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The Diploma of African and Asian Studies

Is awarded after the successful completion a one year programme of full-time study. The programme includes taught courses and a dissertation of not less than 6,000 words.

The Master of Arts Degree in African and Asian Studies


Is awarded after the successful completion of a two-year programme of full-time study. After passing Part I examination in the second year (Part II), students must prepare and submit a dissertation of not less than 30,000 words based upon their own research.


The Ph.D. Degree in African and Asian Studies is awarded after the successful completion of three courses relevant to the candidate’s dissertation topic. Candidates will be required to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a language significant within the areas of their proposed dissertations (in addition to mother tongue and a European Language).


The dissertation will be examined after a minimum of 24 calendar months from the successful completion of the three courses.

Admission Requirements

  • Candidates for the Post-graduate Diploma must have received a general degree from the University of Khartoum or its equivalent from another university.
  • Candidate for the M.A. must satisfy the General Regulations of the University of Khartoum relating to the Master Degree.
  • Candidate must have obtained a Bachelor Honours Degree from the University of Khartoum or its equivalent from another university, or must have a post-graduate diploma in African and Asian Studies from this Institute or its equivalent.
  •  Candidates for a Ph.D. degree must fulfill the University’s General Regulations for a Ph.D. as well as specific departmental regulations. Candidates must have obtained an M.A. in African and Asian Studies. Candidates with an M.A. in a related discipline from the University of Khartoum or another university may be considered for admission to the Ph.D. course on recommendation by the Board of the Institute and approval of the Graduate College Board.

Program Requirements for the Diploma

The course requirements of the program consist of eight full-credit lecture courses offered in two semesters. There are compulsory courses on the areas, and other optional courses from which the student can choose. The students are required to submit a dissertation after completing the courses. Topics for the dissertation can be either chosen from a list of topics provided by the department, or relevant and feasible topics chosen by the student himself/herself.


  1.     African or Asian Languages

This is a 2-hr. course for the two semesters – The student can take one from a number of languages the department offers. (Depending on the availability of staff, the Department offers Swahili, Hausa, Amharic, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Chinese and Japanese Languages).

1.1 Introduction to the cultures of Africa and the Middle East

This introduces the student to the cultures of these areas with special emphasis on languages, religions, social organization and other socio-cultural structures.

A   An interdisciplinary course introducing African colonial history, the emergence of the independent state, African systems of government, African economic system, the economic crises in Africa and its impact on internal and external relations of African states.

A  An inter-disciplinary course with special emphasis on the modern history and contemporary politics as well as economics. Issues like colonial history, political independence, national security, economic performance and evaluation of the emerging economic models.

A    An interdisciplinary course consisting of modern history, contemporary politics and economics. It looks into the geopolitical, economic and cultural importance of the region. Contemporary issues like economic and political integration and economic disparities are also introduced.


One course to be taken from the following depending on the availability of staff:

1.  Problems of Economic Development in Africa and Asia

The course focuses on development, its definition, measurement and its barriers. It also considers some case studies in different African and Asian countries. The internal and external factors and institutions contributing to the economic crisis in both continents are tackled. The resultant problems of famine, dissertification and refugees are considered.

2.  Regional Geography of Africa and Asia

The course provides the basic necessary geographical knowledge which enables the student to understand problems of development in Asia and Africa. It examines the dynamic aspects of the physical environment. The course also discusses the demographic aspects of the continents: population growth, distribution, migration as well as the consequences of rapid urbanization.

 3. Islam and Christianity in Africa

The course addresses the ventures of both religions in the continent. The role of trade routes in the expansion of Islam, and Christianity. The missionary factor, the impact of colonialism, education and the economic factor. The role of all these factors in the dissemination of Islamic and Christian cultures. Religious movements are also discussed.

4. Diplomacy and International Relations in Africa and Asia

An issue in this course covers the regional international systems of Africa and Asia and their linkages with the global system. Also the letters impact on these systems. The multi-national corporations and their impact on the politics and economics of Africa and Asia.

5. Asian Ethnography

This course introduces the student to the cultures, social organization and other socio-cultural issues including religions, systems of belief, languages and other selected issues. 

  •    Research Methodology

Basic research methods and techniques are introduced to help the student with his/her dissertation and future research. Research planning, literature searching, drawing hypothesis, collecting and analysis of data, and writing up the final report.


