African Cultural Studies

College of Letters & Science
HomeDegree ProgramsGraduate Programs M.A. in African Languages and Literature (research focus)

M.A. in African Languages and Literature (research focus)

Prospective graduate students should note that we are in the process of changing the name of all of our degree programs to "African Cultural Studies," to match the name of our department. Admitted students should expect that their degree will be in African Cultural Studies rather than African Languages and Literature.

The research-focused M.A. program involves four semesters of an African language, 30 total credits of graduate coursework, and a Master's Thesis.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

All M.A. students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress and the African Languages and Literature program requirements published in the Graduate Catalog at the time of matriculation. However, the most basic M.A. program requirements are outlined below. Note that these requirements are different from the M.A. with pedagogy focus.

Degree Requirements

1. Two years' study of an African language. Students may petition for an exemption if they have an equivalent level of proficiency in an African language.

2. 30 additional credits with no grade below B in coursework, including: 

  • African 700: Reading and Writing African Cultural Studies (3 credits)
  • African 803: Theories of African Cultural Studies (3 credits)
  • Two seminars at the 900-level (6 credits)
  • 6 elective courses chosen in consultation with the Graduate Advisor (18 credits)

3.  Master's Thesis 

Required Assessments and Examinations

The M.A. candidate must establish a Thesis Committee no later than the beginning of the fourth semester, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and all potential committee members, consisting of no fewer than two faculty members of the Department of African Cultural Studies and one additional faculty member. The candidate must provide his or her initial thesis proposal to this committee at least two weeks prior to the proposal defense.

Thesis Proposal Procedure

The M.A. thesis proposal shall be approved by the candidate's thesis committee no later than four semesters after the candidate first enrolls in the program. Candidates are encouraged to complete the proposal process during their first year. The M.A. candidate must establish a degree committee, in consultation with his or her advisor and all potential committee members, consisting of no fewer than two faculty members of the Department of African Cultural Studies and one additional faculty member.

The candidate must provide his or her initial proposal to this Thesis Committee at least two weeks prior to the first meeting of this committee. The Thesis Committee must meet together, with the candidate, at least once for the purposes of discussing the merits of the candidate's proposal and of recommending changes. Committee members shall sign and date the proposal when they deem it acceptable. 

Thesis Completion

The M.A. candidate must then complete his or her thesis and successfully defend it before the committee. The committee may require edits based on a successful defense before final approval of the M.A. degree. The thesis, written in consultation with the chair of the Thesis Committee, must be completed no later than two semesters after thesis work begins.

Note: M.A. students who have already completed an M.A. elsewhere may petition for a M.A.thesis waiver to have a prior graduate thesis, along with some or all other African Languages and Literature M.A. degree requirements, considered for approval to move on to the African Languages and Literature Ph.D. program without earning the M.A. degree.

Advisor and Committee Requirements

M.A. students are required to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or another faculty member who has agreed to chair their Thesis Committee every semester prior to enrolling for the next semester. Failure to meet this requirement will result in a hold on the student's enrollment.

Questions?

See our FAQs.

Current graduate students, see useful deadlines.

For more information about applying, see our Graduate Applications page.