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 General program in African Studies in the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, an Honours and a General 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 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.

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.