Masters and Ph.D Students

The graduate certificate in African Studies may be pursued by graduate students enrolled in any Masters or PhD program at Stanford University. The certificate demonstrates specialized knowledge of African languages, history, culture, and politics, especially helpful for graduate students seeking to deepen their understanding of African studies while working on advanced degrees in the social sciences, humanities, sciences, and professional fields. 

Graduate Certificate

Stanford University acknowledges the importance of Africa and is committed to addressing graduate student interest in the study of the continent. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies forms a vital part of this commitment and serves an important intellectual function on our campus.  The Certificate is open to students in any Stanford University degree-granting graduate program.

Various programs across the University allow students to study discrete topics on Africa—economic development, governance, humanitarian emergencies, business and investment, health, technology, energy and the environment, and security.  The Graduate Certificate in African Studies is designed to facilitate a fuller understanding of the continent, beyond narrow disciplinary lenses. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies enables graduate students interested in specializing in Africa to demonstrate a regional or functional specialization in Africa, both to pursue intellectual interests and to attain qualifications for post-graduate careers or study.



The Center for African Studies is uniquely positioned to bridge this gap between disciplinary specialists and Africa specialists in a way that will help them more effectively engage with the African continent. The Graduate Certificate in African Studies is awarded to individuals already admitted to a Stanford University graduate program who have completed the relevant requirements.

Graduate Study in African Studies

Students enrolled in PhD, MD, MBA, JD or other postgraduate professional degree programs (but not MA programs) are eligible to receive a Graduate Certificate in African Studies (GCAS) from CAS. Students receiving such certificates will be provided with a letter of attestation and a certificate at the time of the completion of their graduate degree. 

African Studies can be designated a field of concentration within the master's and doctoral programs of some academic departments. Students in such departments as AnthropologyHistoryPolitical Science, and Sociology, and in the School of Education, may declare African Studies as the area of specialization for their master's and Ph.D. thesis work. Some other departments, programs, and institutes such as the International Comparative Education Program also permit students to specialize in African Studies.

To Apply

There is no formal process for declaring candidacy for the GCAS, but since courses can generally only be pre-approved students who are interested in the certificate are strongly advised to work closely with the CAS Associate Director to ensure that they will complete all requirements in a timely manner.