African Studies Joint Degree (MA)

The joint degree is aimed at students wishing to address the cultural issues rooted in environmental dilemmas.  By integrating the study of environmental sciences with a cross-disciplinary exposure to the arts, history, cultures, politics, and development of Africa, students can go on to a doctorate or seek a terminal M.A degree before entering the business world, the media, or government service. The joint degree is strongly supported by the Yale Council on African Studies, and the Macmillan Center.


Students in the three-year joint program earn a Master of Arts degree (MA)in African Studies from Yale’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and one of four degrees from the School of the Environment (YSE), Master of Environmental Management (MEM),Master of Environmental Science (MESc), Master of Forest Science (MFS), or Master of Forestry (MF).
Pursuing a joint program reduces the total time of study by one year.

Course of Study

Each environment degree program requires a completion of 36 credits as well as a summer internship and a thesis or a capstone project.  In addition, all joint-degree students are required to attend three weeks of technical skills training before beginning their studies at YSE.  These are hands-on workshops, offered every August, that teach plant identification, ecosystems management, land measurement, and urban ecosystem analysis. Please see Degree Programs at YSE for more information.
For the Master of Arts Program in African Studies, a student may choose one of the following areas of concentration: history; anthropology; political science; economics; sociology; arts and literatures; languages and linguistics; religion; environmental and development studies. The joint program requires twelve non-YSE courses: two compulsory introductory interdisciplinary seminars, Research Methods in African Studies (AFST 501) and Topics in African Studies (AFST 764), four courses of instruction in an African language, four courses in one of the above areas of concentration, four other approved courses offered in the Graduate School or professional schools, and two terms of Directed Reading and Research (AFST 900 a or b) during which students will complete the required thesis. A student who is able to demonstrate advanced proficiency in an African language may have the language requirement waived and substitute four other approved courses.


Each school individually admits students in accordance with its own criteria. Prospective students may apply to the program prior to matriculation by submitting a separate application to each school during a single admissions cycle. For more information on admission, please visit YSE Masters Admissions and theGraduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Students pay tuition for three semesters at YSE, and three semesters at GSAS.  Fellowships awarded to joint degree students from the African Studies program are applied to the semesters in which the student is enrolled through GSAS. For information on fellowships offered to African Studies students, see Yale Council on African Studies Fellowships. For more information on applying for financial aid at YSE, please see the YSE financial aid website.

Contact Info

School of the Environment
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Phone: 800 825-0330
African Studies Program
115 Prospect St,
New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: 203 432-9903
David Simon, Director of Graduate Studies (African Studies)