Lively dancing in West Africa

The Doctoral Minor in African Studies is for students completing a PhD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who wish to focus their study on Africa. It requires four courses or seminars in two departments outside the student’s major department. The African studies minor is completed under “Minor Option A” of the Graduate School regulations.

Suggestions for Students Pursuing the Doctoral Minor in African Studies

  • Early Approval of Minor Program: It is the student's responsibility as a graduate student to determine that all courses/seminars being completed are eligible for inclusion in the doctoral minor. Students are encouraged to consult with the African Studies Program advisor before taking courses intended to be included in the minor.
  • Language Training: In planning the program, students should bear in mind the strong desirability of attaining competence in an African language. For many kinds of research, ability to use a language as a research tool is indispensable.
  • Auditing Courses: In addition to courses and seminars formally taken for credit, students are encouraged to audit additional offerings to develop a broad competence in African studies.


  • Meet with the African Studies Program advisor. To make an appointment, send an email to the program's Associate Director (see Contact Information).
  • All Graduate School students must utilize the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW to add, change, or discontinue any doctoral minor. To apply to this minor, please log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. The minor coordinator will review your application for admittance, and reach out to you if there are any further questions.
  • After you have completed the preliminary PhD examinations, the African Studies Program director or designate will sign the warrant indicating completion of the minor.


  • Complete a minimum of 12 graduate credits from the African Studies Program core curriculum in four courses or seminars outside the major field, and from at least two different departments, in consultation with the faculty advisor. (Agricultural and applied economics, and economics courses/seminars are considered to be of one discipline for purposes of the minor.)
  • Graduate credit is available only for courses with numbers of 300 or higher and with the graduate attribute.
  • At least one of these four units must be a course or seminar numbered 700 to 999.  No thesis or dissertation credits (990) may be used.
  • Introductory first-year language courses may not be used for the doctoral minor in African studies even if they are numbered 300 or higher. Language courses may count for the minor only in so far as they do not overlap with departmental language requirements. When a department requires an African language for the PhD, language courses may count toward the minor only above and beyond four semesters of study in one language.
  • Include no more than one independent reading and research course in the four courses or seminars submitted.

Special Circumstances and Conditions in Complying with the Doctoral Minor

  • Grade Point Average: A 3.0 grade point average is required for all courses submitted for the minor.
  • Credits from Other Universities: Courses from other universities that were taken for graduate credit may count toward the minor with approval of the African Studies Program. Normally, only two of the required four courses or seminars may come from outside the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Exceptions may be proposed by petition.
  • Courses Taken as an Undergraduate: Courses taken while the candidate was an undergraduate student are not eligible for credit toward the doctoral minor, including courses with graduate-level numbers.

Learning Outcomes

1. Regional expertise: advanced knowledge of the societies and cultures of the region through in-depth understanding of the principal historical, social, political, cultural, and scientific forces and conditions that have given rise to the unity and diversity in the region today.

2. Multi-disciplinarity: analyzing contemporary political, economic, and cultural realities in the region from at least two disciplinary perspectives, ideally including humanities, social sciences, and sometimes natural science approaches.

3. Depth of knowledge: advanced knowledge of particular facets of life in the region by taking courses on particular sub-regions or countries, by studying a regional language, or by taking at least two courses on the region in one discipline.

4. Research and methods: Students must demonstrate the ability to conduct interdisciplinary research that shows knowledge of research methodologies, demonstrates analytical skills, and the ability to articulate and elaborate research findings.


205 Ingraham Hall 
1155 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706
phone: 608-262.-2380
fax: 608-265-5851

Marissa Moorman, Faculty Director,
Aleia McCord, Associate Director,
Olayinka Olagbegi-Adegbite, Assistant Director,

Faculty members specializing on Africa are based in more than 40 departments throughout the university's schools and colleges:

African Studies Program Steering Committee: Nancy Kendall; Mary Hark; JANIS P TUPESIS; Nevine El-nossery; Jeremy Foltz; Matthew Brown; Matthew Turner; Luis MADUREIRA