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Requirements & Sequence


Whether entering with a B.A. or an M.A., all incoming AAS Ph.D. students will take two years of full-time course work. A full-time course load of at least 9 credit hours per term—fall, spring, and summer—will be required for all AAS Ph.D. students throughout their matriculation. A total of 54 credit hours at the 500-level or above will be required to advance to candidacy. Of the 54 credit hours, at least 30 credit hours—or 10 courses—must be in coursework other than Directed Study or Research, Examination Preparation, or Dissertation Prospectus Preparation. Though there is no program-wide language requirement, individual Ph.D. students may require language training based on their research interests. In this case, students—in consultation with their advising committee and the Director of Graduate Studies—will complete any necessary language training before the end of Year 2.

 The course requirements for the AAS PhD will include the following:

  • Four (4) core courses: AAS 701: “Proseminar in African American Studies,” AAS 702: “Readings & Methods in African American Studies,” AAS 703: “Theorizing Blackness,” and AAS 598R: “Dissertation Colloquium”
  • At least three (3) cognate field topics courses (or external course equivalents as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies); at least one (1) of the cognate field topics courses must be a research and writing course with a W suffix.
  • At least one (1) and no more than three (3) external methods or theory courses. In sum, all matriculating PhD students will take a minimum of four (4) theory/methods courses: 1) AAS 703: “Theorizing Blackness” (Theory); 2) AAS 702: “Readings & Methods in African American Studies” (Methods); 3) at least one cognate field topics course with a W suffix (Methods); and, 4) an external theory/methods requirement—based on their research needs and interests. In addition, AAS 701: “Proseminar in African American Studies” is designed as an introduction to the research methods and approaches deployed by 6-8 core graduate faculty during each iteration of this course offering. Students have the flexibility to take at least three (3) other courses outside of the core and cognate field requirements which could be theory/methods courses—depending on their individual need.
  • One (1) qualifying exam prep course (3–9 credit hours) and one (1) dissertation prospectus prep course (3–9 credit hours).

Jones Program in Ethics (JPE)

AAS Ph.D. students will participate in all three elements of the JPE program as follows:

  1. JPE 600: This six-hour summer workshop, which introduces graduate students to the foundations of ethical reflection, will be taken during the first term of Year 1.
  2. Program-Based Instruction: The six-hour minimum, program-based ethics material requirement will be covered in a core course—AAS 701: “Proseminar in African American Studies.” In AAS 701, two of the first four weeks and one of the final four weeks will incorporate common readings and facilitated discussions about research ethics and scholarly integrity.
  3. JPE 610: The minimum of four workshops will be completed by AAS Ph.D. students within the first two years of coursework at the pace of one workshop each semester. Sponsored by the Laney Graduate School and the Center for Ethics, these workshops will include any other relevant lectures or workshops. Though students register for the workshops individually, the Director of Graduate Studies will ensure that each student enrolls in one JPE 610 workshop each term for the first two years in the Ph.D. program. Participation in the workshops will be recorded on the student’s transcript. A schedule of upcoming workshops can be found on the JPE website.

Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity Program (TATTO)

AAS Ph.D. students will participate in all four stages of the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program. TATTO provides graduate students with credible training and optimal teaching experience, while ensuring that they are not overtaxed with teaching responsibilities. Graduate students will not serve more than a total of four semesters in any combination of teaching assistantships and associateships during their first four years at Emory. The first three of the four stages of the TATTO program must be completed before applying for candidacy.

  1. The first stage of TATTO is a short summer workshop to be taken before the fall semester of Year 2. Faculty for this course are drawn from among the best teachers across the University. The syllabus covers general topics of importance to all students, including syllabus writing and grading, lecturing and leading discussions, the use of writing as a pedagogical tool, the conduct of lab sessions, and the use of new technologies. Because the summer course is offered between semesters, it is credited to a student’s transcript the following fall when students register for TATTO 600.
  2. In the second stage, programs provide training that addresses intellectual problems and teaching strategies from the perspective of particular disciplines. The AAS Ph.D. program will facilitate this training through a series of annual professionalization workshops, organized by the Job Placement Officer each Spring. The two workshops dedicated to the training of AAS teaching assistants and associates will focus on general pedagogical questions (e.g., developing a syllabus, structuring class lectures or discussions, grading) and the specific challenges faced by instructors teaching courses on race, gender, and sexuality. Joining the Job Placement Officer for the two workshops will be the AAS Director of Undergraduate Studies and two or three additional AAS faculty—including our resident Educational Studies specialist—who have long-standing reputations as exceptional classroom instructors.
  3. The teaching assistantship, the third stage of the TATTO program, varies from department to department. The defining characteristic of the teaching assistantship across all departments and programs is a controlled, carefully monitored initial teaching opportunity. The teaching assistant is closely supervised by a faculty member who provides continuing guidance and evaluation. During the semester of the teaching assistantship, the student registers for TATTO 605. In the AAS Ph.D. program, all doctoral students will serve as teaching assistants during Year 2.
  4. The teaching associateship, the fourth stage of the TATTO program, advances the graduate student to a teaching opportunity with greater responsibilities. The Laney Graduate School favors a co-teaching model for this stage, one in which the graduate student and a faculty member collaborate in all aspects of a course. In many graduate programs, graduate teaching associates are largely responsible for teaching a course of their own design. In all cases, teaching associates can expect attentive mentoring and evaluation. During the semester of the teaching associateship, students register for TATTO 610. In the AAS Ph.D. program, all doctoral students will serve as teaching assistants during either Year 4 or 5—depending on the nature of dissertation research to be conducted, the successful receipt of external fellowship funding, and other factors.