Program Overview

The Department of African American Studies offers full-time graduate work leading to a Master’s and PhD in African American Studies.  The graduate programs at Temple are trans-continental and trans-generational in their integrated approach to domestic and international issues in African phenomena. Thus, we encourage our students to explore either the social-behavioral or the cultural-aesthetic concentrations in our graduate programs. Many students discover that they prefer to take the core courses and then to have a trans-concentration emphasis in their work.

Although we encourage students to take cognate courses we insist that the field of African American Studies is not merely an aggregation of courses about African people, but a focused, disciplined, and rigorous perspective on phenomena related to African people in Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. Our Master’s degree (MA) and our Doctoral Degree (PHD) are well known for their innovation, energy, and influence in the academy. As the oldest PhD program in the nation we are capable of providing students with our experience of having trained more than one hundred and sixty (160) Phds in African American Studies.

Degrees and Programs of Study

M.A. in African American Studies

The MA in African American Studies is designed to teach the student the fundamental theoretical and practical issues confronting African people trans-continentally and trans-generationally. Students will usually meet with their advisors throughout the graduate experience and be guided toward a concentration in their interests. A student who completes the MA in African American Studies has a valuable degree that often serves as a basis for the student pursuing the Ph.D. in African American Studies or a cognate field.

  1. Students in our programs are also encouraged to participate in the many professional and Afrocentric organizations in our department. All graduate students are encouraged to immediately join the Graduate Student Association. In addition, students may seek to associate themselves with several professional and community organizations such as Imhotep, the graduate student journal, Afrocentricity International, or the National Council for Black Studies.  For more information on how you can carry out social responsibility as part of your education, please see the Graduate Director.

Learn more about the M.A. in African American Studies program requirements Apply online  to the M.A. in African American Studies program requirements.

Term of Application Date Application is Submitted Deadline Date for Decision
Spring 2016 On or before November 1, 2015 December 10, 2015
Fall 2016 On or before March 1, 2016 April 15, 2016

Ph.D. in African American Studies

The Ph.D. in African American Studies at Temple University constitutes the top degree in the field. A student applying and being accepted to the program will be prepared for university teaching, scholarly research positions, as well as national and international advisory positions dealing with African American and African issues and affairs. Our students have superior records of employment in the university and public sectors.

Learn more about the Ph.D. in African American Studies program requirements.  Apply online  to the Ph.D. in African American Studies program requirements.

Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

Applications for admission are processed together shortly after the deadline date.

Admissions Process

The Department offers two graduate degrees: the Master’s (MA) and the PhD. Our distinguished and experienced faculty are ready to advise each student and to mentor the student toward a professional career. Admission requirements to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in African American Studies follows the general requirements established by the Graduate School at Temple University.

Learn more about the university admissions requirements for the M.A.  Learn more about the university admissions requirements for Ph.D. programs


Our graduates have become the most dominant group of intellectuals and academics in the field of African American Studies. They are deans, directors, endowed professors, distinguished professors, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and lecturers. Many of our former doctoral students head African American Studies at major universities. Some of our former MA students have received their doctorates in other fields and from different universities and are now professors.

Graduate Resources

Department Resources

The Charles Blockson Afro American Collection located in Sullivan Hall on Temple’s main campus is one of the great resources in the United States. Mr. Blockson began his collection as a teenager and after many years had built his collection into the fourth or fifth largest such collection in the nation. Many of our students regularly use the Blockson facility for their research.

The department is the home to the Journal of Black Studies, the most prestigious journal in the discipline of African American Studies. Students have the opportunity to work with the journal. Two of Temple’s faculty members in African American Studies edited the Encyclopedia of Black Studies and much of the discourse about the nature of the field remains a hefty debate in seminars in the department.

General Resources