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African American & Diasporic Studies Certificate

Admissions Process 

It is expected that students submit their application materials to both DAAS and Rackham by the beginning of the term at which they intend to recieve their certificate from Rackham. DAAS accepts rolling admissions to the certificate progam. 

Advisors and Application
Graduate Students who are interested in applying to this program should contact members of the DAAS Graduate Committee at or the Director of Graduate Studies, Martin Murray at

A total of fifteen credit hours is required for earning the Graduate Certificate. Up to seven of the fifteen credit hours may be for courses required for the student’s degree or for another certificate program; however, credits may not be triple-counted (e.g., the same course cannot simultaneously count towards the degree program, the GCP in DAAS, and another certificate program). Non-Rackham degree programs may have their own rules regulating double counting.

Pro-seminar: AAS 601 (3 Credits)

All GCP students must enroll in the pro-seminar AAS 601, “Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American/Diasporan Studies.” This course is typically offered during the Fall term.  Designed to provide a strong interdisciplinary foundation and familiarize students with a wide-range of methodological approaches, the course introduces students to questions and themes that have shaped and continue to shape the fields of African American and Diasporan Studies.  AAS 601 is taught and graded by one professor, who may invite DAAS colleagues and visiting professors to contribute their particular strengths to cross-disciplinary conversations.  Although different professors teach the course, the syllabus for AAS 601 is reviewed annually by the DAAS Curriculum Committee.

Capstone Research Course: AAS 890 (Independent Study) or AAS 891 (Seminar)

GCP students must also enroll in AAS 890 (Independent Study) or AAS 891 (Seminar). The course enables students to complete a culminating, interdisciplinary research project—such as a dissertation chapter, a prelim, or a Master’s thesis—that is subject to approval by the student’s faculty advisor and the DAAS Graduate Curriculum Committee. Each student in AAS 890/AAS 891 is required to present his or her work in at least one public forum, such as a lecture or a brown-bag. DAAS runs a number of speakers’ series that will facilitate this requirement. Students may also fulfill the requirement by giving a presentation in their primary department or at a conference or symposium hosted by U-M, by another university, or by a recognized academic professional organization. Students must provide appropriate documentation of their public presentations and submit their papers—whether presented at DAAS or elsewhere—to the GCP Program Coordinator for official certification

Breadth Requirement (9 credits total)

In addition to the pro-seminar and AAS 890, all GCP students must complete three more graduate-level courses in African American, Caribbean, or Diasporan Studies. At least one of those three courses must be in a field or discipline clearly outside the student’s primary department.


Students are initially assigned an individual faculty advisor, generally a DAAS faculty member or affiliate. They may request reassignment to an advisor of their choice at any time. Students are encouraged to meet regularly with these advisors as they move through the program. The program also has a designated Graduate Program Coordinator, who is generally the faculty member teaching the pro-seminar. The Coordinator oversees the assignment of students’ individual faculty advisors and handles petitions to have courses approved as part of the breadth requirement.

Past Graduates of an African American Diasporic Studies Certificate

2019 Summer
Crystal Wise

Winter 2019
Aixa Marxhand
Kristal McGreggor
Hayley O'Malley

2018 Summer
Malcolm Tariq

2018 Winter
Jallicia Jolly
Zachary Kopin
Joo Lee

2017 Summer
Garrett Felber
Kyle Grady

2017 Winter
Tatiana Cruz

2015 Fall
Elizabeth Rodrigues

2013 Fall
Timeka Williams

2013 Summer
Paul Farber

2009 Fall
Menna Aklilu Demessie

2008 Winter
Valencia Robin Grice