African Studies

Olabode Omojola, Council Chair, Five College Professor of Music

Overview and Contact Information

This program allows students to take advantage of the substantial resources for the study of Africa in the Five Colleges: 40 faculty whose research and teaching focus primarily on Africa offer almost 150 courses. The wide array of course offerings allows students to develop a concentration of study devoted to Africa that complements any major. By focusing intensely on the continent of Africa, students develop a keen appreciation of the rich connections between history, politics, economics, cultures, and the humanities.

See Also

Requirements for the Certificate

A minimum of six courses:

A minimum of six approved courses from at least four different departments, programs, or disciplines. Each course should carry at least three credits, and at least fifty percent of its content should be devoted to Africa. These must include: 1
At least one course providing historical perspective on Africa. (Normally the course should offer at least a regional perspective.)
At least one course on Africa in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, geography, political science, sociology)
At least one course on Africa in the fine arts and humanities (art, folklore, literature, music, philosophy, religion)
Proficiency through the level of the second year of college, in either an indigenous or colonial language in Africa other than English. This requirement may be met by examination or course work. 2
Total Courses6-10

Approved courses for the certificate are listed on the certificate's website.


These language courses may not count toward the minimum of six courses required for the certificate.

Additional Specifications

  • No more than three courses in any one department or program may count toward the six required in Section A.
  • A certificate candidate may present courses taken in Africa, but normally at least three of the required courses must be taken in the Five Colleges.
  • A candidate must earn a grade of B or better in every course for the certificate; none may be taken on a pass/fail basis.
  • Unusual circumstances may warrant substituting certificate requirements; therefore candidates through their African Studies Faculty Advisors may petition the Faculty Liaison Committee (the Five College committee of certificate program advisors) at least one full semester before graduation for adjustments in these requirements. A successful petition will satisfy the interdisciplinary character of the certificate program.
  • Students are encouraged to spend one semester or more in Africa. Information about study abroad and other opportunities is available through the international program office at each campus.
  • Students are encouraged to complete their certificate program with an independent study project that integrates and focuses their course work in African studies.