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2005 - 2006 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

African American Studies, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15                           [December 15 for international applicants]

Applications for admission are processed together shortly after the deadline date each year.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation from college/university faculty members who have taught or worked with the applicant are preferred. In other instances, letters of recommendation from employers with relevant relation to the applicant's area of study are useful.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:


Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

Yes. African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, History with a concentration in African or African American Studies, content areas with a concentration in African or African American Studies.

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: 1) a specific interest in the Ph.D. Program in African American Studies at Temple University; 2) a clearly articulated research goal as it relates to African American Studies; 3) future career goals; 4) academic and research achievements; 5) community service activities; and 6) explanations for exceptional circumstances.

Standardized Test Scores:

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted:
600 paper-based, 250 computer-based, or 100 internet-based.


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 content and/or focus of the discipline. The paper should be no more than 20 pages, fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual.

Advanced Standing:

A student who enters the Ph.D. program with an M.A. in African-American Studies from one of the AAS M.A. degree granting programs (e.g., Berkeley, Ohio State, SUNY-Albany, Wisconsin, Yale, etc.) may apply for advanced standing. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 30.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 48

Required Courses:
AAS 400

AAS 401

AAS 402

AAS 447

AAS 460 or 462

AAS 505

AAS 667

AAS 750

A Doctoral student must take a minimum of three 500-level courses, three 600-level courses, one 700-level course as well 6 credits of dissertation research post-candidacy in addition to the core course requirements.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: Yes, a language examination is required. The language requirement in African American Studies is intended to ensure that students have a working familiarity with a language and culture other than English and/or their native language. The Ph.D. student must pass the language examination before taking the Qualifying Examination. The student who has English as a second language may use English to fulfill the language requirement. With the recommendation of the advisor, a student may demonstrate competency in statistics to fulfill the language requirement. The language examination must be administered and graded by a college or university affiliated or certified instructor in the exam language, but may not be from DAAS. The results must be forwarded on letterhead which attests to the examiner's credentials. Temple University's various language departments offer non-credit language courses and administer examinations for graduate students needing to fulfill the language requirement.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examination:
The Preliminary Examination is a culminating examination intended to probe the student's knowledge of content, literature, theory/methodology, methods in African American Studies, and to test the student's ability to apply theoretical issues to praxis. It is a proctored, closed-book, 12-hour written examination administered by the student's Preliminary Examination Committee. The student's major advisor will compose 6 hours of the examination. In order to take the exam, the student must register for AAS 799 [Preliminary Exam Preparation].

Subject Areas/Major Components of the Preliminary Examination:
The subject areas will be chosen by the Preliminary Examination Committee. Particular reading lists or specific materials may be suggested for review before the exam.

At what point in the program is the student expected to take the preliminary examination?
Students are expected to take the preliminary examination upon completion of the coursework component of the program and upon the satisfactory completion of the language requirement.

Writing the Questions for the Preliminary Examination:
The student is strongly advised to choose a preliminary examining committee at the beginning of the semester that s/he takes his or her last course. The student should consult with her/his graduate advisor in selecting members of his or her examination committee and in setting the date for the examination. The student should then write to prospective members requesting that they serve on the Examination Committee. In the letter, the student should mention the course(s) taken with the professor, and include a copy of his/her statement of research interests and career goals. The faculty member should notify the student's advisor in writing of his/her agreement to serve on the committee.

Evaluating the Preliminary Examination:
Each member of the Dissertation Advisory Committee will evaluate his or her exam question(s). The student may be required to retake all or part of the examination.

Criterion for Passing the Preliminary Examination:
The Graduate Director will notify the student of her/his examination results no later than 5 weeks after the exam's completion. On the basis of the quality of the examination results, the Examination Committee may make one of the following determinations: (1) Pass: The student passes the examination and may now write his/her dissertation proposal. 2) Fail: The student fails the written and/or oral examination but may retake part or all of the examination. Students may only take the exam twice. (3) Fail/Termination: The student fails the written examination and may not retake the exam. The student is dismissed from the program.

Administering, Scheduling, and Proctoring the Preliminary Examination:
The Preliminary, or Qualifying, Examination is offered in January and May. The hours of the exam are from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The student schedules the exam with the Graduate Secretary after consultation with her/his advisor at least one month in advance of the exam date. The Graduate Secretary will check to be sure the student's records are free of encumbrances that would prevent him/her from meeting University requirements for taking the exam. If all requisites are met, the student should select an exam date from those available and inform the Graduate Secretary of the date she/he intends to take the exam. The Graduate Secretary informs the student's committee of the planned date of the exam. Examiners will submit exam items directly to the Graduate Director. Students will receive exam results within five weeks after completion of the exam.


Dissertation Advising Committee Information:
The Doctoral Advisory Committee guides the candidate's doctoral research. This committee offers regular advice and expertise as the student collects data, researches and writes the proposal and dissertation. The DAC must include at least 3 graduate faculty members from Temple University; two of them, including the chair, must be from the Department of African American Studies. The committee may be expanded to include other Temple University faculty (from within or outside DAAS) and/or doctorally prepared experts from outside the University, provided that a majority of the committee members are Graduate faculty members.

