Ph.D. in African Languages and Literature
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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. in other departments may obtain a minor in African Languages and Literature.
Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress
All Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program requirements are outlined below.
1. M.A. in African Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison or a M.A. thesis waiver
2. One year's study of an African language beyond second year level. Students may petition for an exemption if they have an equivalent level of proficiency in an African language.
3. Four graduate-level courses: in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Thesis Committee chair, each student is expected to define an area of focus within African Cultural Studies, e.g., literature, music, film, critical applied linguistics, drama, critical theory, diaspora studies, new media. Within that area of study, students will take:
- Two graduate seminars
- Two additional courses to be chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or the Thesis Committee chair
4. One additional course in a language relevant to the student’s doctoral research and/or geographic area of focus, other than English. The language must be chosen in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.
5. Completion of a Ph.D. Minor
- Written Preliminary Exam
- Dissertation Proposal
- Oral Defense
Admission to Candidacy
Official admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree occurs when the student has (a) passed the preliminary examinations, and (b) defended his/her dissertation proposal.
Advisor and Committee Requirements
Doctoral students are required to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies and/or another faculty member who has agreed to chair their Dissertation 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.
See our FAQs.
Current graduate students, see useful deadlines.
For more information about applying, see our Graduate Applications page.