Program in African Studies

Certificate of Proficiency

To obtain the certificate of proficiency, undergraduate students must complete the requirements in their major department as well as those of their program.


The Program in African Studies is a multidisciplinary forum that brings together students and faculty to learn about Africa — its peoples, environments, and resources — by exploring cultural, historical, political, scientific and technological issues. These themes are brought together in foundational courses and are reinforced in the senior colloquium where students share their works-in-progress.

  • One foundational course from a list of designated courses (such as ART 237, ART 260/AAS 260/AFS 260, COM 239/AFS 239, HIS 314, or HIS 316) that serves as an “Introduction to Africa”
  • One course each in three of the four key areas:
    • Culture, Literature, and the Arts
    • History 
    • Science, Technology and Health
    • Politics and Economics
  • One elective course from one of the four key areas that can be an “advanced topics” seminar offered by Africanists in a variety of departments or the year-long sequence in Swahili offered on campus
  • The Senior Colloquium where students discuss works-in-progress
  • A senior thesis on Africa or an African-related topic.
  • One capstone semester-long seminar in a student's junior or senior year. The seminar will focus on independent research, methods, and will incorporate the AFS lecture series as part of the curriculum.

N.B. The capstone course is required for members of the Class of 2019 and beyond, and strongly encouraged for the Class of 2018.  If not enrolled in the capstone course, students in the Class of 2018 pursuing the certificate in African Studies must take one additional elective course – such as an approved advanced-topics seminar offered by Africanists in a variety of departments, or the year-long sequence in Swahili offered on campus.

Students are encouraged to study in Africa and the program offers language and literature courses in Kiswahili and sponsors and endorses a variety of field study programs. The program casts a wide net, enabling students majoring in any department to design a course of study that satisfies their interests in Africa. Students who study at the University of Cape Town or elsewhere must submit courses for certificate credit to the program manager for director approval.

Certificate Courses

The undergraduate courses of interest to certificate students are offered by an array of departments. Some courses, not listed on the AFS website, may also qualify for the certificate. Please contact Tim Waldron with any questions.

Course descriptions are available in the current Undergraduate Announcement, which can be found online at the Office of the Dean of the College.