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PhD Minor in African Studies

The African Studies program offers the Ph.D. Minor to students in the following fields: anthropology, archaeology, comparative literature, economics, English, education, fine arts, folklore, French, geography, history, instructional systems technology, journalism, law, linguistics, political science, public and environmental affairs, sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese.

Students selecting African studies as a minor should report to the Program office (Woodburn Hall 221) as soon as possible after arriving on campus. The program director and staff will assist with orientation concerning courses, faculty, and students.

Course Requirements

Students minoring in African studies must complete AFRI-A732 Bibliography of Sub-Saharan Africa (to be taken, if possible, during the first year) and four other graduate-level courses in African studies outside their major field. The courses should be at least two different disciplines; must be taught by an African Studies Program affiliated faculty member; and must be approved by the Program director.

The African studies Interdisciplinary Seminar AFRI-A731 may be taken twice for a total of six credits but variable credit is only allowed in addition to having taken it once as a three-credit seminar. One language course in the third year of study, or higher, may be counted toward the Minor.

The program strongly recommends that Ph.D. candidates who minor in African Studies take two years of an African language in addition to their course work for the minor. Serious scholars of Africa are proficient in at least one African language. Moreover, language proficiency improves opportunities for fieldwork and funding; in fact it is a requirement for important overseas study grants (e.g., SSRC and Fulbright-Hays awards).

Students preparing a minor in African Studies and a minor in another field may double-count only one course. Students with special qualifications or previous course work at leading institutions may petition the Graduate Affairs Committee to give credit for work that is comparable to specific courses at Indiana University. Petitions must include a formal letter of request from the candidate, as well as a syllabus from the course in question. The materials should be submitted to the Chair of the Graduate Affairs Committee or the Director of the African Studies Program. The requirements stated above constitute a minimum level of expectation.


Although a 3.7 grade point average in African studies courses would normally exempt the student from having to take a written comprehensive examination, the decision in this matter rests with the student’s major-field advisor and the faculty member representing African studies as the minor-field advisor. Certifying that the student has met the minimum requirements rests with a faculty member in the African Studies Program who is not in the student’s major department.