Program in African Studies

Academic Unit

Program Information

Princeton's Certificate in African Studies, offered by the Program in African Studies, provides opportunities to all Princeton students, regardless of major, to learn about the continent. The program offers classes in Africa's political, economic, and social history; built environments and urban geographies; ecology, genetic diversity, and epidemiological concerns. The program also offers classes in Africa's vibrant art scenes, past and present, where literature, music, and art have come to define a new post-colonial African cosmopolitanism. Certificate students can also learn Swahili and Twi in preparation for either a PIIRS global seminar or summer internship in Africa.

Admission to the Program

Students seeking admission to the certificate program should contact the program manager.

Program of Study

To obtain the certificate of proficiency, students must complete the normal requirements in their major department as well as the following requirements of the program:

1. One foundational course from a list of designated courses that serves as an Introduction to Africa. Please see the program website for listings and visit TigerHub to see what courses are currently being offered. If a foundational course is not offered when needed please contact the Director of African Studies to determine possible substitutions.

2. Three AFS cross-listed courses. Students can substitute a cross-listed course with another course with prior approval from the director of the Program in African Studies. Students who study abroad must submit courses for certificate credit to the program manager for director approval prior to taking the course abroad and preferably prior to leaving for study abroad.

3. 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.

Note: 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.

4. A senior thesis or junior paper on Africa.

Study Abroad

The Program in African Studies strongly encourages concentrators to study in Africa. The Program in African Studies and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies list a number of excellent programs on their websites.

Certificate of Proficiency

Students who have met the requirements of the program and their department will receive a certificate of proficiency in African studies upon graduation.

Courses in African Studies. A list of courses in African studies offered by other departments and programs may be found on TigerHub and the program website. If other courses on Africa are offered, these may be added with the permission of the director.

The Program in African Studies sponsors conferences, seminars, and lectures throughout the year that bring to the University distinguished scholars, government officials, and other experts with diverse points of view and interests in Africa. Students in the program are encouraged to participate in African Studies events around campus.

Program in Swahili and Twi. The Program in African Studies offers four-terms of language instruction in Swahili and Twi. A one year-long sequence in Swahili or Twi can satisfy two of the course requirements for the certificate.  Completion of all four terms of either sequence will satisfy the University language requirement. Occasionally, more advanced courses will be offered. Note: Normally students electing a beginner's course in any language will receive credit only if two terms are completed.

Princeton in Africa. Students interested in working in Africa after graduation can apply to the Princeton in Africa (PiAF) program for fellowships. Princeton in Africa seeks to develop young leaders who understand Africa's important past and who are committed to the continent's vibrant future. To accomplish this, PiAF offers year-long, post-graduate internships with a variety of organizations that work across the African continent.