Undergraduate Certificate Requirements
Undergraduate certificate requirements:
- A total of 6 courses (18 credit hours): 4 core courses (including a capstone course or a senior seminar thesis) plus 2 electives
- Proficiency in a language relevant to the continent
Students may also fulfill the language requirement by completing at least beginner level in any language in addition to one year of study in an indigenous African language. Study abroad in Africa is strongly encouraged, but not required.
Students must successfully complete the following four required courses:
- History of Africa I or II
Africa I and II offer a better understanding of the diverse and complex histories of various geographical regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and the interaction of African communities with the global economy.
- Africa is People (Previously ANTH-240: African Cultural Modernities)
What is Africa to you? How should Africa be written? How should Africa not be written? These fundamental questions are among other crucial questions informing the direction of this class, where the world’s second largest continent, Africa—humankind’s cradle—will be at the center of our discussions. We will contend with the historical representations of Africa, its peoples, societies and cultures, and what it means to imagine Africa in the contemporary moment. In doing so, we will not just leave at the representation of Africa as a geographic tragedy but as a complex space that has long teemed with a “human vibrancy” that enabled the peopling of the world.
- African Politics and Government
This course focuses on the diversity and the complexity of African politics across the continent. We contextualize the study of African politics within broader themes of democracy and development by focusing on similarities and differences among the countries and across various themes. Special consideration is given to public opinion in Africa and what it tells us about political preferences, political organizing and the future of democracy.
- African Studies Capstone Course or Senior Thesis SeminarThe capstone is only offered during the spring semester and must be taken on the last semester of study at Georgetown.
Students complete at least two elective courses. Courses include, but are not limited to (see African Studies Assistant Director for complete course listing):
- African Cultures in the Americas
- Memory and Orality in African Literature
- African Self-Perceptions
- History of Southern Africa
- African Societies after Slavery
- Culture and Politics of African Cities
- History of Islam in Africa
- Beginners Swahili I
- Beginners Swahili II
- Intermediate Swahili I
- Intermediate Swahili II
- Peace & Conflict in East Africa
- US-African Relations
- Africa, Religious Organization and Experience
- Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Africa, Politics and Business in Developing Countries
- African Military Conflict and Resolution
- African Political Economy
- African Development
- African Culture and Foreign Policy
- African Politics and the Novel
- Financing Development in Africa
- AIDS In Africa
- Natural Resources: Africa & Me
- Women and Politics in Africa
The Capstone Course allows students to receive a certificate in African Studies by completing a 15-20 page research paper, in a small-group tutorial setting.
This course explores the representations of Africa and African peoples from various perspectives, focusing primarily on literature and film. The course provides a context for thinking about the totality of your study of Africa at Georgetown, offering you the opportunity to reflect on distinctly African themes, but in the context of your major field of study. It is structured so as to be a thoughtful conclusion to your undergraduate study and a bridge to your future work and study. Students view at least one film per week; complete a variety of readings of works of fiction by African authors; as well as complete an in-depth research study on a topic related to their major or concentration. The outstanding paper each year receives the Mopani Award, which is presented at the African Studies Program as part of Commencement Weekend.
Senior Thesis Seminar
Students with a GPA of at least 3.2 overall and 3.4 in African Studies courses can apply for the Senior Thesis Seminar. The senior thesis is a unique opportunity that allows students to explore and research a topic of their own choosing. The thesis also affords a one-on-one tutorial experience, and the ability to develop arguments and apply theories and methodologies that you have learned in previous courses.
Thesis applicants are required to have a strong academic record, good writing skills, and a well-thought out proposal. Students select a faculty member as their thesis advisor, who serve as a second reader and provide guidance throughout the semester. Upon completion, seniors will make a formal presentation of their research at the annual Senior Thesis Colloquium held in late April. The most outstanding paper each year is awarded with the Africa Prize, which is presented at the Tropaia Ceremony of SFS.
Proficiency in a language relevant to the African continent and/or field of study that is equivalent to two years 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.
Students must demonstrate proficiency by one of the following:
- Successful completion, with a grade of B or higher, of two years of the language during at the undergraduate level
- A specified grade of proficiency in U.S. government language testing
- Passing a proficiency test offered at Georgetown
Language Opportunities at Georgetown
The African Studies program offers Swahili courses at a various levels. Check our course listing for more information.
Additionally, you have the opportunity to study Swahili during our summer in Tanzania study abroad program. Learn more about the program here.
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.
Howard University is one of the consortium universities that offers a wealth of African languages. Please visit this website to learn more.
How to join the Program
The Certificate is open to any student who had already been admitted to a Georgetown University undergraduate program. Please complete the African Studies Certificate interest form here.