The African Studies Program at Ohio University is a U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center for Africa. The African Studies Program provides students, scholars, and members of the broader community with opportunities to develop their understanding of this important world region. Facilities for research and language instruction, as well as formal degree studies, are available through the program. Students may earn a Master of Arts degree with a major in African Studies awarded by the Center for International Studies.
The African Studies Program grew out of the excitement emanating from the decolonization of the continent in the mid-1960s and the awareness of the important role Africa could play in U.S. and world affairs. Today the multi-disciplinary nature of the program allows students to build a course of study reflecting Africa’s contemporary reality. Themes include the socioeconomic development of the continent in the context of Africa’s grand cultural and historical traditions, ecological sustainability, the African family, the health of Africa, and a broad array of the African arts. Students may also examine Africa as an excellent case-study of the process of social change in the modern world.
The Institute for the African Child promotes and coordinates research and advocacy for the world’s most marginalized of population groups—the children and youth of the African continent.
The Ohio University Board of Trustees established the Institute for the African Child in 1998. This new initiative is designed to expand the conversation among African Studies scholars, to include those in the professional fields of communication, education, health and human services, and medicine, to work together on issues that affect Africa’s children. Clearly there are no one-dimensional problems in the field of children and youth issues in Africa. Our intent is to provide a new cross-disciplinary venue for conferences, fellowships, and collaborative research that will lead to improvement in the living conditions of this important population. The establishment of the Institute for the African Child is also a new opportunity to raise awareness of the impact of the health-education-information nexus on minority children in Africa’s Diasporas.
Students are required to complete a minimum of 70 quarter hours of course work. Ohio University departments offering African Studies core courses include Anthropology, African American Studies, Biological Sciences, Communication, Economics, Education, English, Theater, Environmental and Plant Biology, Geography, History, International Studies, Linguistics, Nutrition, Political Science, Classics and World Religions, Dance, Music, Interdisciplinary Arts, and Health Sciences.
Proficiency in an African language is an important element of the African Studies degree and is seen as an essential tool for understanding the culture and working on the continent. The requirement can be fulfilled through a satisfactory FSI score, completion of the proper course work, or evidence of fluency in an African language.
African languages offered at Ohio University include Somali, Swahili, modern standard Arabic, Sudanese Arabic, Akan, Tigrinya, and Wolof. A wider variety of languages also are available through Ohio University’s participation in the Summer Cooperative African Language Institute (SCALI), a seven-week intensive summer language program.
Course work may be completed in five quarters and must include the completion of one of the following options under the Capstone requirement: a comprehensive written examination during the last term of a student’s program, a professional project, or a thesis.
In addition students are expected to attend Center forums, guest lectures about Africa and participate in some community outreach.
Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships are available to qualified M.A. and Ph.D. students. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Fellows receive a stipend of $15,000 plus tuition and fees. FLAS fellows are required to study an African language and carry a full-time academic load of 15–18 graduate units per quarter. Competitive applicants demonstrate a strong Africa career and/or research interest. Applicants should indicate in their “statements of purpose” how the African language study would enhance their research/ career goals.