Walsh School of Foreign Service

Graduate Certificate Requirements

Georgetown University acknowledges the importance of Africa and is committed to addressing graduate student interest in the study of the continent. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies forms a vital part of this commitment and serves an important intellectual function on our campus.

Various programs across the University allow students to study discrete topics on Africa—economic development, governance, humanitarian emergencies, business and investment, health, technology, energy and the environment, and security. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies is designed to facilitate a fuller understanding of the continent, beyond narrow disciplinary lenses and various “crisis narratives.” The Graduate Certificate in African Studies enables graduate students interested in specializing in Africa to demonstrate a regional or functional specialization in Africa, both to pursue intellectual interests and to attain qualifications for post-graduate careers or study.

Georgetown’s African Studies Program is uniquely positioned to bridge this gap between disciplinary specialists and Africa specialists and thus contribute to training the next generation of diplomats, businesspeople, activists and policymakers and PVO leaders in a way that will help them more effectively engage with the African continent.

The African Studies Graduate Certificate is awarded to individuals already admitted to a Georgetown University graduate program who have completed the relevant requirements.

Core Curriculum

The Graduate Certificate aims to meet the needs of a broad, multi-disciplinary constituency.

Certificate requirements:

One of the five courses must be the required Gateway Course: Theory and Policy in Africa(AFSP5659).  The Gateway Course must be taken in the spring semester of the student’s last semester at Georgetown. Please note enrollment to this course is restricted to those students enrolled in the certificate. Focusing on both theory and policy with respect to the major issues that confront Africa, this course builds upon traditional disciplinary offerings but goes beyond them to explore and integrate with professional and practitioner-oriented studies in these other fields. This course also offers the opportunity to bring together in a classroom setting the certificate students across different graduate programs.

The four other required courses are electives, which students will choose in consultation with the Certificate Program Director/Assistant Director. Together, the student and Director/Assistant director will design an individualized curriculum that both addresses the student’s specific interests and ensures disciplinary and thematic breadth to their study of Africa. Candidates are expected to choose among graduate-level courses; “over/under” courses will be considered only on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Certificate Program Director/Assistant Director and the student’s graduate program advisor. These courses will fit within the required coursework of the student’s MA/MS program. There is no thesis requirement. Under no circumstances may over/under courses constitute more than two of the five required courses.

Language Proficiency

Proficiency  in a language relevant to the African continent and/or field of study. Students may fulfill the language requirement by completing at least beginner level (one year)  in any relevant language plus one year of study of an indigenous African language.

Candidates must demonstrate proficiency by one of the following:

Language Opportunities at Georgetown

The African Studies program offers Swahili courses at a various levels. Check our course listing for more information.  (new window)

Additionally, you have the opportunity to study Swahili during our summer in Tanzania study abroad program. Learn more about the program here.  (new window)

Language Opportunities at Howard University

As part of the Washington Metropolitan Area Consortium of Universities you have the opportunity to take course at any of the partner Universities. Click here to learn more about the Washington Consortium. (new window)

Howard University is one of the consortium universities that offers a wealth of African languages. Please visit this website to learn more.  (new window)

How to join the Program

The Certificate is open to any graduate student who had already been admitted to a Georgetown University graduate program. Please complete the African Studies Certificate interest form here.