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African and African American Studies

The Department of African and African American Studies offers graduate programs in the fields of African American studies and African studies.

Fall 2024 Admissions Update

Admissions to the PhD in the anthropology area of study has been paused and will not be accepting applications for fall 2024. The PhD in all other areas of study within the Department of African and African American Studies will be accepting applications.

In this important program, you can choose to pursue either African or African American studies and explore the synergies in theory, concept, and method across the African diaspora. The African language program features instruction in 45 different African languages. You will also have the opportunity to engage in a social engagement dissertation—allowing you to interact with a local community and give back to the people there.

You will have access to a wide range of research resources, including the Hutchins Center and the Center for African Studies, both with extensive African-related collections.

Examples of student theses and dissertations include “A Hold on the City: Housing and Landscape History in Lagos, 1885-1985,” “Afro-Queer Journeys: Transnational Revival Zion Religion in Jamaica and Panama,” and “Black Republican Support in the Trump Era: A Social Psychological Account.”

Graduates have secured faculty positions at prestigious institutions including Yale University, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, and University of California, Los Angeles. Others have gone into non-academic careers in organizations like the Boston Review and are founders of nonprofit companies such as the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute. 

Additional information on the graduate program is available from the Department of African and African American Studies and requirements for the degree are detailed in Policies.

Areas of Study

Anthropology | Comparative Literature  | Economics | English | Government | History | History of Art and Architecture | Linguistics | Music | Philosophy | Psychology | Religion | Romance | Languages and Literatures | Sociology

Admissions Requirements

Please review the admissions requirements and other information before applying. You can find degree program-specific admissions requirements below and access additional guidance on applying from the Department of African and African American Studies.

Academic Background

Applicants to the program in African and African American studies typically have done some undergraduate work in the field of African or African American studies.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is required as part of the application. It should be a critical or scholarly paper of your most recent work and no longer than 20 pages.

Standardized Tests

GRE General: Optional

Theses & Dissertations

Theses & Dissertations for African and African American Studies


See list of African and African American Studies faculty


Degrees Offered


Questions about the Program?

Keirsten Melbourne
Graduate & Undergraduate Coordinator