Apr 20, 2024  
2020-2022 Graduate School Catalog 
2020-2022 Graduate School Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

African American Studies (MA), Program Information

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Program Faculty

Department Chair

Jeremiah Dibua, Ph.D.

Interim Chair



Program Coordinator

Brett Berliner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

BSSC, Room 335

Tel: (443) 885-2233; Fax: (443) 885-8227

E-Mail: Brett.Berliner@Morgan.edu


Program Faculty

Brett A. Berliner, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Dexter Blackman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Herbert Brewer, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor


Jermiah I. Dibua, Ph.D.



Francis Dube, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Linda Noel, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Alexander Pavuk,

Associate Professor


Lawrence Peskin, Ph.D.



David Taft Terry, Ph.D

Associate Professor


Felicia Thomas, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Program Description

The Master of Arts program in African American Studies concentrates on African American and African Diaspora history, society, and culture.

Program Objectives

The Master of Arts Degree in African American Studies is designed for students who plan to have careers in teaching secondary schools or community colleges; for students who plan careers in journalism, museum or information services, non-governmental organizations, business and industry, and/or for students who are contemplating further scholarly activities.

General Requirements

Candidates for the M.A. degree in African American Studies must complete a minimum of thirty (30) credit hours, at least eighteen (18) of which should be in History and twelve (12) can be from relevant courses in other fields, pass a written comprehensive examination, and submit an acceptably written thesis.

Students have the option of retaking a course in which they earned a “C” grade.  Students may not have in excess of 20% of grades (i.e., 6 credits) in C grades.  These students will be asked to retake coursework to come within compliance. 



To be eligible for admission to the Master of Arts Program in African American Studies, an applicant must:

  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, preferably in History, African American Studies, or related fields.

  • Have a minimum of a minimum of 18 credit hours of undergraduate history or fields related to African American Studies.

  • Possess an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 3.0 or better to be considered for regular admission. Students who possess a cumulative undergraduate G.P.A. of between 2.5 and < 3.0 may be considered for conditional admission. Post-bachelor’s undergraduate credits will not be used to enhance G.P.A. requirements for admission to graduate study.

  • Submit an application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies. All required documents must be submitted as directed by the School of Graduate Studies prior to program review and admission decision.

  • Use the application system to arrange for three letters of recommendation to be placed with the application. These letters must be from officials or faculty members of institutions previously attended who are acquainted with the applicant’s ability for graduate study or from employment supervisors where applicable.

  • Submit a typed exposition regarding the candidate’s personal academic and professional plans and the reasons for selecting Morgan State University.

  • Students for whom instruction has not been in English must submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).


Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and submitting all the required documents does not guarantee that an offer of admission will be made to the applicant. The decision of the Program Admissions Committee involves a review and analysis of all the elements of the application as well as the availability of positions in the program. The committee then recommends to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies that an offer of admission should be made based on that review.


(See the MSU Graduate School Catalog for “General Degree Requirements.”)

M.A. Comprehensive Examination Guidelines

Students can take the comprehensive examination for the M.A. in African American Studies after successfully completing a minimum of 18 credit hours with at least 15 of the credit hours in History including HIST 598 and HIST. 599. Students should inform the Graduate Coordinator at the beginning of the semester in which they plan to take the examination, so that the Graduate Coordinator can contact them about the examination dates and the nature of the questions on the examination. Students must also register to take the examination with the Graduate School.


Students achieve candidacy by successfully passing the comprehensive examination, completing all credit hours courses, and the thesis defense course (HIST. 799).

Once a student achieves candidacy, enrollment in any course other than HIST. 799 or HIST. 797 is generally prohibited. Students seeking additional skills, knowledge, or a certificate must seek approval through the program up to the School of Graduate Studies. The request must be accompanied with a revised Plan of Study.

Thesis/Dissertation Completion

Students enroll for HIST 797 Thesis Guidance when they are ready to begin researching the thesis topic.  Students should have passed the comprehensive exam, or can take the comprehensive exam while taking Thesis Guidance for the first time.  Students receive an “S” grade, which remains until their thesis topics are completed and approved.

