirms the thesis’ excellence and supports the grade score.

Conditions and quality

The thesis should be based on independent empirical research with a geographical focus on an African country, region, or its migrant communities elsewhere in the world. Theses in the fields of the social sciences or humanities can be submitted (geography, political science, anthropology, development studies, economics, history, religion, literature) in English, French, or Dutch. Should the thesis be in Dutch, a five-page English summary has to be attached.
The ASCL invites theses that stand out in terms of subject, theory and methodology. The jury values an original approach, new insights, and a combination of scientific and societal relevance. In addition, the jury considers the importance of the thesis in relation to development-related issues, its style and readability and interest for the general public.


If a student or supervisor considers the thesis to fulfill the above criteria and to merit an award, the thesis may be submitted. Every submission must include:
a digital version of the thesis in PDF
a summary (max. 300 words)
a signed letter of recommendation from the student’s supervisor, detailing the quality of the thesis and an explanation of the grade, and details of the educational institution from which the student has graduated.
Only full applications will be processed. All documents can be sent to


The deadline for applications is Saturday 31 October 2024. The prize will be presented to the winner during a special Africa Thesis Award Ceremony, where the winner will present his/her/their thesis.


The following experts are in the Jury of the Africa Thesis Award:

  1. Prof. Dr Margriet van der Waal (chair, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and University of Amsterdam)
  2. Marnix de Bruyne (journalist international affairs)
  3. Dr Tanja Hendriks (KU Leuven)
  4. Dr Agnieszka Kazimierczuk (independent researcher and thinker)
  5. Mandipa Ndlovu (PhD candidate, African Studies Centre Leiden)

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