Two fishing boats in the lagoon at Nyali Beach, Mombasa

Graduate Programs

Doctoral Program

The PhD program involves at least one year advanced study of an African language, study of at least one additional language related to intended research, required coursework, a preliminary exam prior to achieving Dissertator status, and a doctorate-level dissertation. Students who are pursuing a PhD in other departments may obtain a minor in African Cultural Studies.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

All PhD students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress and the African Cultural Studies requirements published in the Guide at the time of matriculation.

Degree Requirements                    Department Policies

Please note this additional requirement:

Coursework statement: Doctoral students must submit a short statement (2-3 pages) at the end of their third semester, discussing how the courses that they have taken so far, as well as those that they plan to take in the future semester(s), relate to their area of focus and inform their dissertation research and their envisioned career path. The statement should be approved by the advisor, then submitted by the advisor at a faculty meeting for feedback.


Doctoral Minor


  • 12 credits in African Cultural Studies at the graduate level, including:
    • African 700: Reading and Writing African Cultural Studies (3 credits)
    • One graduate seminar (3 credits)
    • Two electives chosen in consultation with the Department’s Director of Graduate Studies (6 credits)
  • GPA of 3.5 or better in courses taken for the minor

Please visit the Guide for more information.

African Cultural Studies Student Association

The African Cultural Studies Student Association (ACSSA) provides opportunities for its members to engage in academic and social activities that strengthen their social and intellectual cohesion and enhance the visibility of the Department of African Cultural Studies on campus, across the nation, and around the world.

Membership is open to any graduate student of UW–Madison who is taking, or has taken, a class or classes in the Department of African Cultural Studies.

For more information, please email Angeline Peterson: