African and African Disapora Studies Department
African and African Disapora Studies Department

Frequently Asked Questions for Prospective Students


How are you taking into consideration the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on applicants?

We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to all and that student experiences in the wake of this have not been equitable. In response to these events, we recognize that some applicants will have concerns about the impacts these events could have on admissions. The graduate programs at the University of Texas-Austin are dedicated to recruiting and supporting diverse, talented students, employing holistic application review processes and supporting students when they arrive on campus. We want to be clear that we understand,
  • students have been facing and will face unprecedented challenges during this time.
  • testing centers have suspended operations, or moved to remote testing.
  • many students and institutions have chosen to adopt the Pass/Fail (or Credit/No Credit) option due to these events.
  • due to this disruption students may not have performed to their usual abilities during times of remote study or challenging classroom adjustments.
  • some research projects will have been interrupted or will be incomplete as a result of university and facility closures.
  • many students will be unable to take on internships and summer research programs or other professional development initiatives.
  • there are myriad other challenging circumstances that have arisen in individuals’ experiences.

We will take this all into consideration as we review applications holistically, understanding that our goal continues to be a graduate student cohort of future leaders, full of diverse life experiences and perspectives that will add new dimensions to our existing graduate community.

Application Questions

How do I apply to the African and African Diaspora Ph.D. program at the University of Texas-Austin?

Information about our program, faculty and research projects, as well as information on application materials are on the AADS website. For program information, click on ‘Graduate Program,’ ‘PhD Program,’ and ‘Curriculum.’ For application materials, click ‘Graduate Program,’ PhD Program,’ and ‘Apply,’ and follow the links.

Do you offer a terminal master’s degree?

Although PhD students are able to earn M.A. degrees, we do not admit applicants directly into the M.A. program.

Do you offer an online program?

The Ph.D. program is a full-time, on-campus program. An online degree is not offered.

How do I submit my application?

Applicants will start the application process by submitting the ApplyTexas application.

When is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply for the Ph.D. program is December 1. The application deadline is firm. Late and incomplete applications are not considered. In order to be considered for admission, all application materials must be submitted by the application deadline.

What does a completed application consist of?

A completed application includes: the application, application fee, (3) letters of recommendation, writing sample, statement of academic purpose, CV, transcripts from all senior colleges attended, and official GRE and TOEFL scores (international students).

I can’t afford the application fee. How do I apply for a fee waiver?

If you can’t afford the application fee and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident pursuing your first graduate degree, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. If you intend to seek a waiver, do not pay the application fee when prompted. Instead, submit your application and indicate you will pay later. Details about applying for a fee waiver are available on the Graduate Admissions website.

I have a bachelor's degree. Can I apply directly to the Ph.D. program, or do I need to get a master's degree first?

Students who apply to the program with an undergraduate degree, will earn their master's degree in the course of the doctoral program of work. There is no terminal AADS master’s degree available through the department.

I submitted most of my application online before the deadline, but I know a few items are still missing. Will it be considered?

No. The admissions committee begins the decision-making process in early December, shortly after the application close date. Since funding decisions are an integral part of the admissions process, applications that are incomplete on the application deadline are not considered.

Can I add materials, or change information in my application, once it's been submitted?

No. Unfortunately, no edits are allowed to an already submitted application; however, it is possible to add additional materials (e.g. recommendations, transcripts, etc.) by contact graduate admissions directly for assistance. Make sure to include your full name and UT EID on your correspondence.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

A minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation should be submitted.  You will be given the opportunity to list the name, position, organization and email address for your recommenders when you complete the application. After you submit your application, emails will be sent to your recommenders directing them to a website where they may upload their letters.

One of my recommenders didn’t receive the recommendation link. What do I do?

MyStatus offers a self-service feature you can use to resend the request email to your recommenders, if necessary. Use it to supply an alternate email address if your recommender’s spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender or revise your right-to-view status from “retained” to “waived.”

Is the GRE required?

Official GRE scores (general exam) from an exam taken with the last 5 years are required by the University of Texas-Austin Graduate School. NOTE: Students may choose to submit GRE scores with their AADS fall 2021 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 is applicable to the fall 2021 admissions term only. The TOEFL is not being waived.

I am an international applicant. Is the TOEFL/IELTS required?

International students (non-U.S. citizens or green card holders) applying to UT Austin must submit either an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score report demonstrating an adequate knowledge of English. The Institutional TOEFL (ITP) is not accepted. TOEFL/IELTS scores must be 2 years old or newer.


