Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
AAAS 8002African Civilizations3
AAAS 8004Theories and Methods in African American Studies3
AAAS 8009The Afrocentric Paradigm3
Total Credit Hours30

Culminating Events:
Students have the option of completing the program with either a written comprehensive examination or a thesis.

Comprehensive Examination:
The comprehensive examination is intended to probe the student's knowledge of content, literature, theory/methodology and methods in Africology and 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. Students may not use a computer or any other electronic device for the examination unless there is a documented medical necessity.

The MA comprehensive exam covers the content, theories and paradigms of the discipline and/or relevant coursework that students may have taken. Students must take the comprehensive exam after completing all required coursework. 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.

The comprehensive examination is offered twice a year: the first week of April and the first week of November. The hours of the exam are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student must schedule their examination with the Graduate Secretary after consultation with their advisor at least one month in advance of the exam date. In order to arrange an examination date, the student must be sure that their record is free of encumbrances that would prevent them from meeting University requirements for taking the examination. In addition, the student intending to take the exam must ensure that all of their coursework has been completed in the previous term.

The Examination Committee prepares and administers the student's written MA comprehensive exam. Students are advised to choose an Examination Committee at the beginning of their final term. They should consult with their graduate advisor to select the second member of the committee and set the date for the comprehensive exam. The Examination Committee is composed of two Graduate Faculty from the Department of Africology and African American Studies, one of whom is the major advisor who will write one half of the questions, while the other committee member will provide the remaining questions.

The Examination Committee evaluates the answers. The Graduate Director notifies the student of the comprehensive exam results no later than five weeks after completion of the exam. Based on the quality of the examination results, the Examination Committee may make one of the following determinations:

  1. Pass: The MA student may receive a master's degree when all other departmental and University requirements are met.
  2. Fail: The MA student is not awarded the MA degree, and the student may retake the exam once.
  3. Fail/Termination: The MA student has failed to pass the written examination a second time and is terminated from graduate status in the department.

Students who choose to complete a thesis are given the opportunity to demonstrate specialized knowledge and their ability to do original research in Africana studies. The student must have completed at least 27 hours of coursework, including the core. The student then registers for AAAS 9996 Master's Thesis and completes a Master's Thesis Option form, duly signed by the student and the designated advisor. The student must work with the advisor to produce and successfully defend a thesis on an approved topic. The student then meets the requirements for submission of the approved thesis to the Graduate School, as stipulated in the Final Checklist section of the Dissertation and Thesis Handbook at