Walsh School of Foreign Service

Undergraduate Certificate Requirements

Undergraduate certificate requirements:

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.

Please click here to complete the Undergraduate Certificate interest form. (new window)

Core Courses

Students must successfully complete the following four required courses:


Students complete at least two elective courses. Courses include, but are not limited to (see African Studies Assistant Director for complete course listing):

Capstone Course

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.

Click here to apply for the Senior Thesis Seminar (new window)

Language Proficiency

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:

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 student who had already been admitted to a Georgetown University undergraduate program. Please complete the African Studies Certificate interest form here (new window).