Arrangements for thesis writing are made with the Graduate Coordinator and Thesis Advisor, who discuss the proposed thesis topic with the student.  Once the Thesis Advisor and student decide on the thesis committee members and everyone agrees, the student must officially register the thesis topic and the names of the thesis committee members with the Graduate Coordinator.  (The committee consists of three MSU graduate faculty members: the Thesis Advisor, who chairs the committee; at least one other graduate history faculty; and a third professor, who can be from the History Department or a senior faculty member from another department chosen with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator.)  Once the committee has formally agreed to serve, the candidate works independently with the Thesis Advisor until releasing the approved draft to the committee to read.  Students must register for HIST 797 Thesis Guidance (3 hours) each semester while writing the thesis.

The Dissertation and Thesis Handbook, which contains guidelines for the preparation of the thesis, is available on the website of the Graduate School. 

Thesis Deadlines

Spring - Candidates who plan to complete the thesis for the Spring semester graduation should follow these deadlines:

  • Submit all first chapters’ drafts to the Thesis Advisor early in the Fall semester.
  • Submit the revised draft of the entire thesis to the Thesis Advisor before the Fall semester final exams. Once the draft has been approved, the Thesis Advisor will authorize the student to make two copies for the committee to read.
  • Submit the thesis to the committee no later than the third week of January.
  • Submit the final approved and signed thesis to the Graduate School office no later than the specified deadline to ensure May graduation. 

Summer - Candidates who plan to complete the thesis in the summer should register for the first session.  Candidates can only finish in the summer if their committee members will be available to read and sign the thesis during June. 

Fall - Candidates who plan to complete the thesis for fall semester graduation should follow these deadlines:

  • Submit all first chapters’ drafts to the Thesis Advisor early in the Spring semester.
  • Submit revised draft of the entire thesis to the Thesis Advisor by April 30th. Once the draft has been approved, the Thesis Advisor will authorize the student to make two copies for the committee to read.
  • Submit thesis to the committee when classes begin in August/September.
  • Submit final approved and signed thesis to the Graduate School office no later than the specified deadline.

Advisors are not obliged to accept a thesis from a candidate who does not meet the deadlines. Candidates must be registered for HIST 797: Thesis Guidance during the semester the thesis is submitted to the Graduate School.  Faculty are not obliged to supervise thesis writing students who are not registered. To guarantee full supervision from the Thesis Advisor, students should complete the thesis within two semesters of registering for HIST 797: Thesis Guidance. Candidates receive grades of “S” for HIST 797: Thesis Guidance until the thesis is completed and approved by the committee.  When the thesis is approved and submitted to the Graduate School, the student will be withdrawn from Hist 797 and enrolled in Hist 799: Thesis Defense and will earn the grade of Pass (“P”). 

Additional Requirements

Students should refer to the university and College of Liberal Arts policies regarding academic integrity, expectation of professional ethics and behavior, accommodations for disability, and appeals and due process regarding grades and other relevant issues. 

Program Course Requirements

MA African American Studies 30 Credits


* NOTE: Upon achieving Master’s Candidacy, the student should continuously register in Fall and Spring terms for HIST 797 (Thesis Guidance) until the Master’s Thesis is completed and submitted to the School of Graduate Studies for review.  The course is used only when the curriculum is near completion, and the student is completing the research and writing of the thesis. The course registration maintains the student status as a matriculated, full-time student (student is registered for 3 credit hours and the system reports a full-time 9 credit hour load).  


After the Intent to Defend the Master’s Thesis form has been accepted by the School of Graduate Studies, this course registration will be changed to HIST 799 (Thesis Defense) for the given semester and count for 3 credit hours of curricular coursework (HIST 799 will also count for 9 credit hours of load).  Other courses cannot be substituted for HIST 797 (Thesis Guidance). The only eligible grade for HIST 797 (Thesis Guidance) is the grade of “S” and the only acceptable grade for HIST 799 (Thesis Defense) is “P/F” (Pass/Fail).

Electives 18 credits

  • Targeted African American, African, African Diaspora or related topics** 12 credit hours

  • General History Electives*** 6 credit hours of any 500 or above level HIST courses


** NOTE: Student to take 12 credits of targeted coursework pre-approved by the Graduate Coordinator.


*** NOTE: Student should target electives within the History department, but electives from other departments may be acceptable.  History electives and electives from other departments must be pre-approved by the Graduate Coordinator. 


Suggested Elective Courses from other Departments:

Total Credit Hours: 30

Suggested Curriculum Sequence

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