M.A. Program

Master of Arts in African and African Diaspora Studies

The M.A. degree in African & African Diaspora Studies provides interdisciplinary, graduate level education that draws on AADS core faculty, as well as on faculty from a variety of Departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (English, Cultural Geography, Modern Languages, Political Science and International Relations, Sociology/Anthropology, History) and other Colleges within the university. This M.A. program aims to develop scholars with specific analytical skills and research methodologies in an ever growing interdisciplinary field of inquiry that has been on the cutting edge of scholarly research.

This degree will lead to professional positions in a range of fields as it simultaneously prepares students for further study at the doctoral level. The Program should attract those who are interested in subjects as diverse as—non exhaustively—national and transnational policy analysis, cultural studies, international relations with and within continental Africa, African and African diaspora gender constructs and sexualities, African and African diaspora literatures, the history and contemporary experiences of descendants of Africans in the United States, pre-national, national, transnational, and post-national processes such as pre-colonial African history, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the movement of “returnees” to what is today’s Liberia, Ghana and Ethiopia, European colonization of Africa, the Caribbean contributions to the “black movement” in the United States, Panafricanism, the Caribbean presence in colonial Africa, the Caribbean migration to the U.K. in the mid-20th century, Caribbean popular culture and cultural politics, the processes of creolization in the Caribbean and beyond, the struggle of Afro-Latinos for the recognition of their collective rights in different national contexts, the migration of Eastern Africans to Australia, the current migration of Central Africans to South Africa, the Asian diasporas in Eastern and Southern Africa, the migration of Western Africans to France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, and the escape of Sudanese “ethnic Africans” from Darfur to Chad.
All students who enroll in this M.A. Program will be exposed to the diversity of approaches, conceptualizations and interventions in the many debates that characterize the field, developed by a diversity of scholars based in different locations around the world.

Graduation Requirements

Applicants should consult the FIU catalog for the most updated requirements. To access the requirements for the MA in AADS in FIU's catalog, please click here.

Candidates must obtain a grade of “B” or higher in all courses and achieve a cumulative point average of at least 3.0 (based on a 4.0 scale) and present a satisfactory research paper, research proposal, or thesis.

The Thesis Option

In the case in which a student elects the thesis option, he or she will have to compose a thesis committee (three members) with at least two AADS graduate faculty members. The thesis committee chairperson or thesis advisor must be chosen from the list of AADS graduate faculty. The thesis committee will guide the student through successful completion of the thesis and will approve, after a public oral defense, its final draft as acceptable before it is sent to the University Graduate School.

Thesis research is usually performed during the first summer of enrollment in the program. The thesis will have 75 pages or more and will be written following one of the scholarly citation styles admitted in the disciplines. The selection of the citation style must be made with the thesis advisor.

The Research Paper/Proposal Option

If a student elects the research paper or research proposal option, he or she must compose a research paper/proposal committee (three members) with at least two AADS graduate faculty members. The student will work closely with the chairperson of the research paper/proposal committee, who must be chosen from the list of AADS graduate faculty. The submission of the final draft subsequently to the other members of the committee will logically follow the student’s second summer of enrollment. The FIU faculty eligible to serve on a thesis or research paper/proposal committee are the faculty members who have achieved graduate faculty standing as established by the University Graduate School. Other non-FIU faculty not identified in that list may be considered to serve on a committee based on research, identified interest, and publications after approval from AADS Graduate Director and upon approval of the Dean of the University Graduate School.

Required Credits

  • 9 credits core courses
  • 1 semester of AADS graduate colloquium (3 credits)

Thesis Option

  • 6 credits of thesis research (AFA 6971 Thesis Research in African and African Diaspora Studies)
  • 18 credits of elective courses selected from the lists below.

Research paper/Proposal Option

  • 3 credits of research paper/proposal writing (AFA 6911 Research Paper/Proposal Writing in African and African Diaspora Studies)
  • 21 credits of elective courses selected from the lists below.
  • The three credits of research paper/proposal writing will typically be taken with the approval of the chairperson of the student’s committee in the spring semester directly preceding the summer during which the student will take the Advanced Seminar in African and African Diaspora Studies. Total: 36 credit hours

2 Core courses

AFA 5005 African and African Diaspora Studies Theory

This course is offered every fall semester. It is typically taken during a student’s first semester enrollment.

