African Studies Minor

for the Graduate Minor in African Studies

director: Teresa Barnes

overview of admissions & requirements:

overview of grad college admissions & requirements:

college website:

department website:

department faculty:

department office: 210 International Studies Building, 910 South Fifth Street, Champaign, IL 61820

phone: (217) 333-6335
fax: (217) 244-2429


The interdisciplinary graduate minor in African Studies promotes training in African Studies for masters and doctoral students in other disciplines interested in complementing their degree program with an interdisciplinary perspective on Africa.

Note: Students within the major cannot minor in the same program.

Graduate Degree Programs in African Studies

African Studies, MA

African Studies Graduate Minor

Joint Degree Program:

African Studies, MA and Library and Information Science, MS


The Center for African Studies admits students in the fall term only. Applicants to the Masters degree in African Studies should hold at least a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or from a recognized institution of higher education abroad. All graduate college admission requirements also apply. The Center does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, but it is highly recommended for students applying for the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship. Successful applicants should have a grade point average of at least 3.0 (4.0=A) calculated for the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate course work. International applicants or applicants whose native language is not English must have a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test (PBT) -- 213 on the computer-based test (CBT) or 79 on the internet-based test (IBT). For information about the application process and to access both domestic and international student applications, start here:

For more information about the Center's admission requirements and procedures, and deadlines please visit

Students interested in the graduate minor in African Studies must be in good standing in a graduate program, have permission from the major program, and demonstrate an interest in African Studies. For more information, contact Dr. Maimouna Barro.

Faculty Research

The Center for African Studies' has both core and affiliate faculty represented in over 34 units across campus encompassing various disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, as well as  in professional schools. The faculty is the backbone of the Center and constitutes the most critical element of the graduate experience. They excel in teaching at all levels and have a strong commitment to innovative research. Both Center faculty and teaching assistants have received numerous college and campus teaching awards. For more information about the Center faculty, please visit:

Facilities and Resources

Established since 1970, the Center for African Studies is one the largest and most dynamic African National resource Centers in the country. The Center promotes excellence in research and teaching on Africa in all disciplines. The Center also exists to increase and disseminate knowledge about Africa to the larger community through various outreach activities to colleges, schools, community groups and businesses. At a time when the university of Illinois is expanding its international dimension, the Center for African Studies is dedicated to promoting a vibrant African Studies program and to fostering an understanding of Africa and African peoples through research, teaching and various Africa-related programs and events.  The Center organizes a wide range of activities including conferences, lectures, film festivals, art exhibits, language institutes, workshops, and symposia. In addition, the Center regularly hosts visitors from the United States and abroad, namely Africa, and is strongly committed to developing linkages with individuals and institutions based in the African continent.

In 2012, the University of Illinois Library reorganized its international and area studies units into one large International and Area Studies Library (IASL) in an excellent renovated space. This new unit includes the African Studies library and other world areas library collections. The University Library has supported a full-time African Studies Bibliographer since 1969, and has provided the necessary acquisitions, cataloging, and processing staff since then.

The African Studies collection include over 354,000 items in all formats, with more than 300,000 in printed volumes and in English and French and a smaller number in Portuguese, German and other European languages. The Library adds about 900 items written in African languages each year.  About 16,000 volumes written in Arabic deal with topics related to Africa, and more than 7000 are in Amharic, Bamana, Hausa, Lingala, Swahili, Tigrinya, Wolof, and Zulu. There are roughly 2,900 serials and 46,000 maps, of which 2849 have been digitized, as well as 12,000 microforms, and more than 800 audio-visual materials. The collection covers all African countries and includes materials in about 80 African languages. Priority countries for collecting include: Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The collection is interdisciplinary and concentrated mainly in the humanities, social sciences, human rights and law, and agriculture. Our large collection of primary source materials, covering all of Africa, includes 120,000 pages of Arabic manuscripts and thousands of United States, United Kingdom, and African government documents. The Africana film collection is one of the finest in the US, and our African film database provides access to more than 800 films from or about Africa. UI’s rich museum collections include the Krannert Art Museum and the Spurlock Museum and hold over 10,000 African artifacts. The museums present interesting exhibits and host African performances. Teacher kits on various African topics are also provided by the Krannert Art Museum.

The African studies bibliographer runs the Africana library and teaches IS 530, one of the Center's core courses and plays a key role in the Center's graduate program. For further information about the Africana library, please visit:

Financial Aid

Students must apply and be admitted according to the set deadlines to be considered for assistantships and fellowships. The Center evaluates and ranks entering students on the basis of academic promise. This ranking becomes part of the basis for financial aid decisions. Funding is generally awarded to cover the fall and spring semesters and occasionally on a semester-by-semester basis. Multiple years of funding cannot be guaranteed, but the Center considers it a priority to fund students and see them through the program. Continued funding is based on academic (in the case of Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships) and job performance (in the case of assistantships), the availability of positions, and the Center's budget in a given year or US Department of Education Title VI funding cycle.

Students are encouraged to check the Graduate College's website for funding opportunities--whether they are fellowships or assistantships:

For information about available awards and application deadlines, visit:

for the Graduate Minor in African Studies


AFST 522Development of African Studies4
Electives hours that relate to Africa that are outside the student’s major department. At least four hours must be at the 500 level.8
A minimum of four semesters of college level study of an African language. NOTE: Hours for language cannot be applied toward minor requirements.
Total Hours12

Other Requirements1

If the student’s thesis deals in whole or in part with Africa, it is strongly recommended that a faculty member from the Center be a formal member of the student’s committee.