Graduate Certificate Requirements

Students wishing to obtain a graduate certificate in African American Studies are encouraged to consult with their home department advisers and the African American Studies Director of Graduate Studies, ideally during their first year, to plan their course of study. Interested students provide an application of their interest to the department, and must complete all requirements listed below.

Professor Joshua Guild serves as the director of Graduate Studies for the Department of African American Studies. Administrative questions should be directed to Dionne Worthy.


Course Requirements for Completing the Graduate Certificate

Introduction Course (1)

AAS 500 The African American Intellectual Tradition is the core graduate course in African American Studies. This interdisciplinary seminar introduces graduate students from many departments to the African-American intellectual tradition and to black thought from the African diaspora. Reading across disciplines and genres, the seminar engages a broad set of topics and themes, including race, racial formation and racism; slavery; empire; religion, social movements, and cultural representation. Particular attention is paid to issues of gender and class as well as race. The course presupposes a familiarity with issues in African American Studies.

Note: Under certain extenuating circumstances, students may petition to substitute HIS 577/AAS 577 Readings in African American History for AAS 500


Survey/Related Courses (2)

In addition to AAS 500, students are required to complete two other courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences. 

These should be courses (a) whose contents are judged to be devoted primarily to the study of race; or African American studies; or (b) for which they write research papers devoted to race; or (c) which are independent study topics tailored to the student’s interests in race or African American studies. (Students may consult with the DGS regarding the relevance of their coursework to the AAS certificate.)


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 adviser 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.