Graduate Certificate Requirements

Students wishing to obtain a graduate certificate in African American Studies are encouraged to consult with their home department advisors and the African American Studies Director of Graduate Studies, ideally during their first year, to plan their course of study. Interested students must complete all requirements listed below, and apply via the AAS Graduate Certificate Program Registration Form

Professor Ruha Benjamin serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of African American Studies. Administrative questions should be directed to Dionne Worthy.


Earning the Graduate Certificate

The graduate course of study is determined by a graduate students’ home department advisors in consultation with the Curriculum Committee in the Department of African American Studies. Certificate requirements include completion of AAS 500 African American Intellectual Tradition and two other courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences:

  • Whose contents are judged to be devoted primarily to race; or
  • for which they write research papers devoted to race; or
  • which are independent study topics tailored to the student’s interests in Race.


Others Requirements

Participation in a Faculty-Graduate Seminar

Students must participate in at least one cycle of the Faculty-Graduate Seminar.

This works-in-progress seminar is convened by a faculty member around a selected theme and meets bi-weekly throughout the academic year. This interdisciplinary workshop provides a forum for faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars to explore particular topics in the field of African American Studies while engaging multiple fields and methodological approaches. A paper circulates one week prior to seminar meetings. The paper’s author briefly presents his or her work before one or more graduate students offer a response, raising questions and concerns and guiding open discussion of the paper and presentation.

Central Themes in Dissertation

The dissertation is expected to center on a topic significant in African American Studies. Typically, the principal advisor for the dissertation will be a faculty member from the home department, with at least one African American Studies faculty member serving as a reader. At the time the student receives the Ph.D. in the discipline of the home department, the chair of the Department of African American Studies will award the student with a letter of certification.