Celebrating 50 Years of Granting PhDs

MSU’s doctoral program in African History has long been one of the premier programs in the nation and is ranked #3 by US News & World Report. From 1967 to 2019, 90 students from Africa, Europe, Latin America and the United States completed PhDs in our program. Professors Nwando AchebePeter Alegi,  Jamie Monson, and Walter Hawthorne specialize in West, East and South African history, with a focus on women, gender, sport, popular culture, science, technology, politics, China-Africa relations, slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. Georgina Montgomery, John Aerni-Flessner, a Lesotho specialist, Aminda Smith, a China specialist, and David Wheat and Peter Beattie, who are Atlantic and African diaspora scholars, often work closely with Africanist graduate students, as do faculty Comparative Black History and African American History.

Applicants to our program are considered for generous multi-year funding packages that include a stipend, tuition, health insurance, and research support. Our students benefit from MSU’s African Studies Center, which offers instruction in many African languages and often provides fellowships under the FLAS Title VI program. Students also value the research assistance of Africana librarians who staff one of the three largest Africana library collections in the United States. And students derive much from having the Journal of West African History and African History & Culture Book Series, both by the MSU Press, in the department. In addition, MSU History leads the way in African digital scholarship through H-NetMATRIX (MSU’s digital humanities center), the “Africa Past & Present” podcast, and the Lab for Education in and Advancement of Digital Research (LEADR).

African history has been one of a small number of fields in the discipline in which the number of jobs equaled the number of new PhDs. The future looks bright for Africanist scholars, and the MSU Africa program’s job placement rate for graduates has long been excellent. Our PhDs hold positions at a range of institutions, from Research I universities to liberal arts colleges.

Apply to be a part of an outstanding cohort of Africanist graduate students. Please contact us with questions. We welcome inquiries: and 517-355-7500.

See the list of PhDs granted African History at MSU.

Recent Graduates and Placements

MSU’s African History program is featured in: