Ten Years of the Doctoral Programme at MISR. A Reflection

Type of Publication
Main Author
Mahmood Mamdani
Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR)


In the short span of twelve years (2010 - 2012), the Makerere Institute of Social Research has transitioned from a dormant consultancy to a thriving global research institute housing a vibrant five-year MPhil/Ph.D. programme straddling twin challenges: global excellence and local relevance. The inter-disciplinary programme in Social Studies began in 2012. From 2015 to 2021, it has graduated 57 MPhil awardees. The first doctoral fellow graduated in 2017; by 2021 there were n doctoral graduates. Another 15 young scholars are completing doctoral research and/or thesis writing. Collectively, they have won acclaim from multiple award-giving agencies around the world. The MISR Press was established in 2013 and has published 12 books, among these 2 doctoral thesis. Five issues of The MISR Review have been produced since 2016. A thriving extra-curricular programme of Wednesday seminars, Friday lectures, and a diverse and rich series of workshops and symposia developed from 2015 to 2019. MISR successfully transitioned to online teaching and an ambitious extra-curricular series of lectures, Global Conversations 2020, with the onset of the pandemic. MISR has attracted over 12 million USD of grant money during this past decade, including a five-year (2019-2023) 1.5 million USD Mellon grant as the lead institution in a global consortium that includes five universities: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana; Centre for Arab and Middle Eastern Thought, American University of Beirut; Centre for the Study of Social Sciences, Kolkata; the Ifriqiyya Colloquium, Columbia University; and Makerere Institute of Social Research. With new achievements come new challenges. After a remarkable first decade, the MISR MPhil/Ph.D. programme looks to face the challenges of the second decade with growing support from the university, the government, and global grant-making agencies.

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