Graduate Degree Master of Arts in African-American Studies

Introduction & Requirements

Our faculty expertise in the domestic and global study of race and Blackness in the traditional disciplines of African-American Studies, Anthropology, Art History, History, Interdisciplinary Studies, Social Work, and Public Health makes African-American Studies at Georgia State University a significant resource for graduate students who want to engage in the interdisciplinary study of Black people in the United States, Africa, and in the African diaspora.  There are few departments or programs that match our strengths in:

  • Scholar-Activism
  • Diasporic studies in Black popular and mass culture
  • Culturally-relevant pedagogy
  • Community Empowerment
  • Gender and Social Relationships

While we have particular emphasis on Social Justice and Community Responsibility, in the United States, we support and encourage the study and liberation of Black people everywhere in the world.

African-American Studies offers a master’s degree with competitive funding, which includes a tuition waiver and moderate stipend.

Application Requirements Summary:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation on letterhead
  • Minimum of a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Cost to apply is $50.
  • The deadline to apply for fall term is March 15th


Career Opportunities

African-American Studies is an inter-disciplinary field that prepares its students for professional life and social responsibility. Our emphasis on critical engagement, communication (oral and written) skills, and research provides important preparation and competencies in a variety of careers. Our alumni have successfully pursued careers in Law, Education, Historic Preservation, Public Health, Mental Health, Urban Planning, Social Work, and Human Rights Advocacy.

Check out the link below for information on what you can do with an African-American Studies degree:

What Can I Do With A Black Studies Major

Degree Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of African-American Studies has the following admission requirements:

The M.A. in African-American Studies requires thirty-six (36) semester hours of graduate course work, eighteen hours of which are required (AAS 6000, AAS 6005, AAS 6007, AAS 6010, AAS 6012 and AAS 6052), and twelve hours of which may be taken from AAS courses or from approved courses in other departments.  (Students holding graduate assistantships (GAs) may be required to carry more hours (non-thesis hours), although this requirement does not alter the number of hours required to complete the master’s degree program.)  To get a course approved, discuss it with the AAS Graduate Program Director and get approval in writing or via e-mail.  For available courses, see the Department of African-American Studies Schedule of Courses for the current year or visit the GSU Go Solar web page. Coursework must be completed with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or better; please note that B- does not fulfill this requirement.  Full-time graduate students are expected to take the core courses offered fall and spring semester.  Part-time graduate students are expected to take at least one core course each semester until they finish the core.

  1. Courses

    In order to earn a Master of Arts degree in African-American Studies, a student must complete 36 credits hours of graduate coursework:

    1. Students must complete eighteen (18) hours of core requirements:
      1. AAS 6000 Proseminar in African-American Studies (3)
      2. AAS 6005 Theories in African-American Studies (3)
      3. AAS 6007 Black Feminist Thought (3)
      4. AAS 6010 Research Methods in African-American Studies (3)
      5. AAS 6012 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
      6. AAS 6052 African Women and Socio/Political Change (3)
    2. Students must complete twelve (12) credit hours of coursework in one of two areas of concentrations: Community Empowerment or Culture and Aesthetics. These courses are decided between the student and Graduate Director. See the Recommended Timeline for Full-Time AAS MA Students.
    3. Students must complete six (6) credit hours of thesis.


*Note: This chart does not include Graduate Assistantship (GA) hours.

**Note: This chart may vary for part-time students.

Year 1
Fall Spring Summer (Optional)


·         AAS 6000

·         AAS 6005

·         AAS 6010



·         Begin thinking about your thesis topic

·         Begin getting to know faculty in order to find a thesis advisor and thesis committee members

·         Check in with the Graduate Program Director by the end of the semester to discuss how you are doing


·         AAS 6007

·         AAS 6012

·         AAS 6052



·         Select Thesis Committee Chair & committee members (Appendix D – Deadline: March 31st)

·         Submit Annual Evaluation materials (Deadline: March 31st) (Appendix E)

·         Update CV



·         CE/CA course



Year 2
Fall Spring Summer


·         CE/CA courses

·         Thesis Hours



·         Thesis Proposal Defense (Deadline: October 31st) (Appendix E, F, & G)


·         File for graduation (2 semesters in advance)


·         CE/CA courses

·         Thesis Hours



·         Submit Annual Evaluation materials (March 31st) (Appendix E)

·         Thesis Defense (Deadline: March 15th) (Appendix H & I)

·         Update CV

·         Exit Interview w/ Graduate Program Director

·         Graduation


Graduate Certificate in African-American Studies

Certificate in African American Studies

Africana Studies is a growing discipline. An increasing number of employers are seeking to fill positions with people who possess a cultural and historical analysis of Black people nationally, the African diaspora, and around the globe. As a discipline that is both interdisciplinary and diasporic, African American Studies at Georgia State University specifically educates students in:
• Black political, cultural, philosophical, and artistic thought and practice
• Black popular and mass culture
• Race in relation to the study of gender and sexuality
• Social Justice through community engagement

This certificate program allows master’s and doctoral students in other disciplines to amplify the Africentric analysis in their own course of study. Some may simply want to explore a specific area reflected in their course of study. Others may wish to pursue employment for which a certificate in African American Studies is deemed an advantage.

Certificate Degree Requirements
The Graduate Certificate in AAS is available to eligible graduate students who successfully complete five graduate courses (15 credit hours) in AAS with a grade of B or better in each. One of these courses must come from the graduate core: AAS 6000 (Proseminar) or AAS 6007 (Theories and Concepts). The remaining three courses must be drawn from graduate courses bearing an AAS prefix. The final course can originate from another department.

Student Eligibility
All students seeking the AAS Graduate Certificate must submit a formal application through the Office of Graduate Studies of the College of Arts and Sciences. Applications are accepted two times per year: April 15 (for fall semester) and November 15 (for spring semester).

Students apply online, using the standard online Graduate Application. GRE scores are no longer required for application and admission to AAS at GSU. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, with any additional questions.

Graduate Certificate Application Requirements
• Three letters of recommendation
• Personal statement of 750-1000 words
• Official Transcripts (one from each institution attended)
• Application fee

The following students are eligible:
• Students who are enrolled in an M.A. or Ph.D. program in another department or institute at Georgia State University must complete an online application, but existing materials on file with the Graduate Office may be used for the application, and the application fee may be waived. Once you have filled out a new online application for the Certificate program, and attached a short personal statement about why you wish to receive the Certificate, contact the AAS liaison in the Graduate Office, Kirstin Sylvester, to request that your transcripts and letters of recommendation be used for this application as well. Also let her know that you are a current student and would like to request the application fee waiver.
• Students who apply solely for the Graduate Certificate in AAS must submit a complete application for the Graduate Certificate, including fees, to the College of Arts and Sciences.
• Students in the AAS M.A. degree program who are unable to complete the program, but would like to receive the Certificate, may do so if they have fulfilled the Certificate course requirements (5 AAS courses with a grade of “B” or better). These students must complete a new online application for the Certificate (rather than M.A.) program but can use the existing materials on file by following the procedure outlined above.

Students can apply two times per year:
• April 15 for Fall semester
• November 15 for Spring semester

Completion of Program
Certificate Students must notify the AAS graduate director via email  when they have completed coursework. You must notify the graduate director before graduation so that the certificate will be recorded on your transcripts. Please send you name and panther ID number. In addition, students will need to apply for graduation from the certificate program via their PAWS account.

The certificate consists of 15 credit hours (5 courses).

1. Required course. Select one (1) of the following AAS courses (3 credit hours):

o AAS 6000 Proseminar in African-American Studies (3)
o AAS 6005 Theories in African-American Studies (3)


2. Select four (4)  AAS courses from the following list (12 credit hours):

o AAS 6000 Proseminar in African-American Studies (3) (if not taken above)
o AAS 6005 Theories in African-American Studies (3) (if not taken above)
o AAS 6007 Black Feminist Thought (3)
o AAS 6010 Research Methods in African-American Studies (3)
o AAS 6012 Qualitative Research Methods (3)
o AAS 6052 African Women and Social Political Changes (3)
o AAS 6020 African-American Social Movements (3)
o AAS 6025 Seminar in African-American History (4)
o AAS 6027 Seminar in Southern Modern Civil Rights Movement (4)
o AAS 6029 African-American Political Participation (3)
o AAS 6030 Dynamics of the African American Family (3)
o AAS 6032 African-American Masculinity (3)
o AAS 6034 African-American Women in the U.S. (3)
o AAS 6040 African-American Community Empowerment (3)
o AAS 6042 Ethnicity and Aging (3)
o AAS 6044 African-American Anthropology (3)
o AAS 6050 African Social Movements (3)
o AAS 6052 Africana Women and Social Political Change (3)
o AAS 6055 African Politics (3)
o AAS 6056 Geography of Africa (3)
o AAS 6060 African Art (3)
o AAS 6062 Contemporary African Art (3)
o AAS 6070 African-American Literary Theory (3)
o AAS 6073 19th Century African-American Literature (3)
o AAS 6079 African American Language (3)
o AAS 6080 The Black Arts Movements (3)
o AAS 6082 African-American Art (3)
o AAS 6090 African-American Religion (3)