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University of Pittsburgh    
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 20, 2024
2020-2021 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

African Studies Certificate

Contact Information

Dr. Macrina Lelei, Associate Director
African Studies Program
4137 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260


The Graduate Certificate

The African Studies Program offers the graduate certificate in African Studies designed for students who wish to intensify their study of Africa as a world region. Students seeking a graduate degree at any school or department within the University may pursue a graduate certificate in African Studies by enrolling in the program and meeting the stipulated requirements. This certificate is specifically designed for graduate students who desire to develop real insights into issues of critical importance in their fields of research and career interests as relates to Africa. The program provides students with fundamental grounding in African Studies through exposure to the major areas of research and knowledge on Africa in their respective disciplines and professions. In addition, students are provided with opportunities to participate in research projects, symposia, lectures, conferences, fellowships, internships and workshops on Africa. Successful completion of a certificate in African Studies can provide an important building block for careers in international development, foreign service, government, business, law, academia and public service.

Certificate Requirements

To receive the Graduate Certificate in African Studies, students must complete the following requirements:

  1. African Studies Courses: Students will complete six courses (18 credits) with at least 25% or more Africa related content. One of these courses must be taken from outside the student’s department or professional school. Any Graduate Class can count towards the Certificate if there is at least 25% African content and individual students may focus on an issue or country in Africa while doing their project and or research paper for the class. In special instances, with the consent of the academic advisor, approved upper-level undergraduate courses may be accepted. For a full list of approved undergraduate courses, click here.


  • Graduate students should complete a minimum of 6 unique credits of coursework. In other words, at least 6 credits of the course work used to complete the requirements of any graduate level certificate in UCIS must be in addition to the credits used to complete the student’s primary degree program. In consultation with the academic advisor, students may fulfill these standards through one of the following options, click here


  • For students completing two graduate level UCIS certificates, at least nine (9) credits of the course work used to complete the certificate requirements must be in addition to the credits used to complete the student’s primary degree program. At least 3 of these credits must be in content coursework. All 9 cannot be language course credits


  1. Language Proficiency: Students will complete two years (4 semesters) of college level study of an African language or equivalent Proficiency of a European language other than English relevant to African Studies as a consequence of Africa’s historical experience-a student with two years or more of French, Portuguese, German or Spanish meets the language proficiency requirement.


  1. Capstone Research Paper: Each student will complete a capstone paper, which will be the culmination of his or her learning experience in the African Studies program. Each student will select a topic focused on his or her area of concentration and work on this project under the supervision of an African Studies affiliated faculty.
  • GPA in African Studies Courses should be 2.5 or higher.

Academic Opportunities

Internships: There are several internship opportunities locally and in Africa for student internships. Meet with the academic advisors to learn about these opportunities and sources of funding.

Professional Development: The African Studies Program offers graduate fellowships every semester where a student is given full exposure to the field of African Studies while they also develop their professional skills such as networking, public speaking, communications, media relations, critical thinking, and knowledge of Africa through the various assignments.  Graduate students will especially build their outreach, networking and organizational skills through coordinating and hosting community engagement programming.

UCIS International Career Toolkit Series: The Toolkit Series introduces students to the multitude of careers available by meeting and interacting with professionals in a variety of fields. Many of the guests are Pitt alumni and those that graduated with an International Studies Certificate. By attending one of these panels students will gain insight on career choices, what specific careers entail, how to articulate and prepare for short and long term career goals, and utilize resources at Pitt to make their goals a reality. Each year, students enrolled in the certificate program will have the opportunity to visit Washington, DC to interact with professionals and learn about a variety of opportunities for employment possibilities.

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