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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
  Jul 25, 2024
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

African Studies Certificate

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Contact Information 

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

Dr. Anna-Maria Karnes, Academic Advisor
4136 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
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The Undergraduate Certificate

Through a wide range of courses and activities, the program allows students opportunities to learn and develop a better grasp of the continent’s internal dynamics and its evolving place in the world.

The program sponsors a wide range of learning activities such as lectures, symposia, and conferences that focus on the interconnected issues of development in Africa and the African experience within the wider global context. The program offers opportunities for study abroad in Africa and other forms of field based experiential learning. Limited scholarships are available and interested students enrolled in the African Studies program are encouraged to stop by our office or visit our website for more information.

Certificate Requirements

To receive the Undergraduate Certificate in African Studies each student must complete the following requirements:

  1. African Studies Courses:  Students will complete five courses (15 credits) that must include one core course (3 credits) with 100% Africa-related content, and four electives (12 credits) with at least 25% or more Africa-related content. For a full list of approved courses, click here.


  1. Language Proficiency: Students will complete two years (4 semesters) of language study of either an indigenous African language (Pitt offers Amharic, Swahili, and Arabic) or, a European language (other than English) that is relevant to African studies because of Africa’s historical experience. For example, a student with two years or more of French, Portuguese, German or Spanish meets the language proficiency requirement.


  1. Digital Portfolio: Each student will complete a digital portfolio highlighting their learning experience and clearly demonstrating their specific growth in knowledge of Africa related issues within their respective academic discipline and in a broader global context. Students must submit their digital portfolio by the provided deadline before graduation. The digital portfolio may include assignments submitted as part of coursework or on the student’s own time, and any other examples showing personal or academic growth.


  1. Presentation: Before graduation, each student will be required to present their African Studies related work through sharing highlights of their experiences in a mini-forum to students, friends and family. The program advisor will communicate with each graduating students requirements for the presentations.

GPA in African Studies Courses should be 2.5 or higher. 


Academic Opportunities

Study Abroad and Internships: Although Studying abroad in Africa is not required, it is highly encouraged. Students can earn up to 15 credits towards the certificate by studying abroad in an African country. There are also several internship opportunities available to students locally and in Africa.  Meet with the academic advisor to learn about these opportunities.

 Professional Development: The African Studies Program offers academic internships every semester where a student is given full exposure to the field of African Studies and can earn 3 credits for the internship.  Students work on skills such as networking, public speaking, communications, media relations, critical thinking, and knowledge of Africa. This internship is a great way for students to build their resume and get real life experience working for a university.

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.

Other Outside of the Classroom learning activities: Students can attend lectures and conferences on campus and off campus on a variety of topics that enhance their classroom learning. African studies offers the Let’s Talk Africa Series particularly designed for students to share their Africa related learning experiences. In addition the program hosts other forums for knowledge and cultural exchanges including during international week and during Africa Week. Visit our website for more information.

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