  • At the end of the academic year, the student should submit a dissertation.
  • All taught courses are of 2-hr. Lectures for one semester (15 weeks). 

           Program Requirements for the M.A.

 The candidate must register for the two-year program including courses and the writing up of a dissertation. In the first year the candidate complete a total 8 full credit courses. The course is made up of 2-hr. lectures for one semester. In the second year, the student should prepare and submit a dissertation of not more than 30000 words. Topics for the dissertations can be either chosen from a list of topics provided by the Department, or relevant topics proposed by the students themselves and approved by the Research Board.

3    Objectives of the Program

4       Courses

The courses are set in four units covering the Department’s areas of interest, viz. Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Sudan. The Department offers a number of courses on each area from which the student can choose two. The Department may offer specialization on one of the areas to meet a specific need or demand.

Historiography of the Modern Sudan, The Turku-Egyptian conquest of Sinner and Kordofan and its effects; the economic and social impact of the Turkiya, the Mahadist Revolution, Economic and social developments of the Mahadist State, the Anglo Egyptian conquest 1898, condominium Rule, Primary Resistance, political history 1938-1956. Southern Policy, the political history of the South till independence.

       1.2  Sudan Economy

Advanced graduate course consisting of an overview of Economic crises in the Sudan; its fiscal and monetary aspects of the crises. Government policies, inflation, industrialization. It also analysis the role of different sectors of the economy, industrial and foreign.

c          1.3  Sudan Society

It is intended to take sociological issues of contemporary importance after introducing the social structure of Sudanese community. Questions addressed here are those related to identity and integration. Etc.

d            1.4 Sudan Geography

This unique geographical location of the Sudan has also a cultural, social and economic significance. Ecological, cultural and economic diversities are the dominant feature of the Sudanese Society. This course is designed to discuss relationships between geographical environmental variations and the regional cultural and economic diversities in the Sudan. Issues of the physical environment variations such as climate, vegetation and water resources will be examined in relation to their impact on human activities.

    1.5  Sudan Foreign Policy

This course focuses on the domestic environment and its impact on the Sudanese decision maker in his interaction with the external environment. Also the impact of the regional and the international environment on the Sudanese decision maker. It also looks into Sudanese relations with the neighbors, the Arab world, Africa and the big powers. Its position in different international organizations the UN, the OAU, the Arab League and the non allied movement.

f      1.6  Cultural Pluralism and National Integration

Review of the different theories on ethnic formation. Ethnic and cultural differences as sources of conflicts within states and between countries. Ethnic policies and their components. The link between ethnicity and nation-building. Minority groups and their impact on the process of nation building.

   1.7 Sudanese Folklore

The Sudan is outstandingly rich in folklore and languages. The aim of this course is to acquaint the student with the nature of the diversities in folklore in the Sudan and their impact. It includes Sudanese folkloristic, folk customs, narratives, poetry, performing folk arts and Arabic proverbs and their role in society.

2. African Modern History

 2.1  The Modern History of Africa

African Historiography, the Acquisition of Empire in the 19th, colonial policies and practices, African reaction to colonial Rule, political and economic changes in Africa between 1919-1945, the Rise of Nationalism, transfer of power, liberation Movements.

 2.2 African Political Development

Perspectives on the part. Empires and state formation Africa and the Afro-Americans. The impact of colonialism, race and resistance in South Africa, processes of change in personality, education and religion. Also the course looks into the consolidation of the nation-states in Africa as well as Africa and the modern world and its international relations.

2.3  African Regional Studies (East, West, Nile Valley, etc.)

The course is intended to concentrate on the socio-economic and cultural aspect of a selected region. The contents of the course largely depend on the selection of the teacher.

2.4 . Environment and Development

This course is designed to explore causes and explanations for mixed results of development actions. What are the constraints imposed and possibilities offered by the environment for development? What are the major environmental consequences of development actions? And how environment and development can be brought together in order to avoid or minimize undesirable and unintended side-effects.

2.5  Ideas, Ideologies and Religions in Africa

In the African contexts religions played an important role in the life of the people. The course addressed the formation of African ideologies (Africanity Negritude) and the folkreligions (Islamic and other religions) playing in the political development by following the development of themes related to cultural issues, civilizational values, cultural identity and the processed of African Renaissance based on such ideologies. The basis of African liberation etc.