International applicants who are from a qualifying country are exempt from this requirement. Additionally, applicants are exempt from the requirement if they possess a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution or a qualifying countryThe requirement is not waived for applicants who have earned a master’s—but not a bachelor’s—degree from a similar institution.

What are the minimum required GRE and TOEFL/IELTS scores?

There is no minimum GRE score required. An overall score of 550 (paper test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test) on the TOEFL OR an overall band of 6.5 on the IELTS is considered the minimum acceptable for admission to UT Austin. There are no minimums for AADS.

What is the GRE/TOEFL institution code for the UT Austin AAADS graduate program?

The Educational Testing Service institution code for the GRE and TOEFL is 6882. It is not necessary to use a department code. To fulfill the requirement with scores from the IELTS, have an official paper score report sent to the Graduate and International Admissions Center

What should be in the 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.

When should I expect to receive a decision on my application?

The admissions committee anticipates that all admissions decisions will be made by mid- to late-March.

Transfer of Credits

I have taken graduate level courses from another college. Are any of these courses transferable?

Once a student has been admitted and has matriculated at UT, they may wish to transfer graduate level coursework completed at another university to meet degree requirements.


Students working toward master’s degrees. A master’s student seeking to use coursework completed at another institution must provide the AADS Graduate Studies Committee with an official transcript, the official explanation of the institution’s course numbering system and grading system, and the course description from the catalog of the institution.

Along with these documents, the Petition to Transfer a Graduate Course From Another Institution form should be submitted by the AADS graduate adviser for approval by the graduate dean. This form must be submitted before 12 hours of graduate coursework are completed at UT Austin.

  • A maximum of six semester hours of work from other institutions may be approved for use on the program of work.
  • The grade must be either A or B.
  • The course must be graduate level. 
  • Courses may not have been used toward another degree.
  • Coursework earned on the quarter system is normally calculated at two-thirds of the credit for courses offered on a semesterly basis. Thus, a three credit-hour course taken on the quarter system may be transferred as no more than two credit hours.
  • Coursework taken abroad or on other credit-hour systems will be recalculated for semester-hour credit and the amount of credit approved will be determined by an evaluation of the content of the course as compared to an equivalent UT Austin course.
  • If approved for use on the program of work, the course must be used within the six-year time limit. Courses older than six years may not be transferred.
  • The course may not be taken at another institution during the semester of intended graduation at UT Austin, because the grades may not be received in time to certify the student’s program of work.

Students wishing to transfer credits should contact the AADS Graduate Coordinator for assistance with the process.

Students working toward Ph.D. degrees. There is no official Graduate School process for transferring graduate level credits into the Ph.D. Program. PhD students should contact the Graduate Coordinator for assistance with the transfer of credit process for AADS Ph.D. students.

Visit the Department

How do I schedule a visit to the African and African Diaspora Department?

We invite our top PhD applicants to visit the department each spring; however, visitors are welcome year-round. If you are going to be in the Austin area, you should feel free to reach out to the professors who are working and researching in your area/s of interest and plan a visit on your own.

Establishing Texas Residency

How do I become a resident of the state of Texas for in-state tuition purposes?

When you apply for admission, the university uses information you provide on the admissions application to make an initial determination about residency. (The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board establishes the rules that govern Texas residency for higher education in Texas.)


A student entering the University for the first time, or reentering after an absence of more than one semester, should carefully review the Coordinating Board rules in order to be prepared to pay the required tuition. Information and advice on residency status are available from the University’s Office of Admissions, (512) 475-7391. Information about establishing residency is published by the Office of Admissions.

Can Military Servicemembers Establish Texas Residency?

Servicemembers may base residency on the state they list as their legal residence, as found on the Leave and Earning Statement (LES). If you do not list Texas as your state of legal military residence, you may be eligible to apply for a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition. College for All Texans publishes information about tuition waivers for military members who are not Texas residents.

Financial Aid for Graduate Students

What are the expected tuition and fees?

Use the calculators on the Texas One Stop website to calculate total cost of attendance which includes the combined cost of tuition, housing and meals (on-campus, off-campus or at home).

How do I apply for federal financial aid?

In most instances a domestic graduate student (U.S. citizen or green card holder) will be eligible for enough federal aid to cover their total cost of attendance. Students in need of federal financial aid must complete the FAFSA. Information regarding the FAFSA, as well as contact information for those in need of assistance, can be found on the Texas One Stop website.

How do I apply for teaching or graduate research assistant positions?

All applicants are automatically considered for funding, including TA/GRA’ships, during the admissions process. A separate application is not required.