John L Warfield Center

Admissions Instructions and Information

Graduate Admissions

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 particularly interested in working with students who want to critically engage these areas. 

The AADS Admissions Committee considers the applicant's statement of purpose, an academic writing sample, three letters of recommendation from professors who can attest to the applicant's scholarly potential, grade point average, and 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. There is no separate application for financial aid. All applicants are automatically considered for financial aid and most admitted students are awarded generous financial aid and in many cases full funding (i.e. tuition assistance, health care insurance, and a living stipend).

Statement of Academic Purpose

The Committee places a strong emphasis on the statement of purpose and writing sample. Well-crafted statements that present an interesting and sophisticated research agenda are encouraged. The Committee requires that applicants identify specific current African and African Diaspora Studies Department faculty with whom they would like to work. These faculty members will be critical to assessing the application during the admission process.

Writing Sample

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. 

Minimum Requirements

All applicants must meet the Graduate School's minimum requirements, including:

  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited university.
  • A 3.0 or higher GPA in upper-division coursework.
  • Official GRE score(s)
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score(s), if applicable.

African and African Diaspora Studies admits students in the fall semester only.

The deadline to apply for matriculation in the Fall semester of 2013 is January 5, 2013.

Application Process

The following materials are required for the application:

  • Application fee: $65 for US citizens and permanent residents; $90 for international applicants.
  • Official transcripts:  From each college and/or university attended.
  • Official GRE score project:  Standard GRE test must have been taken within the past five years. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) code for the University of Texas at Austin is 6882.
  • Statement of purpose:  Submitted through the online application form. Describe intellectual interests, goals, research agenda, and reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree in African and African Diaspora Studies. Identify AADS faculty members with whom you would like to work.
  • Three letters of recommendation:  Submitted through the online application form.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit letters from academic references who can confirm the prospective student's scholarly abilities. Letters not submitted through the online system will not be accepted.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Academic Writing Sample:  A piece of analytical writing, no longer than 30 pages. NOTE: This document is not part of the online application. It should be uploaded separately through the Application Status Check website.

All required application materials except transcripts should be submitted electronically.

Important information about transcripts:

You must upload one copy of the official academic transcript from every senior college you have attended. Transcripts are not required from junior colleges and community colleges. See instructions for uploading the pdf of your transcript.

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. Transcripts must have been produced by the sending institution within the past calendar year.  The application process can be expedited by having transcript(s) sent electronically. Institutions on the Texas Electronic Transcript Network or which use the national ANSI ASC X12 transcript format (SPEEDE) can provide electronic transcripts.

International transcripts:

If documents are written in a language other than English, complete and official English translations must be uploaded together with the original language records. 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.

Application Process and Review

 After you have completed your online application and submitted all

required materials to Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC) and AADS, your file will be compiled and forwarded to AADS.  AADS administrators will add any documents sent directly to the Department.

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

 When there are more qualified applicants than can adequately be instructed by the faculty or accommodated in the facilities, the AADS Graduate Studies Committee may deny admission to students who have met the prescribed requirements.

 If you feel your grade point averages or test scores are not valid indicators of your ability, you should explain your concerns in a letter to the AADS Graduate Advisor, Dr. João Costa Vargas

Please contact E. Nicole Thompson Beavers, the Graduate Program Coordinator, at or 512-471-5203 with questions.