Learn more about the Master of Arts in Africology and African American Studies.

About the Program

The mission of the Department of Africology and African American Studies is to provide an intellectual arena in which students learn to critically examine, analyze and interpret the experiences, traditions and dynamics of people of African descent. The department's undergirding philosophy is that the specific historical experiences of a people must be the central axis guiding and informing any effective analysis and interpretation of that people's past, present and future.

Our graduate program is informed by the Afrocentric paradigm in relation to other perspectives in Africana studies. The program reflects a deeply ingrained commitment to the self-directed study of African peoples and has benefited from a variety of conceptual and political inputs from diverse, but fully committed, faculty participation as well as invaluable contributions from the community.

The MA program seeks to answer the personal and intellectual aspirations of the student and the particular needs of society that are not satisfied by a baccalaureate degree. Thus, the MA provides more specialized study in Africology and African American Studies than the BA or BS degree and often serves as the terminal degree. It is the goal of the department that graduates with an MA in Africology and African American Studies be prepared to engage in a diverse range of intellectual issues that affect the lives of Africans on the continent and in the diaspora. The MA also serves as a strong foundation for those who intend to apply to the PhD program.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The degree program can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.

Interdisciplinary Study: Although the program is firmly grounded in the Afrocentric paradigm, students may be encouraged or required by their advisors to take courses in other departments in order to enhance or supplement their program of study.

Affiliation(s): ): Faculty are affiliated with a variety of professional organizations such as the African Heritage Studies Association (AHSA); African Literature Association; African Studies Association (ASA); American Anthropological Association (AAA); Association of Black Women Historians (ABWH); Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH); Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC); Black History Advisory Committee of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; Caribbean Studies Association (CSA); College Language Association (CLA); Haitian Studies Association (HSA); Modern Language Association (MLA); National Council for Black Studies (NCBS); Pennsylvania Humanities Council; TESOL International Association; and Temple University's Young Scholars Program.

Study Abroad: The department offers study abroad in the Temple University Ghana program. A maximum of 6 credits may be applied toward the master's degree.

Accreditation: This program is accredited by the National Council for Black Studies.

Areas of Specialization: Faculty specialize, offer substantial coursework, and mentor in a variety of areas, including:

  • African and African American History
  • African and African American Literature
  • African American Drama
  • African American Homeschooling
  • African American Psychology
  • African Civilizations
  • African Languages
  • African Spiritual Systems
  • Afrocentric Education
  • Afrocentric Theory
  • Caribbean Culture and History
  • Cultural Studies
  • Ethnographic Methods
  • Gender Studies
  • Linguistics
  • Mass Media
  • Narrative Tradition
  • Popular Culture
  • Research Methods
  • Social and Political Thought

Job Prospects: Graduates of the MA program in Africology and African American Studies find employment in a variety of public and private sector areas, including arts and humanities, business, social services and teaching. Many secondary school teachers desire to enhance their skills by obtaining an MA degree in Africology and African American Studies.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: A non-matriculated student may take a maximum of 9 credits in the department. Those credits may be applied to the degree if the student applies and is admitted to the degree program. Non-matriculated students may not take AAAS 9982 Individual Research in African American Studies.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15
Spring: November 1

Applications for admission are processed together shortly after the deadline date.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation are preferred from college/university professors who have taught or worked with the applicant in their major or minor area of concentration.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: An applicant is expected to have a sound academic background in Africology and African American Studies.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of the appropriate baccalaureate degree at Temple University.

Statement of Goals: In approximately 500 to 1,000 words, share your specific interest in Temple's Department of Africology and African American Studies; your research goals as they relate to Africology and African American Studies and to the social relevance of the discipline; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Optional. Scores may be submitted if available.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • IELTS Academic: 7.0
  • PTE Academic: 68

Resume: Current resume required.

Interview: An interview may be required.

