African Studies Alumni Profiles

Students who complete the MSc African Studies to a sufficient standard may transfer to doctoral programmes in disciplinary departments, such as Politics and International Relations, Development Studies, Modern History, Anthropology, or Geography.  More than 150 students are currently registered for doctoral degrees in African topics.

Matthew Adieza

MSc in African Studies

The African Studies Centre provided a uniquely Oxford experience that exemplifies the best of Oxford. Added to this was the amazing collaborative spirit displayed by my classmates in terms of sharing materials and ideas, which made the experience all the more worthwhile. Beyond the Centre, I also had an incredible opportunity to be involved in extracurricular activities in the university. The outstanding aspect of my Oxford experience is that I could gain so much in such a short time from such a vibrant academic environment. Did I mention that I also interned at the BBC in London? Yes, that was another treasurable moment for me in the UK. We left Oxford not only equipped with information but also with analytical skills for making sense of information beyond the Centre.

George Karakwaivanane

George Karakwaivanane

 MSc in African Studies

Having done previous studies focused on African economic history, I wanted a programme that would broaden my understanding of African history and provide a good foundation for doctoral work. What I found attractive about the MSc in African Studies was its coverage of both historical and contemporary themes on Africa as well as its multidisciplinary nature.  The diversity of student body not only made it easier to settle into Oxford, but living and interacting with such a varied group of people was in itself a valuable experience.  Looking back at the year that flew by, and its enriching personal and academic experiences I look forward to staying on in Oxford for a D. Phil in History.


Sarah Brierly

MSc in African Studies

Since graduating from the Masters in African Studies in 2009 I have spent most of my time living and working in Ghana.  As a result of writing my Master’s thesis on the Ghanaian National Assembly I had become fascinated by the countries distinctly intense party politics and vibrant public personalities, and  I wanted to better understand the political dynamics of one of Africa’s most celebrated democracies. Given my desire to return, I leapt at the chance to be a researcher on the African Legislatures Project towards the end of 2009. 



Martin Williams

MSc African Studies

For the last two years I’ve been working in Accra as an economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), through the Overseas Development Institute Fellowship Programme. Being an economist is a slightly unusual career path for students from the MSc African Studies. I had always been academically interested in trade, economic globalization, and global governance, but it was a different matter to actually be asked to build a model to predict tariff revenue loss or evaluate the compatibility of a proposed treaty with World Trade Organization rules. Outside of work, I’ve enjoyed living in Accra. I’m a bit sad to be leaving Accra this fall to start a PhD in Government at the London School of Economics. That said I can’t wait to be a graduate student again.


Lianxing Li

MSc African Studies

After completing the MSc in African studies, I enrolled on an MPhil in International Relations at Cambridge and returned to Beijing after graduating in 2010.   In search of a better platform and chance to explore the world, I got a job as an international news reporter at China Daily, China’s national English language newspaper. China Daily offers greater autonomy and the opportunity to report more freely than other Chinese media. My job has allowed me to travel and report on events, conflicts and even wars in locations such as Dadaab refugee camp, Pakistan, Egypt and Syria. With an aim of bridging the cognitive gap between China and Africa while enhancing the understanding of China and Chinese culture to African people, China Daily decided to extend its overseas editions from the US and Europe to Africa. I was lucky enough to be chosen as the only correspondent in the African bureau at this stage thanks to my expertise, which means I will be stationed in Nairobi and traveling around the continent to report African news and Sino-African news for the next two to three years.


John James                                                                                                           

MSc in African Studies
First degree: University of Nottingham, UK; history

After studying history, I did a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism and then worked as a journalist with the BBC in Leicester and ITV in Norwich. Working as a reporter in Africa was always my ambition and I saw the MSc as a way to give my reporting some depth. The course more than lived up to my expectations; incredibly challenging across a wide range of subjects and disciplines. Our class included people from all over the world each bringing a fresh and unique perspective. At Oxford its easy to make connections to leading academics and research students, as well as experts in non-African fields. A few months after graduation, I became the BBCs correspondent in Congo-Brazzaville. I still feel part of a strong Oxford network, which I hope will allow me to avoid many of the pitfalls western journalists struggle with in Africa.



Student Prizes

Each year several prizes are awarded to students who perform outstandingly well in the MSc in African Studies. The Kirk-Greene Prize is awarded for the best overall performance, the Terence Ranger Prize for the best dissertation and the African Studies Prize for the most innovative dissertation research.

The following prizes have been awarded in previous academic years:


Kirk-Greene Prize:  Yotam Gidron
Terrance Ranger Prize: Hanna Amanuel and Joanna Nayler
African Studies Centre Prize: James Burton


Kirk-Greene Prize:  Ella Jeffreys
Terrance Ranger Prize: Marc Howard
African Studies Centre Prize: Sarah Bevin


Kirk-Greene Prize (Joint): Sa'eed Husaini and Marco Mills
Terrance Ranger Prize: Chloe Walker
African Studies Centre Prize: Rosalind Duignan-Pearson


Kirk-Greene Prize: Alexandra Letcher
Ranger Prize: Amelia Kuch
African Studies Prize: Bennett Collins


Kirk-Greene Prize: Oliver Aiken
Ranger Prize: Kieran Gilfoy
African Studies Prize: Samuel Iwilade & Sebabatso Manoeli


Kirk-Greene Prize: Sam Wilkins
Ranger Prize: Zenobia Ismail
African Studies Prize: Lara Vancans & Abigail Niebuhr


Kirk-Greene Prize: Laura Brunts & Leila Bodeux
Ranger Prize: Francesca Mazzola
African Studies Prize: Sishuwa Sishuwa


Kirk-Greene Prize: Leanne Johansson
Ranger Prize: Joe Philp
African Studies Prize: Lucy Plint


Kirk-Greene Prize: Aidan Russell
Ranger Prize: Janet Remmington
African Studies Prize: James Smith


Kirk-Greene Prize: Martin Williams & Zoe Marks
Ranger Prize: Julianne Parker
African Studies Prize: Lydiah Bosire


Kirk-Greene Prize: Carolyn Vine
Ranger Prize: Marissa Doran
African Studies Prize: Justin Pearce
Most Innovative Dissertation Prize: Katie McKeown


Kirk-Greene Prize: Richard Stanley
Ranger Prize: Kim Chakanetsa
African Studies Prize: Kelly Rosenthal
Most Innovative Dissertation Prize: Claire O'Brien