MA in African American Studies

The Master of Arts degree program is focused on building conceptual and research skills that allow students to become lifelong critical investigators of cross-cultural interaction. While our focus is on the African American experience, our program approaches that experience in the context of global processes and in terms of its relationship to other groups such as Latinos, Asians, European Americans, Africans, and Native Americans.

Candidates for the Master of Arts in African American Studies must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Because of the broad focus of this program, there are no specific undergraduate concentration requirements except that the student must have completed some study in both the humanities and the social sciences.

Course Requirements

Candidates for the MA in African American Studies must complete eight courses (32 credits). The course requirements are as follows:

  • GRS AA 871 African American History
  • CAS AA 580 History of Racial Thought or GRS AA 808 Seminar: Ethnic, Race, and Minority Relations
  • Six additional courses at the 500 level or above in African American Studies

Language Requirement

All students pursuing an MA degree in African American Studies are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated either through a language examination, successful completion of a non-credit graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.

Research Papers

Students are also expected to produce two major research papers, one of which must be orally defended during the last semester in residence. The two papers should not be undertaken during the same semester. Each paper should be completed as part of the requirements of a graduate course, with the prior consent of the professor.