Graduate Certificate in African Studies

The Graduate Certificate in African Studies can be earned by students in any Boston University graduate or professional program who fulfill the requirements outlined below in addition to the requirements of their degree programs. No additional coursework is usually required as courses completed for the African Studies Certificate also usually fulfill requirements toward students’ degree programs, though selected coursework must represent at least two departments or schools (post-BA degrees in African Studies are not offered). Courses with substantial African content from any of Boston University’s schools may be used toward the certificate, with approval from the African Studies director or assistant director. While the African Studies Center is based in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, graduate students in any of BU’s schools can earn a Graduate Certificate in African Studies.

The certificate reflects a concentration in interdisciplinary African area studies and is useful for students taking professional degrees in law, management, international relations, communication, education, fine arts, medicine, or public health where official recognition of African area studies expertise is advantageous.

A major aim of the program is to provide specialized training and research experience in African studies to advanced students interested in research, teaching, and professional careers. The resources of the center are also available to outside agencies, groups, and individuals with general or specialized interests in African affairs.

The African Studies Center offers funding to a sizable number of graduate students whose work focuses on Africa and who are seeking to complete the graduate certificate. Several Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships are available annually to qualified candidates for MA or PhD degrees who plan to specialize in African Studies and have an interest in learning an African language.


For a full list of approved courses both within the Pardee School of Global Studies and from the University’s other schools and colleges, please consult the center’s assistant director.

To receive the certificate, students must:

  • Successfully complete at least 16 credit hours of coursework from the African Studies curriculum with a grade of B or higher in each course.
  • Include courses from at least two departments or schools.
  • Include no more than 8 credit hours of coursework in directed study or research.
  • Complete a significant piece of research such as an MA or MFA thesis or doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars, on Africa.
  • Demonstrate reading knowledge of an African language or a European language used in African Studies.
  • Receive approval of completion from the director or assistant director of the African Studies Center and the student’s faculty advisor.