2.6  African Folklore

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the basic forms of folklore in Africa and their functions in society. While surveying various aspects of African folklore, its main focus will be an oral literature. It also discusses in detail the following topics in African oral literature, the position and the role of the bald in African proverbs, use of folklore by models, African writers, performing folk arts and prose narratives.

3. Asian Modern History

Traditional society, Religion and caste modern political history of China, the history of the cultural Revolution the Communist party, Modern political history of Japan, historical connection between Asia and Africa.

 3.1  Asian Economic Development

This course introduces the student to economic development issues of the Asian countries. History, problems failures and success of economic development experiences are carefully discussed. Evaluation of import-substitution industrialization and Export-led growth approaches are particularly emphasized. Issues concerning population problems and food security are also taught. Some current topics, like debt crisis and IMF Adjustment programs prescribed to some Asian countries are covered by the course.

3.2  Asian Political Development

In this course Asian societies, traditional and modern are introduced. Their past history, empires and state formation and the impact of colonialism the processes of change in personality, education and elite formation communications and change. The processes involved in state formation concepts of nationhood, development of political systems, and Asian relations with the modern world.

3.3  Asian Regional Studies: (The Asian Sub-continent, South East Asia, Japan, etc.)

The course is intended to concentrate on the socio-economic and cultural aspects of a selected region from Asia the contents of the course largely depend on the selection by the teacher.

3.4  Religions and systems of beliefs

Asia has long been the cradle of many religions in the past and present. The structure of religions and other beliefs their conditions of emerging and existence their perpetuation and their articulation with the economic, political and social conditions in the continent.

3.5  Asian Folklore

The course provides a survey of Asian folklore covering the following:- Supernatural beliefs, folk narratives, saint’s legends, folk epic traditions, and the performing folk arts.

4.1 . Socio-Economic Development of the Middle-East.

The course addresses the different aspects of Socio-economic development of the Middle East. It introduces Middle Eastern societies, their structures, the ethnic diversities and minority groups; and the cultural aspects. These are discussed in relation to economic development. Issues addressed are: industrialization and its impact on the culture and social organization, the development of agriculture and the food problem. The relations with the external world.

4.2  Middle Eastern Political Development

The course aims to introduce the different factors affecting the political development of the Middle East. It tackles perspectives in the past regarding empires and state formation the advent of colonialism, the consolidation of national states as well as the development of the political systems. The course also covers the contemporary situation in the Middle East, its relations with modern world the regional cooperation, and the development of regional institutions.

4.3 The Arab-Israeli Conflict

The course covers the different aspects of the Palestinian problem and the resultant conflicts. Topics covered are: the emergence of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism their evolution and development from the Ottoman rule through the British rule until today. The Arab-Israeli conflicts as an all-Arab concern the military confrontations in 1964, 1956, 1967, and 1973 and their political impact. The role of the UN and the Security Council and Arab League.

4.4 . Regional Studies of the Middle East (The Maghreb, Gulf States, Turkey, Iran, etc …)

The course is intended to concentrate on the socio-economic and cultural aspect of a selected region from Middle East the contents of the course largely depend on the selection by the teacher.

4.5  Middle Eastern Folklore

The course provides a survey of Middle Eastern folk traditions. The object is to introduce the students to the fields of study of folklore in Middle Eastern cultures. The topics to be discussed include folk narratives, supernatural beliefs, saint’s legends, anecdotes, shadow theatre, Arabic proverbs, and the contribution of early Arabs to field work methodology.

5   Dissertation

A     After the successful completion of the course program, the candidate must submit a dissertation of not more than 30000 words based upon his/her own research. It is required that the dissertation reflects the inter-disciplinary, the continental or regional interests of the Department, In addition, the Department holds a weekly seminar opens to all those interested, in which scholars are invited to present papers. 

Research Projects

The following long-term research projects are currently being carried out in the Department of African and Asian Studies:

1. The Nationalist Movement in the Sudan.

2. The Southern Sudan Project.

3. Who is who in the Sudan?

4. The Nile Valley Project.

5. The blend of indigenous technical knowledge and modern farming technology for Agricultural development in the Sudan.


 A number of books resulting from the “Nationalist Movement in the Sudan” project have been published by Khartoum University Press in the Institute’s Sudanese Library Series. Many other departmental publications have appeared either in the Institute’s Occasional Papers Series (in Arabic), in the African and Asian Studies seminar Series (in English), or in the project Series of the Institute. Complete list of the Institute’s publications can be found on page 52 and following.