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Faculty of Languages & Literature

African Verbal and Visual Arts B.A. & M.A.

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African Verbal and Visual Arts: Languages, Literatures, Media and Art (M.A.)

The Master’s programme African Verbal and Visual Arts (AVVA) is conceptualized as a continuation and immersion of the specialization fields offered in the Bachelor Programme African Visual and Verbal Arts (Languages, Literatures, Media and Art) at the University of Bayreuth. These are African Linguistics, Swahili Studies, Literatures in African Languages, and Media/Arts and Curational Studies in Africa.

In addition to gaining knowledge in African languages and linguistics, the programme now focuses on a deeper understanding of conditions and norms of language(s) in use; also in its mediated forms and social contexts. Hence, it is the primary goal of this programme to convey an enhanced comprehension of culturally encoded knowledge in its various applications and expressions in Africa.

Beside the focus on language, the programme also offers an intense engagement with theories and methodologies of literature, media, art and curatorial studies that further enriches the knowledge of various cultural verbal and visual expressions in Africa. 

Contents & Structure



2 years (4 semesters) of full-time study or 4 years (8 semesters) of part-time study

Language of Instruction


Fields of Specialization

Students have to choose a field of specialization in the beginning of the programme, but latest by the second semester: 1 African Linguistics; 2 African Literatures; 3 Arts, Curational Studies and Media in Africa; 4 Swahili Studies; or 5 Multidisciplinary Studies (this option allows for an interdisciplinary immersion in several of these specialization fields).

Interdisciplinary modules

Interdisciplinary modules compulsory to everyone include theories, methods, and courses in two African languages (Bambara, Hausa, Swahili, isiXhosa or Arabic) that provide students with both academic and communicative skills.

Programme ObjectivesHide

The Master’s programme enables students to develop and specialize in their knowledge and critical thinking in the fields of Linguistics, Literatures, Media, Arts and Curation in Africa. They further deepen their knowledge in academic work routines and current research trends. In a final Master’s thesis, they will work on an individually chosen research topic in a field of specialization and thus prove their professional and methodological competence.

The AVVA MA programme can also be studied part-time. For details please contact: irina.turner@uni-bayreuh.de

Professional PerspectivesHide

Graduates of this Master’s programme qualify for further studies on PhD level in African Language Studies, Literatures in African Languages, and Media and Curation Studies in Africa. Besides a university career, the programme also prepares for working in applied areas especially within intercultural cooperation’s and cultural work (e.g. Goethe Institutes, foundations, museums); in the media (journalism and PR), in developmental work and in Africa-related businesses.

The focus on teaching in English carries forward the internationalization strategy and enables productive links to the Research Hub in African Studies at the University of Bayreuth.

Participating Chairs and InstitutionsHide

African Linguistics (Chairs of African Linguistics I and African Linguistics II):

The number and variety of languages in Africa is unique, with about 2000 languages, most of which can be further subdivided into dialects. These languages are the object of research in African Linguistics. Using the methods of general linguistics, this discipline not only studies the structure (grammar) and vocabulary (lexis) of individual languages, but also compares different languages in order to gain insights into their relationships, both within language families and through contact (comparative linguistics, language contact). Language is always an expression of culture, so that the speakers and their environment are also important areas of study in African Linguistics (sociolinguistics).

Professorship of Literatures in African Languages:

The object of research and teaching of this discipline is the enormous variety of aesthetic expression in African languages. This verbal art has existed for centuries in oral form (orature), and in more recent times also in written form (literature). In very recent times, new media have also played an important role in the line of tradition of African literary creativity.


Iwalewahaus is a place for the production and presentation of contemporary art. By doing exhibitions, academic research and teaching, by taking care of the collection and the archive as well as providing residencies for artists, recent developments in contemporary African and Diaspora culture are presented and refined together with artists and institutions. The mission of Iwalewahaus is to research, document and teach recent African culture. The teaching at Iwalewahaus concentrates on four areas: art studies with reference to Africa, aspects of African popular culture, institutionalisation and interaction of art worlds and finally broader questions of the history of media and the study of visual culture.


Admission Requirements

Applicants should have an academic background in African Linguistics, African Literatures, Media in Africa, Curational Studies, or a related discipline.

You require at least a Bachelor grade point average of 2.5 or better (according to the German grading scale).

You must also have a sound command of written and spoken English (equivalent to B2+ European Framework of Reference for Languages).

This can be proven by certificates, degrees from an English tertiary institution, or BA theses written in English.

Commencing the AVVA programme is only possible for the winter term (October each year).

In addition, it is required to have some knowledge of German (level A1). This can also be obtained during the first year of studying in Bayreuth.

Application procedure

Application is always online (via campus online)

Please check below which regulations apply to you and how to apply


The application period for international students is 15 April – 15 July (for the winter term)

  • Accommodation

Please check the information provided by the International Office

  • Funding

Please note that the department does not offer scholarships to students. It is advised to secure external funding, e.g., through one of the following sponsors.

Webmaster: Dr. Irina Turner

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