African Studies (Ph.D.)

African Studies (Ph.D.) | Graduate

Drawing from discourses across multiple disciplines, our program deepens scholarly inquiry about Africa and African-descended people on the African continent, in the U.S., and across the Diaspora, examining issues across historical, sociocultural, political, institutional, transnational, and economic contexts. We prepare graduates for diverse academic and research careers.

The Ph.D. in African Studies at Howard's Graduate School promotes rigorous interdisciplinary scholarship on critical issues pertaining to African-descended people on the African continent, in the United States, and across the Diaspora. The Ph.D. program in African Studies prepares students for academic careers in a wide range of fields, including but not limited to public policy and advocacy, public administration, cultural studies, communications, international development, international business, education, history, religious studies, transatlantic studies, and sociology. The program also prepares students for careers in research-related fields in the private, public, or non-profit sectors demanding specialized knowledge of the African diaspora. Drawing from discourses across multiple disciplines, the Ph.D. program in African Studies emphasizes critical theoretical frameworks and mixed methodological approaches that deepen scholarly inquiry about Africa and African-descended people across historical, sociocultural, political, transnational, and economic contexts. As a doctoral student in African Studies, you may choose from three distinct fields of specialization: Development and public policy; Africa in world affairs; and language, literature, and the arts. You'll benefit from Howard’s premier location in Washington, D.C., where you can access a large network of top-ranked and nationally recognized consulting firms, research institutions, foundations, and multilateral nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations shaping the future of Africa. Our graduate faculty are engaged in cross-cutting research on Africa across disciplines in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

Program Snapshot

      ❱  48 credit hours 

      ❱  Full-time

      ❱  On-campus format

      ❱  Degree: Ph.D.

Application Deadlines

Spring 2024 entry: 

      ❱  Nov. 1, 2023 (final deadline)

Fall 2024 entry: 

      ❱  Dec. 1, 2023 (early deadline)

      ❱  Feb. 15, 2024 (priority deadline)

      ❱  Apr. 15, 2024 (final deadline)

Applicants should submit their applications as early as possible for earlier consideration of departmental funding opportunities. Applicants have until the final deadline to apply. However, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the admissions cycle. 


Dr. Msia Clark

Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Mohamed Camara

Department Chair

Program Details

  • Degree Classification: Graduate
  • Related Degrees: Ph.D.

Admission Requirements

Application for Admission

  • Online GradCAS application
  • Statement of purpose/ Statement of academic interest (500-1,000 words)
  • GRE scores not required
  • Official transcripts sent to GradCAS
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Master's degree from an accredited college or university or the international equivalent 
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Autobiographical statement (500-750 words)
  • Critical/scholarly writing sample (This can be an article published in a scholarly publication or a chapter from your MA thesis)

GRE Required?

  • No

GRE Preferred Minimums

  • GRE Verbal Reasoning: N/A
  • GRE Quantitative Reasoning: N/A
  • GRE Analytical Writing: N/A

GPA Required Minimums

  • Overall GPA minimum: 3.5
  • Undergrad GPA minimum: 3.0

Reference Requirements

Evaluator type accepted:

  • Professor (Required)
  • Supervisor/Manager
  • Coworker
  • Clergy
  • Other

Evaluator type not accepted:

  • Friend
  • Family Member

Personal Statement Guidance 

Your Statement of purpose/ statement of academic interest should provide an overview of your research interests in African Studies and should include information on any area/s of special interest within African Studies. The statement should also outline your previous coursework or experience in African Studies and career plans in the field of African Studies.