Major in African Studies

Requirements for the Major

A total of nine courses are required, of which six must be courses with wholly African content, totaling a minimum of twenty-seven credit hours. The remaining three courses may be courses that feature a theoretical or thematic focus with 1/3 to 1/2 African content as case studies or other examples. A minimum of four courses must be at the 300 or 400 level. Students are encouraged to strengthen their work in the major by participating in study or research abroad through one of Emory's approved programs in Africa. Courses taken as part of study abroad that meet the above content requirements are accepted, with the approval of the Director of African Studies, as credit for the major.

Of the six Africa-focused courses, one must be selected from each of the following three requirements:

Requirement 1: Introductory Courses

  • AFS 221 (HIST 221) The Making of Modern Africa
  • AFS 263 (IDS 263) Introduction to African Studies, OR
  • AFS 280 (ANTH 280) Anthropological Perspectives on Africa, OR
  • AFS 282 (ARTHIST 282) Arts of Africa

These courses fulfill the GER and normally are offered each year.

Requirement 2: Special Topics in African Studies

  • AFS 364 (HIST 364) African Civilizations to the Era of the Slave Trade, OR
  • AFS 367 (HIST 367) The Making of South Africa, OR
  • AFS 389: Special Topics in African Studies (several 389 courses with different topics are usually taught each year)

AFS 364, AFS 367 and AFS 389 are normally offered each year.

Requirement 3: Research Seminar Paper

Before graduating, African Studies majors must complete a project involving a significant writing and research component ranging from 4000 to 5000 words (approx. 16-20 pages). The paper should demonstrate the student's broad, interdisciplinary, and integrated understanding of African contexts; his or her ability to think and write analytically using place-based knowledge and to locate this knowledge in the global world; and to conduct original research using a variety of sources and interdisciplinary training.

Students may fulfill this requirement in the context of an upper-level AFS course or comparable course (including, in some cases, a graduate course) with significant Africa-related content. This course must be taken at Emory University.

Prior to the add/drop deadline in a given semester, students must confirm with the instructor of this course that the research and writing of a major paper will be possible by filling out the Senior Seminar Paper Form. The form needs to be signed by the student, the instructor and returned to the DUS by the add/drop deadline. Three weeks before the end of the semester (or any earlier date required by the instructor), students must submit a rough draft of the paper to their instructor. Within one week, the instructor will return comments on the draft and the student will revise it before final submission. Upon submission, the Completion of Research Seminar Paper form must be signed by the instructor and returned to the DUS by the grade deadline.

Requirement 4: Language Competence

Competence in a language spoken in Africa is essential for an appreciation of the complexities of African societies. It is also an expectation for graduate programs in many disciplines, as well as for professional work in African contexts.  Students are required to demonstrate competence (as a minimum through the 102 level) in a language other than English that is widely used in Africa. However they are strongly urged to continue beyond this level. Emory currently offers three such languages: French, Portuguese and Arabic. We encourage students to study abroad in Africa and take a course in an African language there. Students who already know an African language may petition to demonstrate competence through testing.

Students who take language courses during a study abroad in Africa may request that these courses count toward their language competence.

Satisfying Major Requirements during Study Abroad

Students are strongly encouraged to strengthen their work in African Studies by participating in study or research abroad through one of Emory's approved programs in Africa. Currently, Emory College Study Abroad programs include opportunities in Ghana, Morocco, Rwanda, Namibia/Botswana, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Please visit the Emory College Study Abroad website for more information.

Up to a total of four regular courses (12-16 credit hours) may be earned toward the major in study abroad programs. African language courses taken during study abroad can also count toward your language competency requirement.

Prior to beginning a study abroad program, students must contact the Director or DUS to seek approval of courses to be taken and counted towards the African Studies major. Students should be prepared to provide a syllabus for any courses to be counted toward the major. Many courses offered abroad count as AFS special topics courses, but please note that only internships that satisfy Emory College guidelines.

Departmental Graduation Procedures

By the university deadline for application for graduation, graduating seniors should turn into the DUS the Checklist of Major Requirements signed by both the student and the advisor.