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MIRS: AS Subplan

The Masters in International and Regional Studies (MIRS), African studies subplan, is designed for students with an interest in gaining advanced knowledge in the field of African Studies, broadly defined to include topics ranging across social, cultural, economic, linguistic and political domains. This rich field of study brings together a variety of disciplines, and students can expect a diverse selection of courses from across U-M’s schools and colleges.

Anchored in the African Studies Center (ASC), the MIRS African studies subplan draws upon ASC’s strategic guidance and coordination for Africa-related research and programming on campus, and on the continent.  Founded in 2008, the center serves as a conduit for the university’s many Africa initiatives in the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, engineering, medicine, and related fields.

The annual application deadline is December 15.

Curriculum (36 credits)

The MIRS curriculum is designed to be rich, challenging, and fulfilling for all students, as reflected in the core requirements. Students will complete 36 hours of coursework, distributed over at least two academic disciplines (such as: African studies, anthropology, business, earth science, economics, history, languages and literature, law, political science, public policy, sociology, etc.) at the 400 level or above.

Core Requirements (9 credits)

  • Research Design Seminar: Students will sharpen critical thinking, analytical skills, research design, and writing strategies. (3 credits)
  • Graduate Colloquium: Students will participate in two semesters of engaged discussions covering topics of global significance, including programs (guest lectures and relevant events) and participation in moderated online and in-person discussions. (2 credits total)
  • Language Proficiency: Students will attain intermediate oral and written proficiency in a relevant language as approved within their subplan. The language requirement may be fulfilled by coursework or by demonstrating proficiency via a placement exam. Up to 9 credits earned in advanced language courses (400-level or above) may be counted toward the minimum credit requirement. Some subplans may require additional language training. For more on the African Studies subplan language requirement, please contact
  • Graduate Workshop: Students will participate in a year-long series of professional development workshops, taking place two to three times per semester and focusing on topics such as networking strategies, potential career paths, grant writing, and practicum project preparation. (Not for credit)
  • Capstone: To complete the program, students will dedicate effort to their capstone, either in research, coursework, or work experience related to their subplan. Select one of the below options:  (4 credits)
    • Master’s Thesis: research project supervised by a faculty member
    • Additional Research Seminars: completion of graduate seminars with a substantial independent research component
    • Practicum: internship or work experience related to the sub-plan combined with a related academic component

African Studies Subplan Requirements (27 credits)

The remainder of the 36 credit hours will be met by completing graduate-level courses selected in coordination with ASC’s MIRS advisor. The courses will be selected from among the many Africa-focused graduate-level courses offered in U-M’s 19 schools and colleges. Additional distribution requirements, ensuring a well-rounded course of study, may apply.

For more information, contact

The annual application deadline is December 15.