African and African Diaspora Studies | College of Liberal Arts
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AADS currently offers an on-campus Ph.D. degree. Although many of our Ph.D. students will earn their master's degree along the way, we do not offer a stand-alone master's degree.

The AADS Admissions Committee is dedicated to recruiting and admitting exceptional students committed to the study of Black life. The Department is particularly strong in the fields of critical race theory, Black queer theory, Black political theory, Black arts and performance studies, Black Diaspora history and anthropology, and Black feminisms. We are interested in working with students who want to critically engage these areas. 

The AADS Admissions Committee considers the applicant's statement of academic purpose, an academic writing sample, three letters of recommendation from professors who can attest to the applicant's scholarly potential, grade point average, resume and official GRE scores. The Committee's approach to admissions is holistic and considers the totality of the application; therefore no one element of the application will guarantee admission or denial to the program.

Minimum Requirements for Admission
Application Process
Application Deadline
Statement of Academic Purpose
Writing Sample
Application Instructions for Current UT Students

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • A 3.0 or higher GPA in upper-division coursework
  • Official GRE score(s) from an exam taken within the last 5 years
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score(s), if applicable

In addition to the Graduate School’s requirements, AADS also requires the following additional items:

  • statement of academic purpose
  • curriculum vitae or resume
  • writing sample
  • three letters of recommendation

All required documents, including letters of recommendation, must be submitted via ApplyTexas by the application deadline. Incomplete or late applications are not considered. 
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Application Process

Step 1:  Complete the appropriate ApplyTexas online Graduate Application

Complete a U.S. Graduate Application if you are a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent resident (green card holder)
  • Former student of UT Austin

Complete an International Graduate Application if you are a:

  • Non-U.S. citizen
  • Non-permanent resident of the United States (not a green card holder)

Step 2:  Pay the application fee.

  • U.S. Graduate: $65
  • International Graduate: $90

Step 3:  Provide an official transcript from every senior college you have attended. Even if courses taken at one institution are recorded on another college's transcript, transcripts must be submitted from the institution at which the courses were taken. Failure to list all colleges on the application and provide those transcripts may lead to the cancellation of your application for admission or withdrawal of your offer of admission.

Official transcripts bear the facsimile signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution. Transcripts from U.S. colleges or universities must have been produced within the last calendar year, and should include the award of degree printed on the transcript unless coursework is still in progress. Transcripts written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation. 

Each transcript (mark sheet) should contain a complete record of studies at the institution from which it is issued (i.e., the subjects taken and grades [marks] earned in each subject).

If your college or university uses the SPEEDE service you can have your transcript(s) sent electronically. Check with the registrar of your institution to find out if transcripts can be sent via the SPEEDE server.

If your college or university uses Parchment, you can have your transcript(s) sent electronically. Please see the Parchment ordering guide for more information.Please note that due to the sending institution’s system limitations, we cannot currently accept transcripts through Parchment from University of Kansas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), National Louis University, Dartmouth College, Southern Utah University, and Northwestern University.

Otherwise, create and upload a PDF of the official paper transcript issued to you by the registrar using the Document Upload System. It will be considered unofficial but can be used to process your application for admission. You should redact your Social Security number from the transcript before you upload, but other alterations are not permitted. Complete guidelines for uploading transcripts are available in Instructions for Uploading Transcripts, a downloadable guide.

We cannot accept electronic transcripts sent by registrars or third-party entities in any other format (e.g. by email or by links to secure websites). Please do not mail official transcripts or paper copies of your transcripts before you are offered admission. Sending paper copies of documents will significantly delay the processing of your application. 

Complete guidelines for uploading transcripts are available in Instructions for Uploading Transcripts, a downloadable guide.

Step 4:   Ask the appropriate testing agency to send your official test scores to the university. UT-Austin’s institution code for the GRE and TOEFL is 6882. AADS does not require a minimum GRE score for admission to the department; however, the minimum TOEFL and IELTS scores considered acceptable for admission to the university by the Graduate School are:

  • TOEFL: 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT)
  • IELTS: An overall band of 6.5 on the Academic Examination

NOTE: Students may choose to submit GRE scores with their AADS fall 2024 graduate application for admission, or to apply to the program without submitting GRE scores. This is a temporary accommodation being made due to COVID-19 and has been extended to the fall 2024 admissions term only. The TOEFL is not being waived.

Step 5:  Provide the name, position, organization and email address for your three recommenders. After you submit your application, emails will be sent to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit letters from academic references who can confirm their scholarly abilities.

Step 6:  Upload your Statement of Academic Purpose, Resume, and Writing Sample.

Step 7:  Submit your application and track its status through “My Status.” If you have questions about uploading documents and submitting application materials, consult ApplyTexas

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Application Deadline

Students are admitted once per year into the fall term. Applications are accepted between September 1st and December 1st. Late applications are not accepted.

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Statement of Academic Purpose

Describe your intellectual interests, goals, research agenda, and reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree in African and African Diaspora Studies. It is important to clearly identify AADS faculty members with whom you would like to work and why.

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Writing Sample

The required writing sample is a piece of analytical writing, no longer than 30 pages. The writing sample should demonstrate the applicant's analytical writing skills and an ability to construct rigorous and original arguments. If applicants do not have an academic background in black studies, they should use both the statement of purpose and writing sample to demonstrate knowledge of black studies scholarship. 

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Application Instructions for Current UT Students

Students who are currently enrolled in other UT graduate programs are required to submit the same documents requested from external candidates. See the 7-step process, above.  All required documents, including letters of recommendation from UT faculty, must be submitted via ApplyTexas by the deadline.

Completed applications that are received on or before the deadline will be reviewed by the AADS Graduate Admissions Committee. Upon a thorough review of an applicant's qualifications, the Graduate Advisor and AADS Admissions Committee will forward their recommendation for admission to the Graduate and International Admissions Center, the Vice Provost and the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval.

The AADS Graduate Admissions Committee may deny admission to students who have met the prescribed requirements when there are more qualified applicants that can adequately be instructed by the faculty or accommodated in the facilities.

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There is no separate application for funding. All applicants are automatically considered for funding during the admissions process. Most admitted students are awarded generous funding packages, and in many cases they are offered full funding (i.e. tuition assistance, health care insurance, and a living stipend).