The Institute for African Studies with regional research focus on Africa was established in 1975 at the founding of the University of Bayreuth. Now simply referred to as “African Studies”, IAS "comprises the entirety of the Africa-related research and training activities carried out by Bayreuth scholars from forty different subject areas including cultural studies, linguistics, economics, law, geosciences, biosciences, and engineering. All Africa-related activities at the University of Bayreuth are coordinated by the Institute of African Studies."
In 2019, the Africa Multiple Cluster was established to reconfigure African studies, on both the conceptual and the structural level. The purpose of the cluster is "conceived as a transformative space within which to systematically advance the study of Africa and its diasporas via the pursuit of transdisciplinary research, with a strong emphasis on critical area studies, in addition to the disciplines involved. Building on decades of internationally outstanding research in African studies at University of Bayreuth, the cluster will develop new approaches to the analysis of African and African diasporic lifeworlds through the lens of multiplicity."
One of the unique features of IAS is that it offers diversified study programs from undergraduate, MA and PhDs. Furthermore, it periodically offers fellowships of between 1 to 10 months where scholars from Africa and overseas can converge to deepen their research skills. Besides this, IAS collaborates with the following African universities - Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya; Rhodes University, Makhanda, South Africa; Université Ki-Zerbo, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and the University of Lagos, Nigeria.