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Graduate Students

The Dual-Title Doctoral Degree in African Studies will be awarded to students who are admitted to a primary doctoral program and admitted subsequently into the dual-title degree in African Studies. At present, the African Studies Program has four partnering departments for the dual-title degree:   Political Science, Comparative Literature, French and Francophone Studies, and Geography. The minimum course requirements for the Dual-Title Doctoral Degree in African Studies is 18 credits (see Graduate Bulletin).  The degree is designed to provide a framework within which doctoral students can pursue an integrated suite of regional/thematic courses to complement their specialization in their major discipline; use African Studies graduate faculty to enrich the multidisciplinary training and research activities of Penn State doctoral students who have an interest in Africa; and, enhance the marketability of Penn State doctoral students by making it possible for them to acquire a unique qualification, which can attract a wide range of employers in academia, the US government, bilateral and multilateral international organizations, and international non-governmental organizations.

Graduate students can also elect to minor in African Studies. Any graduate student who wants to add this minor to their program can do so by filling out a Request to Add Graduate Minor (form available in 133 Willard). For a doctoral minor, the student would have to complete 15 credits (with at least 6 at the 500 level), and at least one Graduate Faculty member from the minor field must serve on the student’s doctoral committee.

The degree requirements for the Ph.D. Minor are:

  • Course work and other requirements of primary program
  • AFR 501(3 cr.) - required for all students
  • 12 additional credits of Africa-related coursework at the 400- or 500-level; a minimum of 6 of these credits must be taken from a list of courses maintained by the African Studies program chair.
  • As many as 6 of the 15 credits may come from the primary program as approved by the student’s academic advisers in the primary program and the African Studies Program.
  • No more than 6 credits may be taken at the 400-level and no more than 6 combined credits may come from individual studies courses and/or foreign studies courses.

The choice of electives in African Studies is to be proposed by the student and is subject to approval by the academic advisers from the primary program and the African Studies Program. The suite of selected courses should have an integrated, intellectual thrust, which probes a thematic, national or regional issue and that is complementary to the student's specialty in the primary program.

For more information please contact William J. (Bill) Dewey, the Graduate Director and Director of the African Studies Program at