General Requirements

General Requirements. The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh requires a minimum of 72 credits at the 2000-level or above for the PhD. Of these 72 credits required for the PhD Africana Studies, 39 will be earned through seminars or required courses. The following course of study will comprise these credit requirements:

  • AFRCNA 2860 Africana Research Methods

This seminar explores how Africana scholars formulate their research questions and design their methodologies. It explains how they use a variety of methodological approaches for conducting research in Black communities worldwide and creating new ideas that contribute to the advancement of Africana Studies scholarship.

  • AFRCNA 2031 Critical Africana Pedagogy

This seminar examines the arts of teaching and learning in Africana Studies. Students are introduced to Africana-centered pedagogical tools while also being exposed to resources from the University’s Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • AFRCNA 2750 Africana Studies Proseminar I

Introduces students to cultural, social, historical, artistic, and theoretical approaches to developing a global analytics of Blackness

  • AFRCNA 2850 Africana Studies Proseminar II

Explore theories of Black migration and community formation

  • Electives 33 credits

Preliminary Exams: The core courses fulfill the role of preliminary exams in the PhD requirements for the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Students should ideally complete their core courses by the end of their first year, and no later than the end of their second year. Students entering the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another institution must take a preliminary examination. This hour-long oral exam will take place in April at the end of the student’s first year. The exam will cover two areas: coursework done by the student during that first year, and their plans for dissertation research (topic, relevant literatures, and possible sources). As a rule, the student’s advisor(s) chairs this committee, which includes two other members of the Graduate Faculty, one of whom may be from outside the department.

Graduate Transfer Credits: Students already holding a Master’s degree have the potential to transfer up to 30 credits from another approved degree-granting graduate program. The transfer credits will be evaluated and approved by the Director of graduate studies and two other members of the department graduate faculty.

Comprehensive Exams: Students should aim to take their comprehensive exams by the end of the third year. Should the student fail the comprehensive exam they will have the right to retake it once. The failed exam must be retaken prior to April 30 of the third year (second year for students entering with an MA). The student has the right to choose new examiners. If a student does not pass the retake exam, tenure will end with the term during which this exam took place.

To obtain the Ph.D. in Africana Studies, it is recommended that students:

  1. Complete required coursework by end of second year (preferably by end of first year); if the student has a master’s degree already, complete the preliminary oral examination by end of their first year
  2. Pass comprehensive examinations in the fall of the third year
  3. Defend Dissertation Prospectus in the spring of the third year
  4. Be admitted to candidacy at least 8 months prior to defense date
  5. Have their dissertation defended and approved by dissertation committee
  6. Complete at least 72 credits (course work and research included) with a GPA of at least 3.00, including the Four Core Courses