African Studies

Program Type: Cluster and Certificate

The Program of African Studies (PAS) is the oldest African Studies program in the United States. Founded in 1948, PAS enjoys a unique legacy of sponsoring research on Africa, training students in African Studies, and facilitating the involvement of Northwestern’s departments and schools in the African continent.

PAS was conceived as an interdisciplinary program, spanning the whole range of academic disciplines. This African Studies Cluster and Certificate supplements these efforts and supports graduate training among students interested in African Studies by providing:

  • A common coursework structure integrated with students’ departmental curricula.
  • Resources for student research, including travel abroad.
  • Interdisciplinary venues to present work in progress and to receive feedback from faculty and fellow students.
  • Opportunities for collaborative research.

The program features a core group of faculty internationally renowned for research in topics related to the African continent.

See African Studies Cluster and Certificate Requirements for specific courses and procedures needed to complete this program.

Programs and Events

We organize many events throughout the year, such as lectures with visiting scholars and conferences. Most seminars are open to graduate students across the University. We encourage all students, faculty and staff of Northwestern to learn more about our research and activities by participating in our public events.

Who Should Apply?

Doctoral candidates from any field are eligible to apply to join this intellectual “home” outside their department. Past participants have come from the following programs:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Comparative Literary Studies
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • History
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religion
  • Sociology
  • Spanish and Portuguese
  • Theatre and Drama

How to Apply

Prospective students interested in participating in this cluster or certificate should indicate their interest when they apply to their respective graduate programs.

Current students should contact Zekeria Ahmed Salem at

Who to Contact

Please contact the program director, listed below, with questions about this program. Or, explore the Program of African Studies website for more information.

Zekeria Ahmed Salem

Director, Institute for the Study of Islamic Thought in Africa (ISITA)