John L Warfield Center

Ph.D. Program

Doctoral Application Instructions for Current UT Students.  

The deadline for applying to the program is January 5, 2013.  Since you are currently enrolled it is not required that you formally re-apply to the institution, however the AADS Graduate Admissions Committee does ask that you submit the same documents requested from external candidates:

  • A statement of purpose: Describeintellectual 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:Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit letters from academic references who can confirm the prospective student's scholarly abilities.
  • Academic Writing Sample:A piece of analytical writing, no longer than 30 pages.
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume

Forward all of the required documents to, by January 5, 2013.  Please ask your references to do the same.  If you are having problems securing all of the documentation by the deadline, please notify our Graduate Coordinator, Nicole Thompson Beavers, via email so that she may inform the committee of your status.  We realize that it may be difficult accessing all of your external documents in such a short window of time during the holidays, but do the best that you can and keep us updated.  If you are in town during the holidays and prefer to use hard copies of your submission materials, we will be in the office until 12/21/2012 (returning  1/2/2013) and will be happy to assist with scanning and uploading the documents.  

Doctoral Degree Coursework

The Ph.D. in African and African Diaspora Studies requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, including dissertation research and writing. 

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

All Ph.D. candidates must pass a comprehensive examination that consists of two parts:

1)    Bibliographic exam - three essays each covering an area of theoretical and/or topical focus within the chosen concentration.

2)    Prospectus - a discussion of a dissertation topic, including major arguments, literature review, and methodology.


Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination and all Ph.D. coursework (including foreign language proficiency), students may file for doctoral candidacy and register for dissertation hours.  The dissertation serves as a culminating original body of scholarly, independent research demonstrating the candidate's expertise in their selected area of concentration.  For details on the formal application for doctoral candidacy see  The application must be approved by the dissertation supervisor, the Graduate Advisor, the Graduate Studies Committee chair and the Graduate Dean.

In consultation with the Graduate Advisor, the candidate selects a dissertation supervisor (co-supervising is possible) and at least four other committee members (or three others, if the committee is co-chaired). At least three members of the dissertation committee must be members of the Graduate Studies Committee in AADS, and at least one member must be from an outside department or program.

An off-campus scholar may be appointed to a committee if the application for candidacy is accompanied by the scholar's curriculum vitae and a letter stating that the person is willing to serve and that the University will not pay travel expenses or provide recompense for such service. If later changes to the committee are necessary, requests must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies through the African and African Diaspora Department.

When the candidate has completed the research and writing phase of her or his dissertation, the candidate then prepares for an oral defense before faculty and other interested members of the academy.  The Request for Final Oral must be signed by all committee members and submitted to the Graduate Dean's Office at least two weeks before the examination is to be held.  The defense consists of an oral examination on the dissertation and the student's future research plans.  At least four members of the committee must participate.  For more details on the oral defense process see

Candidates are encouraged to complete the Ph.D. in a timely manner, however candidacy is automatically subject to review three years after admission to candidacy and annually thereafter.  This review is conducted by the supervisory committee for the Dissertation, which makes specific recommendations to the Graduate Advisor, the Graduate Studies Committee, and the Graduate Studies Steering Committee Chair, who, in turn, make a recommendation to the Dean of Graduate Studies.

For more information on dissertation requirements, guidelines and timelines, visit

Language Proficiency

Ph.D. students must demonstrate proficiency in a non-English language before advancing to candidacy; ideally, this should take place before the qualifying examination.  The language will be determined by the student, his/her advisor and approved by the GSC, and should reflect the student's research interests.  The language requirement will be fulfilled with a translation exam administered and evaluated by AADS faculty members.  The student's advisor will determine whether or not the student should also demonstrate speaking proficiency in the chosen language, in which case a proficiency exam will be required. 

Non-English proficiency is not required upon admission to the AADS graduate program. 

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

Portfolio Program Information

  • John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies

    The University of Texas at Austin
    210 W 24th St.
    Mailcode D7200
    Austin, Texas, 78705