Graduate Certificate in African Studies

The Graduate Certificate in African Studies is available to graduate students who fulfill basic requirements in African area studies within an existing degree program. (Degrees are not awarded in African Studies.) Candidates interested in African Studies take advanced degrees in the departments of their choice while choosing from courses with African content from any of Boston University’s schools. While the African Studies Center is based in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, graduate students in any of Boston University’s schools can earn a Graduate Certificate in African Studies.

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 certificate will be 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.

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 the MA or PhD degrees who plan to specialize in African Studies and have an interest in learning an African language.


Programs involving work in more than one department are encouraged. A Graduate Certificate in African Studies can be obtained by graduate students who fulfill basic requirements in African area studies within a degree program.

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 hours of coursework from the African Studies core curriculum
  • Obtain a grade of B or higher in each of the core courses
  • Include courses from at least two departments or schools
  • Include no more than 8 hours of courses in directed study or research (not including continuing student credits)
  • Complete a piece of significant research such as an MA or MFA thesis or doctoral dissertation, or two substantial research papers in graduate-level seminars
  • Have a reading knowledge of an African language or major 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