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Master's Degree in Pan African Studies

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The Pan African Studies Master program provides students with an opportunity for structured graduate study in the multidimensional discipline of Pan African Studies. Explicitly, the intent of the program is to produce well-prepared individuals to function as both scholars and activists who are prepared to use their knowledge, skills, and competencies needed to enhance the lives of communities of people of African descent.

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What to Expect

The program draws from multiple disciplines to deepen scholarly inquiry.

Admission Requirements

Preference will be given to applicants with undergraduate degrees and extensive coursework in Pan African Studies (Black Studies, African American Studies, or Africana Studies). There are no course prerequisites for admission to the program.

Submit the following materials through the Cal State Apply website by March 1, 2023.

Letters of Recommendation

A minimum of three letters of recommendation, including at least two from professors: Each letter should address the recommender’s familiarity with your work and how likely you are to succeed in graduate school.

Writing Sample

A writing sample: Your writing sample should be a well-developed term paper or research paper of eight or more pages in length. Try to choose a paper that represents your best work, demonstrates your area of interest and specialization, and highlights your strengths as a scholar.

Personal Statement

A personal statement: The personal statement should outline your interests and objectives in Pan African Studies graduate work and other relevant experiences that would pertain to your graduate career. The statement should be two to three pages.

Résumé or vita

A résumé or vita: Your résumé or vita should identify your educational background, relevant professional experience, and community engagement.

Degree Requirements

  • Completion of 30 units of graduate level Pan African Studies courses.
  • 18 units must be from the core requirements.
  • Completion of 9 credit hours of elective coursework. A student may select either PAS or affiliated coursework. Non-designated PAS coursework requires prior approval from the graduate director. These may be upper-division undergraduate courses.
  • Completion of Thesis or Project

Core Requirment Class Listings


Students must complete eighteen (18) hours of core requirements.

  • PAS 5000: Proseminar in Pan African Studies (3)
  • PAS 5001: Overview of African History from Ancient Africa to Colonialism (3)
  • PAS 5002: Research Methods in Pan African Studies (3)
  • PAS 5012: Creating Parallel Structures, Institutions, Organizations, and Systems (3)
  • PAS 5020: African Literature of the Diaspora (3)
  • PAS 5021: Black Social Political Thought (3)

Elective Classes

Students must complete nine (9) credit hours of elective coursework. A student may select either PAS or affiliated coursework. Non-designated PAS coursework requires prior approval from the graduate director. These may be upper-division undergraduate courses.

Students can select from the following elective courses.
 

  • PAS 5003: Intersectional Blackness (3)
  • PAS 5010: The History and Practice of Organizing (3)
  • PAS 5011: Community Engagement Lab (3)
  • PAS 5013: Protest Music, Art, Media, and Literature (3)
  • PAS 5022: Contemporary Africa (3)
  • PAS 5023: Africans Outside the US and Africa: History and Issues (3)
  • PAS 5980: Graduate Directed Studies (3)

With advisor approval, students can select one course (3 units) as an elective from the following list.

  • PAS 4000: Psychology and African Americans (3)
  • PAS 4020: Black Political Economy (3)
  • PAS 4040: The Black Family (3)
  • PAS 4110: African Spirituality in Theory and Practice (3)

Thesis or Project

The master’s thesis is a scholarly research project. Upon completion, the project is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that the degree candidate has acquired the knowledge and skills to carry out scholarly writing and research in their discipline and to advance knowledge in the discipline itself. The master’s thesis should provide the basis for a substantial contribution to the scholarship that already exists in the candidate’s area of specialization.

Students must complete three (3) units of PAS 5990: Thesis Research or PAS 5995: Project.

PAS 5990: Thesis Research

The master’s thesis is a scholarly research project. Upon completion, the project is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that the degree candidate has acquired the knowledge and skills to carry out scholarly writing and research in their discipline and to advance knowledge in the discipline itself. The master’s thesis should provide the basis for a substantial contribution to the scholarship that already exists in the candidate’s area of specialization.

PAS 5995: Project
 

Applied or practical Pan Africanism is a central aspect of the Cal State LA Master of Arts in Pan African Studies. Students who choose to complete a thesis project are expected to take the intellectual and philosophical components of the field and produce tangible and beneficial outcomes with, in, or for African/Black communities and spaces. In most cases, the master’s project will involve scholarly writing that the student submits in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. The general structure of the written project could include the following: introduction; theoretical or conceptual approach; appropriate literature or historical context; the project description, components, plan, and implementation; project status and results; and conclusions. Sample projects may include a film script or film; a nonprofit or for-profit business, political organization, or social program (e.g., after-school program); or a charter school document or program.

Time/Years to Degree

The program is designed to take two years. Below is a roadmap to completion of the two-year program and the degree.

Year One: 18 units

Fall Units Spring Units
PAS 5000: Proseminar in Pan African Studies 3 PAS 5002: Research Methods in Pan African Studies 3
PAS 5001: Overview of African History from Ancient Africa to Colonialism 3 PAS 5012: Creating Parallel Structures, Institutions, Organizations, and Systems 3
PAS 5021: Black Social Political Thought 3 PAS 5020: African Literature of the Diaspora 3
Total 9 Total 9

Year Two: 12 units

Fall Units Spring Units
Directed Elective 1 3 Culminating Experience: PAS 5990 or PAS 5995 3
Directed Elective 2 3    
Directed Elective 3 3    
Total 9 Total 3

Total units at completion: 30

Financial Resources

Please see the financial aid and employment resources at Cal State LA at the following sites.

Funding Opportunities

This site offers funding opportunities to support graduate students’ conference travel, professional development, thesis research and writing, nonresident tuition waivers, loans, and mentorship.

Explore Funding Opportunities

Financial Aid

This general Financial Aid and Scholarships site is dedicated to helping current and prospective students pursue their education at Cal State LA by awarding scholarships, federal and state grants, and other support.

Learn more about Financial Aid

Scholarships

Here, you can browse the various scholarships available on our Cal State LA Scholarships Application site during the scholarship application season.
Learn more about Scholarships

State University Grant

The State University Grant (SUG) program provides need-based awards to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and postbaccalaureate students who are California residents or otherwise determined as eligible, such as AB 540–eligible students.
Learn about the SUG program

Handshake

With Handshake, you can apply for internships and jobs, register for the spring and fall career fairs, and sign up for career events. The site is also great for networking with peers and employers.
Learn about Handshake

Contact Us

Serie McDougal III, Graduate Coordinator
Lawson Bush V, Department Chair
Jill Grayson, Department Coordinator

Office of Graduate Studies:
Library North A124
323-343-3820