2003 - 2005 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

African American Studies, M.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

Applications for admission are processed at the January 15 deadline each year. Applicants are only admitted during the Fall semester of each academic year.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation from college/university professors who have taught or worked with the applicant in her/his major or minor area of concentration are preferred.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

An applicant is expected to have some academic background in African American Studies in order to be considered for admission to the Masters program.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words and should include the following elements: your specific interest in the Temple University Department of African American Studies; your research goals as they relate to African American Studies; your research goals as they relate to the social relevance of the discipline; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted:
600 on the paper-based TOEFL examination or 250 on the computer-based TOEFL examination. An interview may be required.


A resume is required.

Writing Sample:

The writing sample should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct research and to write a scholarly paper relevant to the discipline. The paper should be no more than 20 pages and fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual.

Transfer Credit:

Incoming graduate students, with approval of their advisor, may apply, during their first semester here, to have graduate credits taken at other accredited institutions counted towards completion of the degree. The M.A. student may satisfy only 20% of his/her DAAS 30-credit program through transfer credits. Grades of transfer courses must be "B" or better. After consultation with and approval of the advisor, the student must then submit to the Graduate Committee: (1) a letter specifying each course the student wishes to have considered for credit toward the M.A. and the corresponding Temple course related to the transfer course, (2) supporting documents (e.g., syllabi, course descriptions from college catalogs, letter from transfer course instructor or department) showing the overlap by which the course covers material from Temple courses. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements
Campus Location:

Main Campus

Full-time/Part-time Status:

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.

General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:
AAS 400

AAS 401

AAS 402

AAS 460 or 462

AAS 466

AAS 505

Completion of the Master of Arts degree in African American Studies requires the fulfillment of a minimum of 30 credit hours. Eighteen of the minimum credit hours are the required core courses.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Comprehensive Examination:

The comprehensive examination is intended to probe the student's knowledge of content, literature, theory/methodology, and methods in African American Studies and to test the student's ability to apply theoretical issues to praxis. It is a proctored, closed book, 6-hour written examination.

Comprehensive Exam Subject - The M.A. Comprehensive Examination covers the content, theories, and paradigms of the discipline and/or relevant coursework that students may have taken.

Comprehensive Exam Complete - Students must take the Comprehensive Examination after completing all of the required coursework.

Comprehensive Exam Write - The Examination Committee prepares and administers the student's written M.A. comprehensive examination. M.A. students are advised to choose Examination Committees at the beginning of their final semester. They should consult with their graduate advisors to select the second member of the committee and set the date for the Comprehensive Examination. The Committee is composed of two DAAS graduate faculty members, one of whom is the major advisor who will make up one half of the questions; the other committee member will provide the remaining half of questions.

Comprehensive Exam Grade - The Examination Committee writes the examination questions and evaluates the answers. The Graduate Director will notify the student of the Comprehensive Examination results no later than 5 weeks after the completion of the examination. Based on the quality of the examination results, the Examination Committee may make one of the following determinations: (1) Pass: The M.A. student may receive an M.A. degree when all other departmental and university requirements are met. (2) Fail: The M.A. student is not awarded the M.A. degree. A student may retake the exam once. (3) Fail/Termination: The M.A. student who does not successfully pass the written examination the second time is terminated from graduate status in the Department.

Comprehensive Exam Pass - The student must answer every question on the examination in order to be evaluated. The evaluators look for content mastery and coherent application of the discipline's theories and paradigms.

Comprehensive Exam Schedule - The Comprehensive Examination is offered twice a year -- Thursday and Friday approximately 2 weeks before classes begin in January and Thursday and Friday of the week after classes end in May. The hours of the exam are from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student must schedule her/his examination with the Graduate Secretary after consultation with her/his advisor at least one month in advance of the exam date. In order to arrange an examination date, the student must be sure that her/his records are free of encumbrances that would prevent him/her from meeting University requirements for taking the examination.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of African American Studies
810 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Department Contacts:


Helen Grey-Harley

Program Coordinator:


Graduate Chairperson:

Ella Forbes, Ph.D.


