Undergraduate Program African Studies

Panorama of Cape Town and Table mountain, view from Signal Hill, South Africa

African Studies Certificate Overview

Africa has undergone rapid political, economic, and social changes over the past several decades since most of the continent freed itself from European colonialism. In African Studies, you will learn about the continent’s vast and powerful empires prior to colonization and explore themes related to the continent’s history, politics, people, economy, and culture. Students will examine global disparities and the challenges facing the African continent, including unequal development, environmental degradation, and inequity in access to democratic rights, and how social movements are confronting these challenges. The African Studies certificate in the Department of International & Global Studies will equip you with both a breadth and depth of knowledge about contemporary Africa.

Degree Details

  • C
    Certificate Program
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

African Studies Certificate: Why PSU?

Choose PSU’s African Studies certificate if you’re looking for:

  • Exceptional faculty.  Our faculty have extensive experience with teaching and research in the African continent. 
  • Exciting, cutting-edge courses. Our face-to-face and online courses cover topics such as African history and culture, African politics, and post-colonial studies.
  • An interdisciplinary education. We offer a flexible interdisciplinary curriculum that can be tailored to your goals and interests. Our faculty are scholars from diverse disciplines such as geography, history, political science, and economics.
  • Personalized advising. Professional and faculty advisors are there to support your learning goals and guide you to new opportunities.
  • Study abroad opportunities. You can enhance your knowledge of the region by going on one of the many credit-bearing international opportunities in Middle Eastern or North African countries offered through PSU’s Education Abroad.
  • Scholarships and fellowships. Many scholarships are available to students, including Critical Language Scholarships as well as Boren and Fulbright opportunities. 

Our diverse campus is located in the center of downtown Portland, one of the most vibrant cities on the West Coast.

What can I do with a Certificate African Studies?

A certificate in African Studies prepares students for a wide range of careers in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. Graduates of our program have found opportunities all over the world in:

  • Graduate programs in African and International Studies, Business, Political Science, Urban Studies, Public Health, etc.
  • Private-sector employers, including international businesses 
  • Aid organizations such as the International Red Cross
  • Nonprofits focused on issues ranging from health to education, food systems, gender rights, sustainability, and more
  • Business incubators and trade organizations
  • Government agencies, with a focus on international affairs
  • Journalism and media organizations

Whether you want to pursue a career overseas, work in the United States, or prepare for a graduate degree, take the first step with a Portland State University’s African Studies certificate.

Featured Courses

  • INTL 211 Introduction to African Studies
  • INTL 372 Post-Colonial Studies of Africa

Individualized Curriculum

Regional Focus: At least 28 upper-division credits from advisor-approved, area-specific courses appropriate to the student’s regional focus. 


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).