The M.A Program

The Master of Arts Program in African Studies is a two-year interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences designed to provide a broad understanding of African affairs. The program is designed for students wishing to go on to the doctorate as well as those students seeking a terminal M.A. degree before entering the business world, media, government service or a professional school.

Since students differ in prior academic preparation and experience, each student plans an integrated program with the Director of Graduate Studies that conforms to her or his needs and interests.

Fields of Study: African Studies considers the arts, history, cultures, languages, literatures, politics, religions, and societies of Africa as well as issues concerning development, health, and the environment. The program offers considerable flexibility and choice. Enrollment in the M.A. program in African Studies provides students with the opportunity to register for the many African studies courses offered in the various departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the professional schools. In addition, the Program in African Studies offers two interdisciplinary seminars to create dialogue and to integrate approaches across disciplines.

Requirements for the M.A. Degree: A student may choose one of the following areas of concentration: history; anthropology; political science; economics; sociology; arts and literatures; languages and linguistics; religion; environmental and development studies and public health The program requires sixteen courses:

  • Two compulsory introductory interdisciplinary seminars, Research Methods in African Studies (AFST 501a) and Topics in African Studies (AFST 764b) or an alternate course, as specifically designated by the DGS  
  • Four courses of instruction in an African language. A student who is able to demonstrate advanced proficiency in an African language may have the language requirement waived and substitute for other approved courses. 
  • Four courses in one of the above areas of concentration 
  • Four other approved courses offered in the Graduate School or professional schools and
  • Two terms of Directed Reading and Research (AFST 590a and 900b ) during which students will complete the required thesis.

The choice of courses must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, David Simon. Students should consult with him as soon as possible in the first term.

The Master’s Thesis: The Master’s thesis is based upon research on a topic approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and advised by a faculty member with expertise or specialized competence in the chosen topic.Students must submit their thesis for joint evaluation by the adviser and a second reader, who is chosen by the student in consultation with the DGS.  An archive of recent MA thesis titles can be viewed on the thesis archive (link to archive). 

Special Admissions Requirements:

  • The GRE General Test
  • Writing Sample

The graduate application should be accessed directly at Graduate Admissions.