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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, literature and law. 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. The program is open to all students regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual preference, or nationality. Graduates are employable in public institutions and private corporations in areas of education, research, public policy, cultural heritage and a wide range of 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 credit hours of graduate credits at the M.A. level (beyond the baccalaureate degree), and 60 credit 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 six (6) credit 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. 
  • Students may petition for another six (6) additional credit hours. Only courses in which the student earned grades of "B" or better will be considered for transfer.
  • Recommended combined verbal/quantitative GRE score of 1000 (if tested prior to August 2011) or 300 if tested since August 2011.
  • GPA of 3.0 or better
  • International students should have either (a) a TOEFL score of at least 550 (on the paper-based test), 213 (on the computer-based test) or 79-80 (on the internet-based test), or (b) a IELTS score of at least 6.5.

Application Process

 The Pan-African Graduate Committee considers applications to the Ph.D. program for Fall and Admissions only.  The deadline for admission and request for funding is December 01; all other applications are due January 15. is January 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 the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies All Applicants are encouraged to apply early!  

1.      A completed Graduate Admission application. Including the 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 

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 School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions office at

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


Program Structure (full-time):
Year I & II Credit Hours Other Tasks
Research Strategies   9
Quantitative Research Strategies 3  
Qualitative Research Strategies
Research Strategies – Discipline Based
Intellectual Approaches
Pan-African Social Thoughts 3  
Advanced Seminar on Race 3  
Seminar on Race & Ethnicity in the Diaspora 3 OR
Intellectual Approaches – Discipline Based 

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.

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


** 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  
Special Topics Exam    

Semester 2

Dissertation Research

Defend dissertation, proposal    
Total Credit Hours: (for Year III)
Year IV    
Dissertation Research & Writing (Documentary/Fieldwork) 2  
Semester 2    
Dissertation Research (Defend dissertation) 2  
Total Credit Hours (for Year IV) 4  

***[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

Elizabeth Jones, J.D.

Assistant Professor 

Ricky L. Jones, Ph.D.

Department Chair

Yvonne V. Jones, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor 

Shirletta Kinchen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor 

Mawuena Logan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor 

Michael Brandon McCormack, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor 

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

Director of Graduate Studies

Kaila Story, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 

W.S. Tkweme, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Contact Information

Pan-African Studies - Ph.D.

Department Chair:
Dr. Ricky L. Jones
Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Theresa A. Rajack-Talley

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