Pan-African Studies (PhD)

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Doctor of Philosophy in Pan-African Studies (PAS PHD)
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Pan-African Studies
Program Webpage: louisville.edu/panafricanstudies

Program Information

The PhD program in Pan-African Studies trains professional researchers at the highest level in one or more of the traditional disciplines as well as focusing on two substantive areas: African American or African Diaspora Studies.

The expertise of the present core and affiliated faculty to the Department of Pan-African Studies is spread across African American and African Diaspora history, philosophy, sociology, political science, linguistics, religion, education, social work, literature, law, geography, psychology, art, music, anthropology, women's and gender studies. This amalgam of interdisciplinary subjects makes the department a highly active research and teaching unit that is well positioned to offer a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Pan-African Studies.

The PhD is designed to educate students with the knowledge, analytic abilities, and professional development skills important for both academic and non-academic careers. Since fall of 2012, the program has been open to all students regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual preference, or nationality. Graduates are employable in public and private corporations in areas of education and research, public policy, cultural heritage and public history, programs that deal with human rights and social inequality, economics and trade.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted students must have the following:

  • Advanced competency in research skills, as evidenced by completion of a master's degree thesis or other independent research project, such as a sole-authored research report, published articles in peer-reviewed journals, or edited volumes
  • Completion of a minimum of 33 credit hours at the master's degree level (i.e., beyond the baccalaureate degree), with a minimum GPA of 3.00
  • Official GRE Scores—successful students usually have a combined score of at least 300
  • A master's degree in Pan-African/Black Studies; a master's degree in a traditional discipline in the humanities or social sciences also will be considered for admittance

Students who apply for the program without a master's degree in Pan-African/Black Studies may be required to take prerequisite courses deemed necessary by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Students may transfer six (6) credit hours from a previously earned master's degree toward the PhD, subject to the approval of the degree program and the Unit Dean. Students with a PAS MA degree will be allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours to the PhD.  In both cases, students must petition for additional credit hours. Only courses in which the student earned grades of B or better will be considered for transfer.

Application Process

The Pan-African Graduate Committee considers applications to the PhD program for fall admissions only. The deadline is January 15, but all applicants are encouraged to apply early!

When credentials are complete, the Graduate Admissions Committee will review applications and make selections. All applicants will be notified of their outcomes.

Applicants applying for admission to the doctoral program must submit the following required credentials through School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies:

  1. A completed Graduate Admission application
  2. Application fee
  3. Proof of completion of a master's degree program or an equivalent number of graduate credits prior to admission
  4. Official transcripts of all undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate work
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores—successful students usually have a combined score of 300
  6. Submission of three recent letters of recommendation about the applicant's potential success in a doctoral program
  7. A written statement of intent of no more than a thousand words detailing the applicant's professional goals
  8. Current curriculum vitae
  9. A writing sample—applicants must supply a recent sample (10-20 pages) of their scholarly or professional writing

To check the status of your application, please visit ulink.louisville.edu

For questions about the admissions process contact the Graduate Admissions office at gradadm@louisville.edu.

Current or returning students with questions about policy or procedure not related to the admissions process should contact the Graduate Student Services Office at graduate@louisville.edu.

Program Requirements

Coursework Structure (full-time)

Year I & II
Research Strategies9
Quantitative Research Strategies and Pan-African Research
Qualitative Research Strategies and Pan-African Research
Research Strategies - Discipline Based (Historical, Social, Cultural - courses not in PAS)
Intellectual Approaches9
Theories of the Pan-African Diaspora
Theories of Race and Racism
Select one of the following:
Seminar on Race & Ethnicity in the Diaspora
- or -
Intellectual Approaches - Discipline Based (Historical, Social, Cultural - courses not in PAS)
Major (Track Area/Discipline) 1,212
Minor (Electives) 36
Profesional Development Seminar0
PAS 701Doctoral Exam Preparation (Summer course, reading for comprehensive examinations)6
Total Credit Hours (Year I and II): 42
Year III 4
Semester 1
Special Topics Courses and Comprehensive & Special Topics Exams9
Semester 2
PAS 702Dissertation Research9
Year IV
Semester 1
PAS 702Dissertation Research (and Writing)2
Semester 2
PAS 702Dissertation Research (Defend Dissertation)2
Minimum Total Hours64

Based on this structure students will take at least five courses in a specific discipline at the end of the first two years. These include one in research strategy, one in intellectual approaches, two electives, and at least one course cross-listed with PAS. These courses can also be in another area study such as Women's and Gender Studies, Latin American/Latino Studies, etc. 

Students may transfer six (6) credit hours from a previously earned master's degree toward the PhD, subject to the approval of the degree program and the Unit Dean. Students with a PAS MA degree will be allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours to the PhD.  In both cases, students must petition for additional credit hours. Only courses in which the student earned grades of B or better will be considered for transfer.