The UNC African, African American and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) department is in the process of developing a graduate program in Africana Studies.
The department’s request to establish an M.A. and Ph.D. program in Africana Studies was approved by the University in November 2021. Now, the department is preparing to admit its first cohort of graduate students in the fall of 2025, Department Chairperson Claude Clegg said in an email.
To prepare for the program’s first cycle of applicants, the department is currently working to build a curriculum, hire new faculty members and write a handbook.
“This proposal was years in the making and involved various departmental faculty members, the College dean’s office, the Provost’s office, the University Graduate School and other elements of the University’s administration,” Clegg said. “The department is grateful for the support and commitment of all of these stakeholders.”
According to the UNC Catalog, students will be admitted into one of three major geographic fields upon entry to the graduate program: African America, Africa, or African Diaspora (non-North America).
By the end of a student’s third semester of enrollment, they will declare two major thematic concentrations within the major geographic field: Literary Studies and Cultural Production; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminism; Development, Public Policy and Social Change; and Histories and Africana Critical Theory.
The combination of options will influence student coursework.
Nancy Andoh, a second-year graduate student in UNC’s Department of History, said current courses that focus on AAAD are very limited for students studying in African Studies in the history department's graduate program.
“We have to take other courses from other fields, like global history, and we have to take courses on international studies," Andoh said. "It gives you a broader perspective about life, you know, and it gives you a lot of knowledge. However, we also want to delve directly into what we want to do. I think that an addition of a AAAD grad program would really be helpful in that regard.”