Application Process

The Graduate Group in Africana Studies welcomes your application to our program. All applications should be submitted online via the SLATE Application.

The Graduate Group in Africana Studies admits a small class of highly qualified students to the doctoral program each year. Admission to the Graduate Group is highly competitive. When reading applications, we consider every element of the application carefully, in particular:

  • The match between the applicant's intellectual interests and the strengths of our faculty.
  • The academic record, with close attention to grades in history and related subjects.
  • The recommendations of three faculty members.
  • Statement of Purpose (2 pages).
  • TOEFL/TSE scores, if applicable.

In the Statement of Purpose, all Ph.D. applications within the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences should address the following:

Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunitiesin your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.

Recommendations can be sent online via the SLATE Application.

Official transcripts and TOEFL/TSE scores should also be sent directly to the Graduate Division of Arts & Sciences Admissions office.

All applications to the Ph.D. program in Africana Studies must be submitted no later than midnight of December 15 for admission into the Ph.D. program for the Fall term (beginning in September) of the next year. Applicants are urged to file their applications and supporting materials as early as possible to allow time for the most careful consideration.

Students will be notified of their admission status by mid-to-late February.

Writing Sample

A writing sample is a required part of the application (15-20 pages). The writing sample should be one paper and should match the applicant's disciplinary concentration.

All writing samples should be submitted on-line via the SLATE Application, by December 15.

Contact the PhD Program in Africana Studies 

Graduate Chair
Dr. Eve Troutt Powell


Department of Africana Studies
3401 Walnut Street, Suite 331A 
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228 

Phone: 215.898.4965
Fax: 215.573.2052

Nondiscrimination Statement

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).