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Learn African studies with online courses and programs

Are you interested in studying the beginning of human civilization? Explore online African studies courses delivered through edX.

What is African studies?

African studies can provide learners with a captivating glimpse into what some consider to be the cradle of human civilization. African history, the intricacies of its languages, the richness of its culture, and its historical narrative forms a tapestry of profound knowledge. Exploring the history and culture of African empires and countries not only fosters a profound understanding of its multifaceted people and vast geography, but also lays the essential groundwork for grasping the intricacies of political science, public health, social sciences, and a myriad of interdisciplinary fields. Contemporary scholarship aims to shift the vantage point away from the Western lens and toward an authentic exploration of the African experience, both on the continent and within the diaspora.

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African studies course curriculum

Courses in African studies can cover a wide range of topics in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the African continent as well as its history. While the topics in each course or program may vary, different subjects that may be covered include: 

  • African history: Explore foundational topics such as the study of pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial eras, major civilizations, historical events, and key figures in African history.

  • African geography and environment: Learn about the continent's diverse geography, ecosystems, climate, and natural resources.

  • African cultures and societies: Delve into the rich tapestry of African cultures, including languages, religions, traditions, art, music, and social structures.

  • Contemporary African issues: Cover current challenges and developments in Africa, such as political issues, conflicts, governance, human rights, and socio-economic issues. 

  • African literature and arts: Immerse yourself in African literature, cinema, visual arts, and music. 

  • African diaspora: Examine the African diaspora, which involves the dispersion of African people and cultures beyond the continent, especially in the Americas, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

These are just a few of the many topics that African studies courses can cover. Depending on the program and focus, courses may also delve into specific regions, languages, or thematic areas, such as African politics, economics, health, or gender studies.

edX offers online courses that allow learners to study a variety of topics. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore jobs in African studies 

A course or degree in African studies can open up various career opportunities. Examples of the many career paths available to individuals with a background in African studies include:

  • International development specialist: Organizations may seek individuals with expertise in African studies to work on projects related to economic development, healthcare, education, and sustainable development in African countries. 

  • Diplomat or foreign service officer: A career in diplomacy or foreign service can involve representing a country's interests. This role includes promoting diplomatic relations, negotiating treaties, and providing consular services.

  • Academic researcher or professor: Advanced degrees in African studies may enable individuals to pursue careers as researchers or professors in universities and research institutions.

  • Journalist or correspondent: African studies graduates can work as journalists or correspondents covering news and stories from African countries. 

  • NGO or nonprofit manager: Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits operating in Africa require professionals with expertise in the region to manage programs related to education, healthcare, human rights, and social development. 

Are you ready to elevate your career? Start studying African studies and expand your professional prospects with online courses delivered to you through edX.

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