Writing Sample: The writing sample should demonstrate the student's ability to conduct research and to write a scholarly paper relevant to the discipline. The paper should be no more than 20 pages in length and fully referenced according to a professional, scholarly style manual.

Transfer Credit: During the first term of enrollment at Temple, incoming graduate students may apply to have graduate credits taken at other accredited institutions count toward completion of the degree. Grades of transfer courses must be "B" or better. After consultation with and approval of the advisor, the student must submit to the Graduate Committee:

  1. a letter specifying the course(s) the student wishes to have considered for credit toward the MA or PhD as well as the corresponding Temple course related to the transfer course; and
  2. supporting documents (i.e., syllabi, course descriptions from college catalogs, a letter from the transfer course instructor or department) showing the overlap by which the course covers material from Temple courses.

The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 30

Required Courses:

Core Courses
AAAS 8002African Civilizations3
AAAS 8004Theories and Methods in African American Studies3
AAAS 8009The Afrocentric Paradigm3
Total Credit Hours30

Culminating Events:
Students have the option of completing the program with either a written comprehensive examination or a thesis.

Comprehensive Examination:
The comprehensive examination is intended to probe the student's knowledge of content, literature, theory/methodology and methods in Africology and African American Studies and to test the student's ability to apply theoretical issues to praxis. It is a proctored, closed book, 6-hour written examination. Students may not use a computer or any other electronic device for the examination unless there is a documented medical necessity.

The MA comprehensive exam covers the content, theories and paradigms of the discipline and/or relevant coursework that students may have taken. Students must take the comprehensive exam after completing all required coursework. The student must answer every question on the examination in order to be evaluated. The evaluators look for content mastery and coherent application of the discipline's theories and paradigms.

The comprehensive examination is offered twice a year: the first week of April and the first week of November. The hours of the exam are from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student must schedule their examination with the Graduate Secretary after consultation with their advisor at least one month in advance of the exam date. In order to arrange an examination date, the student must be sure that their record is free of encumbrances that would prevent them from meeting University requirements for taking the examination. In addition, the student intending to take the exam must ensure that all of their coursework has been completed in the previous term.

The Examination Committee prepares and administers the student's written MA comprehensive exam. Students are advised to choose an Examination Committee at the beginning of their final term. They should consult with their graduate advisor to select the second member of the committee and set the date for the comprehensive exam. The Examination Committee is composed of two Graduate Faculty from the Department of Africology and African American Studies, one of whom is the major advisor who will write one half of the questions, while the other committee member will provide the remaining questions.

The Examination Committee evaluates the answers. The Graduate Director notifies the student of the comprehensive exam results no later than five weeks after completion of the exam. Based on the quality of the examination results, the Examination Committee may make one of the following determinations:

  1. Pass: The MA student may receive a master's degree when all other departmental and University requirements are met.
  2. Fail: The MA student is not awarded the MA degree, and the student may retake the exam once.
  3. Fail/Termination: The MA student has failed to pass the written examination a second time and is terminated from graduate status in the department.

Students who choose to complete a thesis are given the opportunity to demonstrate specialized knowledge and their ability to do original research in Africana studies. The student must have completed at least 27 hours of coursework, including the core. The student then registers for AAAS 9996 Master's Thesis and completes a Master's Thesis Option form, duly signed by the student and the designated advisor. The student must work with the advisor to produce and successfully defend a thesis on an approved topic. The student then meets the requirements for submission of the approved thesis to the Graduate School, as stipulated in the Final Checklist section of the Dissertation and Thesis Handbook at


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Africology and African American Studies

808 Gladfelter Hall

1115 W. Polett Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6089


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


Admissions Coordinator


Department Coordinator:

Linda Wyatt

808 Gladfelter Hall


Manager of Administration:

TJ Cusack

910 Gladfelter Hall


Director of Graduate Studies:

Nilgun Anadolu-Okur, PhD


826 Gladfelter Hall



Ama Mazama, PhD


809 Gladfelter Hall