Dissertation Examining Committee Information:
The function of the Dissertation Examining Committee is to evaluate the dissertation as well as the oral defense, and to decide whether the candidate passes or fails. All members of the Dissertation Examining Committee must be physically present for the oral defense. Exceptions must be specifically approved in writing by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dissertation Examining Committee is composed of the DAC plus at least one additional reader who may be a graduate faculty member from Temple or another university, but cannot be a member of DAAS.

Advisor/Committee Information:
A student must have an advisor at all times. However, it is possible that as the student's interests develop, s/he may find it desirable to change major advisors and/or advisory committees. The advisee/advisor relationship can be terminated by mutual consent with a note to the Graduate Director signed by both parties or by either party through negotiation with the Graduate Director, who must not at the time be serving as a member of the Committee. When the Graduate Director is also a member of the committee,then another member of the Graduate faculty, appointed by the Dept. Chair, should serve as the negotiator between the student and the committee member. The student must complete a "Change of Advisor" form, which may be obtained from the Graduate Secretary. Once a defense date is set, there can be no changes of committee members and/or major advisor.

Dissertation/Monograph Philosophy:
The Dissertation is an original and definitive empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field of African American Studies. It should add to the knowledge of one or more areas either by uncovering new information, providing an innovative synthesis of existing information, propounding a new theory, fine-tuning an existing theory, or offering a new interpretation substantiated by data. The length of the dissertation varies but should be in excess of 150 pages.

Philosophy of the Proposal:
The formal research proposal, usually at least 30 pages long, presents a plan for increasing the knowledge base in the discipline. The student will work in concert with the Dissertation Committee Chair to fine-tune the proposal. With the Dissertation Chair's approval, the proposal is submitted to the other committee members who make suggestions for changes. When the entire committee is satisfied with the proposal, the student will make an oral presentation and defend the proposal, where other suggestions to strengthen the proposal can be made. After a successful oral defense and submission of the proposal along with the Proposal Transmittal form to the Graduate School, the student is raised to candidacy.

Criterion for Passing the Dissertation and the Defense:
Once the Doctoral Advisory Committee Chair is satisfied with the dissertation draft, s/he will advise the student to distribute it to the other members of the committee. When the entire Committee is satisfied with the draft, the student and chair will decide upon an examination date. At the conclusion of the dissertation defense, the committee may recommend either that the candidate passes or fails. After the student passes the dissertation defense, certification forms are signed by the Committee members and forwarded to the Graduate School. Failure may call for substantial revisions and a new defense.

Dissertation Defense Scheduling:
Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their Dissertation Advisory Committee and register with the Graduate Secretary who will arrange for the room, prepare the appropriate forms, send copies of the announcement to the Graduate School and DAAS Graduate Faculty and post the announcement on public bulletin boards.

Announcing the Dissertation Defense:
Every dissertation defense must be publicly announced in writing at least 10 working days prior to the defense and must be open to the academic community. The Graduate Secretary will send copies of the announcement to the Graduate School, DAAS Graduate faculty and post the announcement on public bulletin boards.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Department of African American Studies
810 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Department Contacts:


Helen Grey-Harley

Graduate Secretary

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 philosophy is that the specific historical experiences of a people must be the central axis guiding and informing any effective analysis and interpretation of that people's past, present and future. Our graduate program is informed, in considerable measure, 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. It is the goal of the Department that graduates of our Ph.D. program be prepared to engage in a diverse range of intellectual issues that affect the lives of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

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. Students are able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Department of African American Studies
810 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Berks Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Interdisciplinary Study:

Advisors may encourage a student to take at least one course outside DAAS to enhance his/her research agenda. A student must receive prior approval from his or her major advisor for any courses taken outside the Department which he or she wishes to use to fulfill DAAS requirements. However, for his or her own personal and intellectual enrichment, a student may take as many external courses as he or she wishes.


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; 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; American Anthropological Association.

Study Abroad:

The Department of African American Studies offers study abroad in the Temple University Ghana Program. Graduate students may complete a maximum of 6 credit hours in the program.


Not applicable.


This degree program is accredited by the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS).

Areas of Specialization:

Applicants to the Ph.D. program should have a clearly articulated research interest that fits within the department's faculty expertise. African American Studies is a discipline that draws from diverse academic fields. Most research areas fall into two general categories: cultural aesthetic and social behavioral. The cultural aesthetic focus engages interests in the humanities--particularly history, literature and the performing arts. The study of society from a social and behavioral standpoint comprises the social behavioral focus. These are issues that may be addressed under the broad domains of sociology, political science, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, etc. 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, Linguistics, Rhetoric and Composition, African American Psychology, Research Methods, Popular Culture, and Ethnographic Methods.

Job Placement:

Graduates of the Ph.D. program in African American Studies generally find employment based on their area of concentration in one or more of the following areas: education: public and private high school administration, college and university administration, and college and university academic departments; social work; public relations; journalism; criminal justice; non-profit organizations; local, state, and federal government; and entertainment industries.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students who desire to take courses at the Ph.D. level in the Department of African American Studies (DAAS) must first submit an academic transcript to the Graduate Director of the DAAS for review. The prospective non-matriculated student will receive a letter stating whether or not he/she has been approved to take courses in DAAS. Upon approval, the student must register through Continuing Education. A maximum of 9 credits may be applied towards a degree if the student later matriculates. Continuiung Education students may not register for AAS 790 [Independent Study].

Financing Opportunities

The department offers a limited number of Teaching 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. The deadline for applications is normally January 15 for the Fall semester. A continuing Ph.D. 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.