General Degree Requirements for the M.A. in African Studies

  1. Successful completion of 34 graduate hours of approved graduate course work from at least three disciplines. Approved courses should be devoted entirely to Africa or African studies in their content.
  2. Proficiency in an indigenous African language.
  3. To remain in good standing a student must maintain a 3.25 grade point average on a 4 point scale.


Students must take:

  • IS 451 Bibliography of Africa. This Library and Information Science course is offered once a year usually in the fall semester. You are required to sign up for 4 grad hours.
  • AFST 522 Development of African Studies. This course is typically offered once a year in the spring semester. It is offered for 4 graduate hours.
  • AFST 515 Practicum in African Studies. This course is highly recommended. AFST 515 is only available as a Pass/Fail course at 2 graduate hours.

Graduate hours are awarded for courses at the 400 and 500 levels, with 500 level courses being the more advanced. In some professional programs, such as Law, courses are listed at the 600 level, if they are open to students in other programs. These hours count towards your graduate degree. Courses taken to fulfill the language proficiency requirement are not credited towards the 34 graduate hours, but do fulfill the required proficiency requirement.

In addition to IS 451 and AFST 522, 8 graduate hours of the 34 must be at the 500-level. No more than 4 hours of independent study is normally counted towards meeting the requirement for 500-level coursework. A course list identifying core courses is made available to students through the Center for African Studies and via the website.

Students wishing to write a thesis may enroll for up to eight graduate hours of thesis research (AFST 599). Students may only pursue the thesis option if a member of the core faculty agrees to serve as an advisor, guiding research conducted during the independent study. The thesis should be substantially longer and of greater conceptual or theoretical depth than a term paper. Students taking the thesis option will be required to submit a Master's Thesis Committee Form by the end of the first week on their third semester and to defend the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members, two of whom must be drawn from the core faculty. Upon completion, one copy of the thesis is to be deposited at the Center office.

A typical semester load includes 3 to 4 courses or 12 -16 hours. Depending on language proficiency, students can normally fit 3 to 6 courses of additional electives into a four-semester program. These electives should be chosen based on the student's interests. It is sometimes possible to make these units count toward a second master's degree or a doctoral program.

Achieving Proficiency in an African Language

Proficiency in an indigenous African language must be at a level equivalent to six semesters of study. Students entering the program with no background in an indigenous African language will be expected to enroll in a language intensive course during the summer between the second and third semester. Courses taken to fulfill the language proficiency requirement are not credited towards the 34 graduate hours.