Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

African American & Diasporic Studies Certificate

Participation in the Certificate Program

Graduate students interested in participating in the Graduate Certificate program and submitting application materials should contact the DAAS Graduate Certificate Coordinator at


Admissions Process

DAAS accepts rolling admissions to the certificate program. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible in their graduate program, but Rackham requires that students wait to enroll until they have completed one full term of graduate study at U of M.

Graduate Students who are interested in applying to this program should contact members of the DAAS Graduate Committee at

Application Materials

Materials to be submitted to the appropriate online application:

  1. A letter of application (300-600 words) explaining your interest in the Certificate Program and your background in African American and Diasporic Studies
  2. A Photocopy of your latest UM transcript
  3. A letter of support from your advisor
  4. A list of proposed courses that will fulfill the Program requirements


Course Requirements

A total of fifteen credit hours is required for earning the Graduate Certificate, including two required DAAS courses (Pro-seminar and Capstone). Up to seven of the fifteen credit hours may be for courses required for the student’s degree; however, credits may not be triple-counted (e.g., the same course cannot simultaneously count towards the degree program, the GCP in DAAS, and another certificate program). Non-Rackham degree programs may have their own rules regulating double counting. Students should consult with their advisor regarding which courses can be approved and which can be double-counted.

AAS 601: Pro-seminar on Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American/Diasporan Studies (3 Credits)

All GCP students intending to obtain a graduate certificate in African American and Diasporic Studies must enroll in the pro-seminar AAS 601. Designed to provide a strong interdisciplinary foundation and familiarize students with a wide range of methodological approaches, the course introduces students to questions and themes that have shaped and continue to shape the fields of African American and Diasporic Studies. The Professor offering AAS 601 may invite DAAS colleagues and visiting professors to contribute their particular strengths to cross-disciplinary conversations. This course is typically offered during the Fall term.


Capstone Research Course: AAS 891 Seminar or AAS 890 Independent Study (3 Credits) 

GCP students must also enroll in AAS 891 (Capstone Seminar) or AAS 890 (Independent Study). The Capstone Research course enables students to complete a culminating, interdisciplinary research project—such as a dissertation chapter, a prelim, or a Master’s thesis—that is subject to approval by the student’s faculty advisor and the DAAS Graduate Curriculum Committee. Each student in AAS 891/AAS 890 is required to present his or her work in at least one public forum, such as a lecture or a brown-bag. DAAS runs a number of speakers’ series that will facilitate this requirement. Students may also fulfill the requirement by giving a presentation in their primary department or at a conference or symposium hosted by U-M, by another university, or by a recognized academic professional organization. Students must provide appropriate documentation of their public presentations and submit their papers—whether presented at DAAS or elsewhere—to the Director of Graduate Studies for official approval.

Breadth Requirement (9 credits total)
In addition to the pro-seminar and AAS 891, all GCP students must complete three more graduate-level courses in African American, Caribbean, or Diasporic Studies. At least one of those three courses must be in a field or discipline clearly outside the student’s primary department. All credit hours beyond the pro-seminars and the Capstone requirements must include approved graduate-level courses.

Students are initially assigned an individual faculty advisor, generally a DAAS faculty member or affiliate. They may request reassignment to an advisor of their choice at any time. Students are encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor as they move through the program. The program also has a designated Graduate Program Coordinator, who is generally the faculty member offering the pro-seminar. The Coordinator oversees the assignment of students’ individual faculty advisors and handles petitions to have courses approved as part of the breadth requirement.