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African American Studies Program

male professor teaching a class


We encourage you to explore the possibilities in the African American Studies program in the College of Arts and Sciences. Whether you choose to purse a major or a minor, you will carry the lessons you learn here with you.

African American Studies is an interdisciplinary field that examines the history, culture, beliefs and actions of people of African descent in the United States and across the world. With a major or minor in African American Studies, you can:

  • Explore the multi-dimensional experiences of people of color in local and global contexts.
  • Take courses across departments based on your interests and goals.
  • Learn how to apply both critical and creative thinking with confidence.
  • Gain experience in humanities and social science research methods, textual analysis, and service-learning opportunities.
  • Develop oral and written communication skills through multiple platforms and technologies.
  • Work with an engaged, award-winning core faculty who will guide you through each stage of the academic process.

Scholars in African American Studies come from all racial and ethnic backgrounds and work in fields that deepen the public understanding of minority experiences. Be a part of a community of scholars that includes historian Darlene Clark Hine, artist Jonathan Green, and economist Julianne Malveaux.


Major Courses

A grade of C or above is required for the course to count toward the BA degree in African American Studies. 

  • AFAM 201: Intro to African American Studies: Social and Historical Foundations
  • AFAM 202: Intro to African American Studies: Arts and Cultural Foundations
  • Society and History (6 hours): Select two AFAM or approved discipline-based courses in social and historical topics (i.e. POLI, SOCI, PSYC, WGST, HIST, RELG, SOST JOUR, ANTH, and Education)
  • Arts and Culture (6 hours): Select two AFAM or approved discipline-based courses in arts and cultural topics (i.e. ENGL, CPLT, ANTH, FILM, THEA, DANC, LING, and all Art disciplines)
  • Three Additional Major Courses (9 hours): Select 3 AFAM or discipline-based courses (300-level or above) organized around 1-2 subjects in consultation with advisor
  • AFAM 498 or AFAM 499 (3 hours): Seminar in African American Studies


Learning Outcomes

  • Majors in AFAM 201 and 202 courses will demonstrate a growing competence in analysis of the contextualized, dynamic realities of race in America, especially utilizing African American intellectual currents, past and present. The rigorous engagement of scholarship and a collaborative work ethic will be expected of students.
  • Students will work across disciplines, synthesizing major themes, while developing skills in written and verbal communication of such scholarship.
  • Students’ development as scholars and researchers is of primary importance to the Program’s faculty. Therefore, tasks of rigorous scholarship are stressed, including: critical thinking; precise writing; constructive discussions; and critical engagement with written material, especially primary documents.
  • Majors will strengthen abilities to synthesize major ideas and produce well-written arguments and analyses. Students will learn to raise effective questions, leading to the creation of new knowledge, and thereby to develop as citizen leaders.
  • Learn more about the African American Studies minor »