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.
The Graduate Certificate aims to meet the needs of a broad, multi-disciplinary constituency. The certificate requires five courses (15 credits), plus a language proficiency. These courses will fit within the required coursework of the student’s MA/MS program. There is no thesis requirement.
One of the five courses must be the required Gateway Course (Theory and Policy in Africa) taught annually in the Spring Semester. 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. Together, the student and 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 director and the student’s graduate program advisor. Under no circumstances may over/under courses constitute more than two of the five required courses.
The language proficiency requirement demands at least two years of study, or demonstrated competency, in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Swahili or another African language. Candidates must demonstrate proficiency by one of the following:
- successful completion, with a grade of B or higher, of two years of the language at Georgetown;
- a specified grade of proficiency in U.S. government language testing;
- passing a proficiency test offered at Georgetown; or
- successful completion of other test approved by the Director.
Apply for Candidacy
The Certificate will be available to individuals already admitted to a Georgetown University graduate program. Students who wish to declare candidacy for the Certificate must indicate their interest no later than the end of the first year of their graduate program. The application can be found here.