One research methods course from the list below

All students must take at least one research method course. They will choose this course according to their disciplinary preference as it relates to their specific research interest. Such a course should help students conceptualize better various aspects of their research papers/proposals or theses. Students may elect to take more than one research methods course. With approval of the graduate director, the additional research methods course will count as an elective.

  • AFA 5855 Research Methods and Scholarly Writing in Africana Studies—NEW!

Students who are more inclined to use a literary studies/linguistic approach will take one of the below:

  • ENG 5048 Literary Theory
  • LIN 5760 Research Methods in Language Variation
  • SPW 5806 Methods of Literary Research

Students who prefer to adopt a social sciences quantitative approach will take one of the below:

  • POS 5706 Research
  • SYA 6305 Research Methods I

Students who prefer to adopt a social sciences qualitative approach will take:

  • ANG 6497 Qualitative Research Methods

Students who prefer to adopt a Psychological approach will take:

  • DEP 5796 Methods of Developmental Research

Students who prefer to adopt the research method characteristic of History will take:

  • HIS 6059 Historical Methods

Students who prefer to adopt the approach of International Relations will take:

  • INR 5615 Research Design in International Relations

Graduate Colloquium

AFA 6920 African and African Studies Diaspora Graduate Colloquium (3 credits)

Students must register for one semester and attend all symposia, conferences, colloquia, and lectures sponsored by the program and write response papers on each event to be submitted to the AADS faculty member in charge of the colloquium. A syllabus will be given to all enrolled students at the beginning of each semester.

Language Requirement

Students will be asked to demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English according to the nature of their thesis or research paper/proposal and professional interests. Credit hours earned in meeting language requirement will not count toward the 36 credit hours required for the degree.

List of Electives I : The Humanities

Students must choose between 6 and 12 credits from the list below.

With approval of the Graduate Director, students may also select other courses not listed below after submitting the appropriate syllabus.

  • AFA 5932 Special Topics in African and African Diaspora Studies
  • AFA 5107 Teaching the African-American Experience
  • AFA 5341 Health Issues in the African World
  • AFA 5600 National and Transnational Policy Analysis: The African Diaspora
  • AFH 5905 Readings in African History
  • AFH 5935 Topics in African History
  • FRE 5508 La Francophonie
  • HAI 5235 Haitian Creole Seminar
  • LAH 5465 Peoples, Culture and Politics of Haiti
  • LAS 6025 Seminar: The Humanities in Cuba
  • LIN 6602 Language Contact
  • LIT 5359 African Diaspora Women Writers
  • LIT 5358 Black Literature and Literacy/Cultural Theory
  • MUH 5025 History of Popular Music in the United States
  • MUH 5067 Music of the Caribbean
  • REL 5122 African-American Religion
  • REL 5372 African Spirituality
  • REL 5384 Rasta, Vodou, Santeria
  • REL 5488 Theology and Liberation Movements
  • SPN 5536 Afro-Cuban Culture
  • SPN 5537 Special Topics in Afro-Hispanic Culture
  • SPW 5346 Poetry of Jorge Guillen
  • SPW 5776 Black Literature in Latin America
  • SPW 6368 19th Century Spanish-Caribbean Narrative
  • WOH 5236 The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the African Diaspora, 1441-1807
  • WOH 5237 The African Diaspora Since the End Of the Slave Trade

List II: The Social Sciences

  • AFA 6217 Sex, Race, and Power in European Colonial Times (crosslisted with SYD 6796)
  • ANG 6473 Diasporas, Migration, and Globalization
  • ANG 5397 Advanced African Diaspora Cultures
  • ANG 5396 Representations of Africa and Africans in Films
  • ANT 6319 The African Diaspora: Anthropological Perspectives
  • CPO 5325 Politics of the Caribbean
  • CPO 6350 Seminar in Brazilian Politics
  • CPO 6376 Seminar in Central American Politics
  • CPO 6206 Seminar in African Politics
  • CYP 6766 The Psychology of Crosscultural Sensitization in a Multicultural Context
  • ECS 5406 Latin American Economies
  • ECS 6436 The Economics of Caribbean Migration
  • ECS 7435 Economics of the Caribbean
  • INR 5087 Ethnicity and the Politics of Development
  • INR 5255 Seminar in African Development
  • INR 6936 Seminar in Inter-American Politics
  • SYD 6705 Comparative Analysis of Ethnicity and Race
  • SYD 6796 Sex, Race, and Power in Colonial Times (crosslisted with AFA 6217)
  • SYP 6739 Seminar: Ethnic Minority Aging in U.S.