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The Department of Black Studies will undertake a targeted admissions process for the class to enter in Fall 2024. The following faculty members will be accepting new students. Faculty who are not listed will be available to advise in a secondary role, but are not considering new students at this time.


Applicants to the Ph.D. program in Black Studies are expected to submit the following by December 15th:

TOEFL or IELTS test scores are required of most international applicants. Official scores must be taken no more than two years before the intended quarter of entry and must come directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). For example, to be considered valid for Fall 2019 admission, TOEFL scores must be no older than September 2017.

The Graduate School's school code for TOEFL is 1565. Test takers may be asked by ETS to choose the "department" to which they want their scores sent. While you should choose the department most closely aligned to the program to which you are applying, we do not use this information to distribute scores. ALL scores sent to school code 1565 are made available to our programs, regardless of the "departments" selected on the ETS form. For more information regarding the TOEFL CLICK HERE.

Copies of your IELTS scores must be sent directly from IELTS to your admitting department. For more information regarding IELTS CLICK HERE.

You will also be asked scan and upload a copy of your score report (if you have it available) while submitting your online application. This uploaded version is not considered "official" and will be used only for preliminary review purposes until your official scores have been received from ETS or IELTS.

GRE scores are NOT required.


A suitable background for an interdisciplinary advanced degree in Black Studies will be a significant factor. This is most clearly signaled by an undergraduate degree in African and/or African American Studies, but may also be satisfied by relevant coursework in African American Studies, African Studies, Ethnic Studies (with a concentration on Blacks in the U.S. and/or the diaspora), or Area Studies (e.g., Caribbean Studies, Latin American Studies). We will definitely consider applicants with majors in the traditional disciplines that illustrate significant interest in African American Studies through their additional coursework and/or baccalaureate work/research.

Additional Considerations: While we do not yet offer a terminal MA degree, students entering our program with a Masters degree may be exempt from certain course requirements to be decided in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies. Generally, only Masters degrees in African American or African Diasporic Studies will be considered as satisfying requirements toward the degree. Students with Masters in other fields must illustrate a concentration through significant coursework and writing in African American Studies.


Applications for the Ph.D. program must be received by December 15th.


Students admitted to the Ph.D. program typically receive five years of funding, including a fellowship in the first year and teaching and research fellowships or departmental assistantships in subsequent years. Students will also receive summer support for five years. Fellowships and assistantships cover the full cost of tuition and provide a stipend. Ongoing funding is contingent upon the student's satisfactory progress towards the degree (please see the Guide to Graduate Study for details).

Some Ph.D. students may be eligible for funding through the Illinois Consortium for Educational Opportunity Program (ICEOP), a state-funded, need-based program awarding fellowships that provide a stipend, with tuition scholarships provided by the Graduate School. To be eligible, minority students must be Illinois residents and intend to seek faculty positions in Illinois upon degree completion.


Please see the department's Admissions FAQ Page.


General information on graduate study at Northwestern University is available at The Graduate School's Website.