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Joint Master of Arts in African Studies and Master of Public Affairs

Academic programs in African Studies continue to grow, with a corresponding need for scholars in Public Affairs who have knowledge and research experience in the humanities, social science, policy, and management aspects of this field. The African Studies Program (School of Global and International Studies / College of Arts and Sciences) and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs offer a three-year program that qualifies students for a joint master’s degree (M.A./M.P.A.). The degree program requires completion of a minimum of 62 credit hours of graduate course work. Students will be assigned a mentor from each unit.

Admissions Requirements

Same as for the Master of Arts in African Studies degree, except that students must also apply for admisson to the master's programs in Public Affairs, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and meet its established admissions criteria. Students must be accepted by both units in order to be admitted to the program.

African Studies Course Requirements

Students must complete at least 26 hours of required and elective coursework in African Studies as well as complete a thesis

A. Required Courses (12-15 credit hours):

  • AFRI A731 African Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar (3 credits)
  • AFRI A732 Bibliography of Sub-Saharan Africa (3 credits)
  • AFRI A650 Interdisciplinary Research Methods (3 credits)
  • AFRI A651 Independent Research (up to 6 credits)

B. Elective Courses (12 credit hours)

Students should take elective courses organized around a topical or regional concentration. These courses are to be selected from the range of cross-listed African Studies offerings in the College of Arts and Sciences and several professional schools, with the approval of the student’s major advisor.  Electives may include up to three additional credits of A731 because the topic for the African Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar changes every semester and is offered by different faculty members on a rotating basis.

C. Language Requirement

At least four semesters of an African language.  The credits accrued for the four semesters of language study are not counted toward the total credits required for the degree.  Students who continue their language study to the advanced level may count up to three credits of study beyond the second year toward the elective requirement.  

Students may have the four semester language requirement waived by demonstrating equivalent competence through an examination.

SPEA Course Requirements

The core requirements for the MPA and a specialized SPEA concentration (36 credit hours) to include:

A. MPA Foundation Courses (18 credits):

  • SPEA V502 Public Management (3 credits)
  • SPEA V506 Statistical Analysis for Effective Decision Making (3 credits)
  • SPEA V517 Public Management Economics (3 credits)
  • SPEA V540 Law and Public Affairs (3 credits)
  • SPEA V560 Public Finance and Budgeting (3 credits)
  • SPEA V600 Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs (3 credits)

B. Specialized Area Studies Students may design and develop a program of specialization courses in consultation with SPEA faculty advisors (18 credits)

Master’s Committee and Thesis or Project

Students are required to constitute a committee consisting of three persons with relevant Africa and topical expertise. African Studies and SPEA should be represented on the committee.
Students have the option of writing a thesis or doing a project in accordance with the guidelines provided on the Master of Arts in African Studies page. There is no M.A. examination option.

The African Studies and SPEA degrees must be awarded simultaneously.