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African Studies Certificate

Participation in the Certificate Program

Graduate students interested in participating in the Graduate Certificate program and submitting application materials should contact the DAAS Graduate Certificate Coordinator at


Admissions Process 

DAAS accepts rolling admissions to the certificate program. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in their graduate program, but Rackham requires that students wait to enroll until they have completed one full term of graduate study at U of M.

Graduate Students who are interested in applying to this program should contact members of the DAAS Graduate Committee at


Application Materials 

Materials to be submitted to the appropriate online application:

  1. A letter of application (300-600 words) explaining your interest in the Certificate Program and your background in African Studies
  2. A Photocopy of your latest UM transcript
  3. A letter of support from your advisor
  4. A list of proposed courses that will fulfill the Program requirements



Course Requirements

A total of fifteen credit hours is required for earning the Graduate Certificate, including two required DAAS courses (Pro-seminar and Capstone). Up to seven of the fifteen credit hours may be for courses required for the student’s degree; 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. Students should consult with their advisor regarding which courses can be approved and which can be double-counted.


AAS 600: Pro-seminar on Interdisciplinary Approaches to African Studies (3 Credits)

All GCP students intending to obtain a graduate certificate in African Studies must enroll in the pro-seminar AAS 600. The course introduces students to a cluster of traditional and current topical questions in the field of African Studies, and it explores the various interdisciplinary approaches that can be used to address them. The course is designed to provide a strong interdisciplinary foundation and familiarize students with a wide range of methodological approaches. The Professor offering AAS 600 may invite DAAS colleagues and visiting professors to contribute their particular strengths to cross-disciplinary conversations. This course is generally offered in the Winter term.


Capstone Research Course: AAS 892 Seminar (3 credits) or AAS 890 Independent Study (3 credits)

All GCP students intending to obtain a graduate certificate in African Studies must enroll in AAS 892 (Capstone Seminar) or AAS 890 (Independent Study). Each student is expected 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. That is subject to approval by the student’s faculty advisor and the DAAS Graduate Curriculum Committee. This research paper should reflect an interdisciplinary or cross-regional perspective. As part of the Capstone requirement, the student must present the work in at least one public forum, such as a formal presentation. DAAS usually organizes a number of speakers’ series that can 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 or Director of Graduate Studies for official certification.

Winter 2021 - AAS 892 “Capstone Research Course: African Studies”

with Professor Kelly Askew

This seminar fulfills the capstone requirement for the DAAS Graduate Certificate in African Studies, and for the Master’s in International and Regional Studies (MIRS) African Studies specialization. Students work on independent research projects that can form the basis of a master's thesis, dissertation chapter, analysis of a practicum experience, or publishable article with a focus in African Studies. Weekly readings will center on theoretical and methodological issues deemed relevant to the projects pursued by seminar participants. We will collectively devise the reading list after the initial seminar session.


Breadth Requirement (9 credits total)

In addition to the pro-seminar and the Capstone requirements, all students must complete three additional graduate-level courses in African Studies. At least one of those three courses must be in a field or discipline clearly outside the student’s primary department. All credit hours beyond the pro-seminars and the Capstone requirements must include approved graduate-level courses. All credit hours beyond the pro-seminars and the Capstone requirements must include approved graduate-level courses.



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 their advisor as they move through the program. The program also has a designated Graduate Program Coordinator, who is generally the faculty member offering 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 Studies Certificate

Past students who have received African Studies Certificates

Winter 2020
Timnet Gedar
Amanda Ndaw

Fall 2019
David Suell

2019 Winter
Colleen Hill

2018 Fall
Marisol Fila

2018 Winter
Julie Buser
Abigail Celis
Thomas O'Mealia

2017 Winter
Amanda Kaminsky
Andrew McIntyre
Claire Poelking

2016 Fall
Jessica Worl

2014 Fall
Amir Sarvestani

2014 Summer
Anna Mester

2014 Winter
Anne Compton
Margaret Czerwienski
Theodore Lawrence
Bristol Mann
Baruani Mshale
George Njung
Erin O'Brien
Cara Steger
Jennifer Williams

2013 Summer
Lisa Fouladbash
Doreen Kembabazi
Mamadou Moustapha Ly

2013 Winter
Johannes Norling

2012 Winter
Cameron Gokee
Menan Jangu
Amanda Logan
Elizabeth Renckens
Trinity Pierce

2011 Fall
Walker DePuy

2009 Summer
Cristy Watkins