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Afro-American Studies

Administrative Unit:Afro-American Studies
College/School: College of Letters & Science
Admitting Plans:M.A.
Degrees Offered:M.A.
Minors and Certificates:Doctoral Minor

Faculty: Professors Werner (chair), Adell, Drewal, Plummer, Thornton; Associate Professor Greene; Assistant Professors Clark-Pujara, Curtis


The program in Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is dedicated to carrying on the vision of the elders and ancestors who devoted themselves to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and to the realization of a vision of true equality and opportunity. Like W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, John Hope Franklin, Zora Neale Hurston and James Porter, the department is committed to bringing the fruits of academic research to the broadest possible audience, within and beyond the walls of the university. The deepest understanding of the complex reality of race in America requires an interdisciplinary approach, one that draws on history and literature, the social sciences, and the arts. Graduate studies are concentrated in three areas: (1) Afro-American Culture (literature, theater history, music and culture, art history and visual culture); (2) History and Society; (3) Black Women's Studies. The M.A. program is based on personalized programs of study shaped to meet the needs of individual students, many of whom participate in the "Bridge" programs which enable them to move directly into Ph.D. programs in Art History, English, and History. Program faculty are experts in their fields and work collaboratively to ensure that graduate students are well prepared to either take on further study at the Ph.D. level or careers in teaching, public service, and the private, corporate sector. The program also offers doctoral minors for students in many graduate programs including African languages and literature, art history, communication arts, comparative literature, education, English, history, music, political science, social work, and sociology.

Doctoral Minor 

Candidates for the Ph.D. in other programs may obtain a doctoral minor in Afro-American studies by completing a minimum of 12 graduate credits in the department, of which only 3 may be directed-study credits. Three of the 12 credits must be a seminar course. Advance approval by the candidate's major advisor is required for the doctoral minor.


All applicants for admission must satisfy the Graduate School's minimum requirements. Applicants should normally have completed undergraduate course work in subjects related to Afro-American history, culture, or society. Applicants will customarily meet this requirement by completing an undergraduate major in Afro-American studies, in a related social science discipline, or in the humanities with a grade point average of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale. A program to make up deficiencies may be worked out with the graduate admissions committee.

For more information: Department of Afro-American Studies, 4141 Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-1642; rhschmidt@wisc.edu; polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/aas.