Nathaniel Norment

About the Program

The mission of the Department of African American Studies (DAAS) is to provide an intellectual arena in which students learn to critically examine, analyze and interpret the experiences, traditions and dynamics of people of African descent. The Department's undergirding philiosophy is that the specific historical experiences of a people must be the central axis guiding, informing any effective analysis and interpretation of that people's past, present and future. Our graduate program is informed, in considerable degree, by the Afrocentric paradigm as spearheaded by Dr. Molefi Kete Asante, DAAS' first chairperson. The program reflects a deeply ingrained commitment to the self-directed study of African peoples and has benefited, to that end, from a variety of inputs, conceptual and political, from diverse, but fully committed, faculty participation as well as invaluable contributions from the community. The Master of Arts (M.A.) program seeks to answer the personal and intellectual aspirations of the student and the particular needs of society that are not satisfied by a baccalaureate degree. Thus, the M.A. provides more specialized study in African American Studies than the B.A. or B.S. degree and often serves as the terminal degree. It is the goal of the Department that graduates with an M.A. in African American Studies be prepared to engage in a diverse range of intellectual issues that affect the African lives on the continent and in the diaspora.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus

Students are able to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of African American Studies
810 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Not applicable.


This program is accredited by the National Council for Black Studies.

Areas of Specialization:

DAAS faculty members specialize, offer substantial coursework, and mentor in a variety of areas, including, Afrocentric theory, African Civilizations, African and African American Literature, African Languages, the Narrative Tradition, African and African American History, Mass Media, Social and Political Thought, Women's Studies, Cultural Studies, Caribbean Culture, Linguisitics, Rhetoric and Composition, African American Psychology, Research Methods, Popular Culture, and Ethnographic Methods.

Job Placement:

Graduates of the M.A. Program in African American Studies find employment in a variety of public and private sector areas: teaching, arts and humanities, business and social services. Many secondary school teachers desire to enhance their skills by obtaining an M.A. degree in African American Studies.


DAAS faculty members are affiliated with a variety of professional organizations such as the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS); Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH); African Heritage Studies Association (AHSA); Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC); African Studies Association (ASA); Black History Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Association of Black Women Historians; African Literature Association; Pennsylvania Humanities Council; Teachers of English as a Second Language (TESL); College Language Association (CLA); Modern Language Association (MLA); National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); Pan African Studies Association; Black Expressive Culture Association; Germantown Friends Summerbridge Program; Young Scholars Program of Temple; and American Anthropological Association.

Interdisciplinary Study:

M.A. students are sometimes encouraged, after consultation with their advisors, to take courses in other departments in order to enhance or supplement their program. A maximum of 6 credit hours may be transferred into the Master's program.

Study Abroad:

The Department of African American Studies offers a Temple in Ghana Study Abroad program. Graduate students may complete a maximum of 6 credit hours in the program.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

A non-matriculated student may take a maximum of 9 credit hours in DAAS. These credits may be applied to the degree if the student applies for and is admitted to the degree program. Non-matriculated students may not take AAS 790 [Independent Study].

Financing Opportunities

The department offers a limited number of Assistantships on a highly competitive basis. Teaching Assistants receive a stipend and full tuition remission up to 9 credits. The awards usually involve teaching. The applicant must have a grade point average of 3.5 or better and strong letters of recommendation. A resume, writing sample and/or syllabus are also required with the application. Awards will generally go to doctoral students who meet the criteria before M.A. students. The deadline for applications is normally January 15 for the Fall semester. A continuing student wishing to apply should obtain a "Teaching Assistantship" application from the Graduate Secretary. Applicants to the DAAS graduate program should submit TA applications with their graduate applications.

Other Financial Opportunities