For a complete outline of degree requirements, see "Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees" available  on 

the Graduate Division homepage.


All students have to complete the following requirements for the degree before they can be awarded the M.A. in African Studies:

1. Core seminar African Studies 201A (Africa and Disciplines)

2. At least eight additional courses (32 units minimum) distributed as follows: 

- Five courses in student's area of concentration. Comprised of a minimum of five courses of which at least three must be at the graduate level (200+). The other two courses may be either graduate level or upper division undergraduate courses (100+). 

  - Three additional courses outside of major concentration area of which two must be at the graduate level.

3. Language requirement

In addition to minimum course requirements,  MAAS students are required to satisfy the African Area Studies Foreign Language Requirement before graduation by achieving elementary proficiency in an African Language.   European languages spoken in Africa  may be substituted by petition to the chair. The Program Language Requirement may be satisfied in any one of the following two ways:

- Language Courses: take three courses (12 units) in a single  African Language or Arabic with an average of `B' or better (please note that language courses are not applied to the nine course requirement). Approved Summer Language or Intensive Language courses may also be substituted. 

-Language Examination Demonstrate elementary proficiency in an examination with the African Languages Coordinator.

4. Final project:  thesis or capstone project. 


Disqualification from the Program

Any recommendation of a student's disqualification from the African Area Studies Program will be made by the MAAS Program Chair and approved through Graduate Division. Disqualification may be recommended (though not necessarily automatic) for any of the following reasons:

  1. Failure of the student to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout their time to degree.
  2. Failing to pass the Comprehensive Re-examination upon the second attempt.
  3. Insufficient progress toward the degree.
  4. Serious infractions of academic standards (such as plagiarism.)

Please note: disqualifications are extremely rare but not unknown.

UCLA Schedule of Classes 

African Studies Spring 2023 Course List

African Studies Winter 2023 Course List


The following language courses are offered during the Winter quarter:

Elementary Amharic


Elementary Swahili

Elementary Yoruba


Graduate-level courses are numbered 200-299.

Of the nine courses for the African Studies MA, at least five must be at the graduate level.

Courses in the 300 series cannot be applied to the degree.

400 level courses can be applied to the degree but as Electives and not as graduate courses.

Maximum two 500 series courses are allowed for the degree.

All courses must be taken for a letter grade unless they are in 500 series. The 500 series courses taken for S/U can be applied to the degree but only if the course has no letter grade option.

Foreign Language Requirement

In addition to minimum course requirements, MAAS students are required to satisfy the foreign language requirement before graduation by achieving elementary proficiency in an African Language.

UCLA offers the following language courses that can be applied to the African Studies degree: Amharic, Arabic, Swahili, Yoruba.   Students can also enroll in intensive language courses during the summer. In the past, UCLA students enrolled in the summer intensive language courses at UC Berkeley and Boston University, among others.

The Program Language Requirement may be satisfied in any one of the following two ways:

1. Language Courses
take three courses (12-15 units) in a single African Language with an average of `B' or better (please note that language courses are not applied to the nine-course requirement). Approved Summer Language or Intensive Language courses may also be substituted.  

2.Language Examination
Demonstrate elementary proficiency in an examination with the African Languages Coordinator.


Native speakers of African languages can be exempt from taking language courses.  Contact the Advising Office for more information.


Master thesis is a piece of original research paper with focus on Africa written under the direction of three faculty committee.  A master’s thesis is about 50-page long and it should be publishable as a single article.  It is the student's responsibility to formally appoint their Faculty Thesis Committee but all nominations must be approved in consultation with the MAAS Program Chair/Faculty Advisor.

Students who intend to complete the degree by submitting a thesis need to follow these steps:

  • Forward M.A. thesis committee nomination form to the program's office by Friday of week 2 of the final quarter of enrollment. The form has to be signed by faculty thesis committee.  After the nomination document is reviewed by the chair of the program, it is forwarded to the Graduate Division for final approval.
  • Students need to communicate clearly and in a timely manner with their committee about their progress.  In some instances, enrollment in 598 (Research and Preparation of M.A. Thesis) course may be required. 
  • Students must attend thesis workshop offered by the UCLA Graduate Division during their final quarter.  Please check the website for schedule.  
  • Thesis must be filed with the Graduate Division by the filing deadline.



