Welcome to the Institute of African Studies

The Institute of African Studies builds on Carleton’s long history of expertise on Africa amongst its faculty and graduate students by pulling together the growing number of faculty members and experts in the Ottawa-Gatineau region to provide fresh insight into current and historical dynamics of Africa – from the slave trade that reshaped the continent and the Atlantic world to the richly textured and innovative religious practices and livelihood strategies, from conflicts, refugees, and peace-building efforts to the production and reception of world-renowned and locally-consumed literatures, music and film.

Carleton is the only Canadian university to have a stand-alone Institute of African Studies which also offers degree programs. At the undergraduate level, it provides a Combined Honours and a 3-year program in African Studies in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, an Honours and a 3-year program in Africa and Globalization in the Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS) degree, and a Minor program in African Studies open to all undergraduate students.  At the graduate level, it offers a Collaborative Masters and Ph.D. in African Studies. It also organizes public events and activities concerning the continent and the African diaspora, and highlights and brings together the ongoing research conducted by its faculty and students.

The Institute of African Studies is part of both Carleton’s Faculty of Public Affairs and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. FPA and FASS are distinct groups of academic units that deal directly with matters of importance to government and civil society; while tackling the most complex social, cultural and political issues of our time. FASS and FPA offer its students a number of valuable opportunities, listed below.


Co-operative Education
Co-operative Education combines traditional, in-class education with hands-on experience. Co-op students alternate study terms at Carleton with four, eight, 12 or 16-month work terms.

First-Year Seminars
First-year seminar (FYSM) courses are small classes (usually with 30 students) designed to give students the opportunity to discuss and research topics of interest in a core subject area. Most university students are in their third or fourth year of study before they have the opportunity to take seminar courses. As a Carleton University Bachelor of Arts (BA) student, you are provided with this experience at the first-year level through enrolment in your First-Year Seminar.

NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Awards
The Undergraduate Student Research Awards (USRA) are meant to stimulate student interest in research in the natural sciences and engineering. The awards are also meant to encourage students to undertake graduate studies and pursue a research career in these fields.


International Opportunities and Study Abroad Program
The Bachelor of Global and International Studies (BGInS) is jointly offered by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Public Affairs. It is intended for students who want to learn more about, and engage constructively with, the world in which we live.  It is expected that it will allow students to pursue a wide range of career options related to global and international studies, including graduate school in a number of different disciplinary areas.

For international opportunities available to students to study, intern, research, volunteer visit the International Student Services Office and My Exchange websites.

Carleton University Research Opportunity (CUROP) (undergraduate)

We sponsor summer undergraduate research internships, which enable students to work on a research project of their choosing in collaboration with a faculty member.

FASS: http://research.carleton.ca/our-research/

FPA: https://carleton.ca/fpa/carleton-university-research-opportunity-curop-summer/

IPAF 4900 research mentorship opportunity (undergraduate)

IPAF 4900 is a 0.5 credit course that enables you to learn about research by collaborating with a professor on his or her research project. https://carleton.ca/fpa/current-students/ipaf/ipaf-opportunities-2/

Dean’s Honour List reception (undergraduate)

Every year, we honour its best students at the Dean’s Honour List reception. The celebration recognizes dedicated, hard-working students who have achieved a GPA of 10.0 or better.

FASS: https://carleton.ca/fass/deans-list-2019-reception-photos/

FPA: https://carleton.ca/fpa/current-students/deans-honour-list/

FPA and FASS Ambassadors (undergraduate), The Friendly Face of FPA/FASS

Made up entirely of volunteers, our Ambassadors represent the Faculty at our events and meet with prospective high school students—while enriching their own experiences at Carleton.

FASS: https://carleton.ca/fass/fass-student-ambassadors/

FPA: https://carleton.ca/fpa/2015/fpa-ambassadors-the-friendly-face-of-fpa/


Emerging Perspectives: FPA Graduate Conference (graduate)

Emerging Perspectives is a two-day graduate conference, which is held in the winter term as part of the FPA Research Series. The conference showcases an impressive array of in-depth graduate student research taking place in the Faculty of Public Affairs.


Our graduate and undergraduate programs at the Institute of African Studies offer:


Our undergraduate programs are built on students taking courses in various disciplines, enabling them to develop a fuller understanding and appreciation of the many dimensions of the continent. Our Collaborative Masters program in African Studies is open to students from 15 different disciplines; it enables graduate students with a wide range of academic backgrounds to come together in the advanced study of Africa.

Practical Experience

slaveshipAfrican studies students are encouraged to acquire “hands-on” experience in regards to African studies through taking a placement course, which enables them to carry out work for an organization working on Africa for academic credit, and by going to one of the African universities with which Carleton has an exchange agreement.

Engaging With Contemporary Issues

rwanda-2In the different courses, African studies students will be discussing and learning about events and their historical and current contexts that are debated and discussed within Africa and beyond.  Students will learn about the effects of slavery on Africa and the question of reparations; African unity and pan-Africanism; authenticity and artistic productions; democratization and human rights; conservation, national parks, and sustainable tourism; justice, reconciliation, and peace-building; music and cultural performances; HIV/AIDS, malaria and government and donor policies concerning health-care; ethnicity, belonging, and citizenship; African cinema and documentary film studies; and globalization and economic sovereignty, amongst others.