Pitt’s African Studies Undergraduate Certificate allows students in any major — from the arts and sciences to the professional schools — to enhance their program of study and complement their department major with international studies. The certificate is ideal for students interested in learning and gaining a broad interdisciplinary understanding of Africa as a world region, those who want to build expertise in African studies, including gaining intermediate-level competence in an African language. Successful completion of a certificate can provide an important building block for careers in the Foreign Service, government, business, law, academe, and public service.
To receive the undergraduate certificate in African Studies, each student enrolled must complete the following requirements:
1. African Studies Courses:
Students will complete five courses (15 credits) that will include one core course (3 credits) with 100% Africa-related content and four electives (12 credits) with at least 25% or more Africa-related content. Relevant courses taken during a study abroad experience may also be counted. To ensure interdisciplinary learning, students take three courses in two departments other than their major. Courses are updated each semester.
Download a plan of study to help you organize your courses and keep you on track.
2. Language Proficiency:
Students must complete two years (four semesters) of the study of an indigenous African language. Pitt offers Amharic, Swahili, and Arabic; or, a European language other than English that is relevant to African studies as a consequence of Africa’s historical experience (French, Portuguese, German, or Spanish).
* Native speakers of an African language or specified European languages who are proficient in the language can have the language requirement waived
3. Digital Portfolio:
African Studies students will produce a digital portfolio that will include sections on research, work/internship experiences, study abroad, extra-curricular activities, and exceptional coursework to highlight their expertise in African Studies. It will be completed and submitted for evaluation no later than the last semester before graduation. The digital portfolio may include assignments submitted as part of coursework or on the student’s own time. Further details can be discussed with your adviser.
The student will present their digital portfolio in a mini-forum to students, friends and family pre-graduation. This can take place in December or April before the graduation ceremony. It is an opportunity to communicate what you have learned while studying about Africa. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to meet other students in the center and network.
5. Study Abroad and Internship
While study abroad in an African country is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Pitt offers a diverse and extensive array of Pitt programs in Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania. These programs all offer credits to count towards your degree and certificate requirements. Visit Study Abroad to explore programs and search by location, program duration or time of year, and foreign language. For example, these summer study abroad courses, all taught in English, offer 6 to 10 academic credits. Studying abroad or doing an internship in an African country is a great way to enhance one's knowledge of Africa, expand perspectives, enrich inter-cultural competence and to make invaluable connections with people in the respective countries visited.
Each student is required to complete an application for graduation form before the deadlines set by the registrar’s office. Fill out this form to apply for graduation with us - Graduation Form