For more detailed information on regulations governing the nomination of Master's thesis committee, please check Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study.

  • Thesis  committee must be formally appointed via formal petition signed by all Committee Members and the MAAS Program Chair.  The petition must be submitted to the program's office no later than week 2 of the final quarter of enrollment.  
  • Thesis Committee includes a chair and two members. 
  • The Committee Chair must be a faculty member with whom student has taken a graduate level course.  
  • The Chair of the committee and at least one other member must hold academic appointments in the student's department or interdepartmental program at UCLA (please check African Studies faculty list
  • By petition, one of the minimum three members may be a faculty member from another UC campus who holds an appropriate appointment as listed in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study.

Capstone Project

The Capstone Project consists of the submission of three research papers with focus on Africa (at least one seminar and two upper division papers) and evaluation of them by the ad hoc committee. The original evaluators of each paper will constitute each student’s three-person ad hoc committee.

Students need to submit capstone project committee nomination form to the program's office by Friday of week 2 of their final quarter of enrollment.  For information on capstone committee regulations please scroll down. 

• Students have to submit three papers written under the supervision of three faculty committee members; 

• At least two of those papers must have originated in 200-level courses;

• Each of the papers should be about 17-20 pages in length;

• The papers should reference at least 15-20 sources listed in the bibliography;

• It is the student’s responsibility to contact each member of the committee at least eight weeks before planned graduation, so that the faculty can indicate if they want revisions in the papers before they are formally submitted to the committee;

• It is expected that all three committee members will review the three papers; however, professors who are not experts on the topic of the paper do not need to evaluate that paper;

• The papers are graded Pass/Fail.

• The papers have to be submitted via email to during the last term, by the last day of the quarter in which the student is graduating. The papers should be submitted as three separate documents, preferably in pdf form;

• The  Capstone Project Approval Form has to be submitted via email along with the papers.    It is preferred that the professors sign the same approval form, but if that's not possible, the professors can put their signatures on separate forms.

Students are advised to monitor the progress of these procedures by remaining in touch with members of their Committee and the Coordinator of Student Affairs. Failure to submit completed forms by Program deadlines, failure to may result in the postponement of the graduation to the following academic quarter. (Any exceptions to the above must be pre-approved through the Program Chair/Faculty Advisor.


Faculty Committees

It is the student's choice and responsibility to decide whether they wish to satisfy their final degree requirement by writing a Master's Thesis or by submitting the Capstone Project. It is likewise up to the student to select which faculty will serve on their committee, but:

- Capstone Project committee must be formally appointed via formal petition signed by all Committee Members and the MAAS Program Chair.

- At least two of the three faculty members must be chosen from the African Studies program's Faculty list. (a maximum of one member does not have to be included on the list, however, has to be UCLA ladder faculty).

These above stipulations apply to both Capstone Project and Thesis Committee appointments. Any exceptions to these stipulations must be pre-approved by the Program Chair.

Filing Fee is intended for students who are in good academic standing and who have completed all degree requirements except for filing their thesis or submitting their capstone project. 

To use the Filing Fee Application (in lieu of registration and paying tuition), students must meet the following criteria:

o  You were registered and enrolled at UCLA during the preceding quarter.  (Students who were registered in Spring are eligible for the filing fee in Summer or Fall)

o You have completed all degree requirements for the degree:  

- language petition was submitted to the Graduate Division and approved

- Advancement to Candidacy petition was submitted to the Graduate Division

- if submitting a thesis, your thesis committee nomination form was submitted to the Graduate Division and approved. 

o You do not use more than 12 hours of university resources (including faculty time) since last being registered and the first day of class for the new term

If you meet the above requirements, you can submit filing fee request by the deadline. 

Note: If you do not complete your degree in the quarter that you filed your Filing Fee
request, the university views you as out-of-status (not a student). You will need to
re-apply to the program and be re-admitted in order to complete your degree and graduate. 

African Studies MA Program Handbook