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Doctor of Philosophy in Pan African Studies

Major: PAS_PHD
Degree Awarded: Ph.D.
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

The Ph.D. program will train professional researchers at the highest level in one or more of the traditional disciplines as well as to focus on two substantive areas; African American or African Diaspora Studies. The expertise of the present core and affiliated faculty to the Department of Pan-African Studies is spread across African American and African Diaspora history, philosophy, sociology, political science, linguistics, religion, education, social work, psychology, art, music, anthropology, women’s and gender studies. This amalgam of interdisciplinary subjects makes the department a highly active research and teaching unit that is well positioned to offer a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Pan-African Studies. The Ph.D. is designed to educate students with the knowledge, analytic abilities, and professional development skills important for both academic and non-academic careers.  Beginning in the fall of 2012, the program is open to all students regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual preference, or nationality. Graduates are employable in public and private corporations in areas of education, law and public policy, cultural heritage and public history, programs that deal with human rights and social inequality, economics and trade.

Admission Requirements for Pan-African Studies Ph.D. Degree

To be admitted students must:

  • Demonstrate advanced competency in research skills, as evidenced by completion of a Master’s thesis or other independent research project, such as a sole-authored research report; published articles in peer-reviewed journals or edited volumes.
  • Completion of a minimum of 33 hours of graduate credits at the M.A. level (beyond the baccalaureate degree), and 60 hours beyond the Master’s degree are required for admission to and completion of doctoral coursework.
  • Students with a Master’s degree in Black Studies or a traditional discipline in the humanities or social sciences will also be considered for admittance. 
  • Students who apply for the program without a Master’s degree in Black Studies are required to take the PAS 601 (Graduate Research methods) and PAS 602 (Theories and Issues in Pan- African Studies) as prerequisites.
  • Students may transfer 6 hours from a previously earned Master's degree toward the Ph.D., subject to the approval of the degree program and the Unit Dean.
  • Students with a PAS MA degree will be allowed to transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours to the Ph.D.  In both cases students may petition for another 6 additional credit hours. Only courses in which the student earned grades of "B" or better will be considered for transfer.
  • Official GRE Scores
  • GPA of 3.0 or better

Application Process

 The Pan-African Graduate Committee considers applications to the Ph.D. program for Fall and Spring Admissions.  The deadline for Fall is January 15th and Spring May 15th.  When credentials are complete, the Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and make selections.  All applicants will be notified of their outcome.

Applicants applying for admission to the doctoral program must submit required credentials through School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies. All Applicants are encouraged to apply early!

1.      A completed Graduate Admission application. Including a $60.00 application fee.

2.      Completion of a Master’s degree program or equivalent number of graduate credits prior to admission.

3.      Official transcripts of all undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate work.

4.      Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores – applicants generally score at least in the 50th percentile or above in the general verbal section of the GRE.  The minimal score is no guarantee of admission and will be considered in relation to other admission criteria.

5.      Submission of three recent letters of recommendation about the applicant’s potential success in a doctoral program.

6.      A written statement of intent of no more than a thousand words detailing the applicant’s professional goals.

7.      Current curriculum vitae.

8.      A writing sample – applicants must supply a recent sample (10-20 pages) of their scholarly or professional writing.

To check the status of your application, please visit

For questions about the admissions process contact the Graduate Admissions office at

Current or returning students with questions about policy or procedure not related to the admissions process, contact the Graduate Student Services Office at


Program Structure (full-time):
Year I & II Credit Hours Other Tasks
Research Strategies   9
Quantitative Research Strategies (new course) 3  
Qualitative Research Strategies (edited PAS 601)
Research Strategies – Discipline Based
 (historical, social, cultural – courses not in PAS)   9
Intellectual Approaches
Pan-African Social Thoughts (edited PAS 614) 3  
Advanced Seminar on Race (edited PAS 615/614/ 515) 3  
Seminar on Race & Ethnicity in the Diaspora (new course) 3 OR
Intellectual Approaches – Discipline Based 
(historical, social, cultural – courses not in PAS)
Major (Track Area/Discipline)*

4 courses in one of two tracks: African American Studies or the African Diaspora and within a historical, social or cultural field. At least one of these must be cross listed.

(Example: PAS 510, 520, 528, 531, 535,551, 577, 575, 612, 616, 618, 619, 625, 645, etc. or PAS 505, 532, 533,550, 567, 581, 618, 620, 621, 643, 657, 660, etc.).

Minor (Electives) **  6
Professional Development Seminar 0
Reading for Comprehension (Summer Course) 6
TOTAL (Year I & II) 42

* Courses from this area are potential teaching/research fields. They could be cross-listed with other departments and must be discipline/subject based. For example, a Ph.D. student interested in history of the “Slave Trade,” will study this as a history class with possible specialization in the “Atlantic Slavery” or “African Slavery” or “Comparative Slavery,” etc. Upon graduation, the student can compete favorably for job in traditional History Departments as well as Black Studies Departments.

** The two elective courses could be taken outside the PAS as part of the student’s potential teaching fields. 

Year III Credit Hours Other Tasks
Semester 1    
Special Topics Courses 9  
Semester 2     
Dissertation Research *(Special Topics Exam) 9  
Total (for year III) - Defend dissertation, proposal   18

Year IV    
Dissertation Research & Writing (Documentary/Fieldwork) 2  
Semester 2    
Dissertation Research (Defend dissertation0 2  
Total (for Year IV) 4  
TOTAL (Program)   64

***[1] Based on this structure students will take at least 5 courses in a specific discipline at the end of the first two years. This includes 1 in research strategy, 1 in intellectual approaches, 2 electives, and at least 1 cross listed course with PAS. These courses can also be in another area study such as Women Studies, Latin American/Latino Studies and others.

Departmental Faculty

Tomarra Adams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Latrica Best, Ph.D
Assistant Professor

W. Carson Byrd, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Joy G. Carew, Ph.D
Associate Professor

Robert L. Douglas, Ph.D. 
Professor Emeritus

Tyler Fleming, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Pearlie Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Ricky L. Jones, Ph.D.

Department Chair

Yvonne V. Jones, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor

Co-Director of Graduate Studies

Shirletta Kinchen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Michael Brandon McCormack, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Theresa A. Rajack-Talley, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Kaila Story, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Co-Director of Graduate Studies

William Tkweme, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Pan-African Studies - Ph.D.

Department Chair:
Dr. Ricky L. Jones
Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Yvonne V. Jones

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