Graduate Programme African Studies

The African Studies Centre Leiden has its own Graduate Programme African Studies (GPAS) for PhD candidates who are supervised by one of the ASCL Professors. The Head of the GPAS is Prof. Rijk van Dijk.

The mission of the GPAS is to enhance the pursuit of PhD degrees in African Studies at Leiden University, by providing the necessary support and intellectual resources to ensure their academic quality, relevance, and originality. In addition, the GPAS seeks to offer academic grounding in African Studies for PhD candidates working on/in Africa at any of the three Faculty Graduate Schools that we collaborate with, viz. the Faculties of Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, and Law. In doing so the GPAS seeks to foster the mutual exchange relationship between its graduate programme and those of the three faculties’ Graduate Schools. The GPAS offers a monthly PhD exchange seminar to its candidates, alternating a review seminar with a presentation seminar.

Self-financed PhD

We receive many requests from potential PhD candidates who express a wish to do their PhD research in the framework of the GPAS. For all of these requests the following requirements need to be considered:
- Are you in a position in which you can finance your PhD research yourself? Although Leiden University does not (yet) charge tuition fees for PhD candidates, doing empirical research can be very costly. The ASCL is not in a position to sponsor PhD candidates.
- Do you hold an MA/MSc diploma?
- Do you have a certificate of proficiency in the English Language (at least IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 or Cambridge CPE/CAE 185). This requirement does not apply for students who have completed their education in any one of the following countries: The Netherlands, Canada (except Quebec), USA, UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia (other exceptions may apply).
- You are required to identify one of the ASCL professors as your supervisor. However, the ASCL professors are limited in the number of PhD candidates they can supervise. That means that the professor best suited for your line of research may not be in the position to supervise you.

If you are interested in doing a self-financed PhD, and you are financially in the position to do so, please send an email to: The email must include ALL of the following documents:
- Research proposal
- Detailed budget providing an overview of the expected costs and coverage of those costs
- CV
- Scan of your MA/MSc diploma and transcripts
- If applicable: certificate of proficiency in the English Language (at least IELTS 7.0, TOEFL 100 or Cambridge CPE/CAE 185)
- A letter from an ASCL professor stating her/his willingness to act as your supervisor

All PhDs must adhere to the rules and regulations of the GPAS.

See a list of dissertations on Africa defended at universities in the Netherlands.

Below you will find an overview of PhD candidates who are linked to the African Studies Centre Leiden in the sense that they have a (co)promoter who is a member of the ASCL research staff.

Completed PhD research projects