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14 May 2019
Africa Thesis Award Leiden University African Studies Centre - 7 July 2019

(Published - 14 May 2019)

Are you interested in Africa and is your master’s thesis on a related subject? If so, the African Studies Centre Leiden offers you the chance to win € 500 and to be published! The deadline is 7 July 2019.

The award aims to encourage student research and writing on Africa 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 Africa. The award consists of a prize of € 500 and publication of the winning thesis in the ASCL’s African Studies Collection (see www. and all theses submitted will be made available online via the ASCL’s library catalogue. The award has been made possible fi nancially by LeidenASA.

Who Can Apply

Final-year students who have completed their master’s thesis at a university in Africa or the Netherlands can apply. They must have graduated with distinction, i.e. 80% or higher, or a Dutch rating of at least an 8. Students from non-Dutch universities who have a grade A or similar may also apply if the accompanying letter from the supervisor confi rms and supports the grade score.

The Thesis

The thesis has to be based on independent empirical research related to 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. 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, can be submitted. Its geographical focus should be Africa or its migrant communities elsewhere in the world. The thesis must be socially relevant.

Quality of the Thesis

The ASCL 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 scientifi c understanding of the issues covered. In addition, the jury will consider the signifi cance 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 master’s thesis merits an award because of its quality and originality, the thesis may be submitted. Every submission must include:

  • A digital version of the thesis
  • 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. All documents can be sent by email to

Time Schedule

The deadline for the submission of theses this year is 7 July 2019. A shortlist of three will be drawn up from which the jury will select the winning thesis. The prize will be presented to the winner during the annual LeidenASA meeting in December, where the winner will present his/her thesis.

The Jury

The following experts are on the jury of the 2019 Africa Thesis Award:

  • Dr Ir Yves van Leynseele (University of Amsterdam) (chair)
  • Dr Akinyinka Akinyoade (African Studies Centre Leiden)
  • Maral Noshad Sharifi MA (journalist NRC)
  • Dr Ir Lotje de Vries (Wageningen University and Research)
  • Dr Astrid van Weyenberg (Leiden University)

Ms Trudi Blomsma (African Studies Centre Leiden), secretary
Ms Tirza Pulleman (African Studies Centre Leiden), assistant

The jury’s decision is . nal and no correspondence will be entered into.