Majoring in Africana Studies

Students majoring in Africana Studies may select one of three concentrations, each of which studies Africans in their own terms but always in an interdisciplinary and global context:

Students are encouraged to combine their scholarly study with service learning, study away, or study abroad. Coursework in each of the three tracks must encompass at least three disciplines to ensure a genuinely interdisciplinary grounding in historical and contemporary issues along with practical applications of such knowledge (internships, civic engagement, and independent research).

The Africana Studies major requires a total of 37 credit hours, as described below. Details on the structure of the major are provided below. Full descriptions of courses and requirements are available from faculty advisors. Africana majors are encouraged to look into allied programs such as American Studies, Global Studies, and International Relations for complementary courses and intellectual exchange.

Language Requirement

A major in Africana Studies includes an Africa-related foreign language component that exceeds the College-wide proficiency requirement. This means one course beyond the 202-level in one language, or 202-level proficiency in two languages. Besides native African languages (such as Amharic, Hausa, Oromiffa, Swahili, Yoruba, Wolof and Zulu), the following can be used to fulfill the requirement: Arabic, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Others, such as Creole, may be approved on a case by case basis. Students are advised to choose languages that are appropriate for the chosen concentration.

Engaged Scholarship and Service Learning. Students are encouraged to engage in service-learning or engaged-scholarship opportunities to supplement classroom study of such issues as racial inequality, cultural exchange, and identity politics.

Study Abroad

Students are strongly encouraged to seek overseas opportunities, especially in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America that complement the major. Contact the Global Education Office at the Reves Center for more information. With prior approval, courses taken abroad may be applied to the major or other requirements.

Study Away

Majors are also encouraged to seek out study away opportunities in the U.S. in approved Centers or Institutes, Colleges, or Universities. For example, students may arrange to take language courses elsewhere in the summer, or devote a semester to undertake a pre-approved program of study and research.

Major Computing Requirement (MCR)

Each major must fulfill the CPR by earning a grade of C- or better in one of the courses listed under Methods (see below) or take Computer Science 131 or higher.

Major Writing Requirement (MWR)

The following writing-intensive courses satisfy the MWR for Africana Studies: AFST 301, 306, 406, 480, or 495-496.

Common Core
All majors, regardless of concentration, will complete three courses for the common core for at least 9 credits total.
  1. Gateway: Introduction to Africana Studies [AFST 100A, or AFST 150A, or AFST 205]
  2. Methods: Africana Studies Methodologies [AFST 399]*
  3. Senior Capstone: Senior Project [AFST 499] or Senior Honors [AFST 495-496] or Advanced Topic in Africana Studies [AFST 406] or Independent Study [AFST 480]

*Upon approval by their faculty advisor, students may also complete this requirement by completing ANTH 302 (Ethnographic Research), any statistics course (ECON, PSYC, or SOCL), ENGL 209 (Critical Approaches to Literature), GOVT 301 (Research Methods), RELG 391 (Theory and Method in the Study of Religion), and SOCL 352 (Methods of Social Research). Students who intend to write an Honors thesis should select the methods course that best meets their needs.


Majors are to take 9 credits from courses listed under Group One of the chosen concentration.  The three concentrations or tracks that constitute the major are: African-American, African, and Diaspora. These are described in the current issue of the Undergraduate Course Catalog. The most up-to-date list of eligible courses is published each semester by the University Registrar.


The remaining 18 credits are to be taken from Group Two and Group Three of courses.  The classification of umbrella courses such as AFST 480, GBST 390 and GBST 480 depends on the topic.