Undergraduate Research

Africana Studies is an interdisciplinary field. This means that many of our courses are taught by faculty based in a traditional department, such as History or English. So, research in Africana Studies tends to employ the tools of various fields. You will learn about those tools in AFST 399, Africana Studies Methodologies. This course is required for all Africana Studies majors and minors.

It is one thing to learn about research tools as part of a structured class. It is another to independantly apply knowledge and techniques to a research question all your own. This skill is one all our majors have the opportunity to practice. All Africana Studies majors will complete a Capstone project either through Honors (AFST 495-496), or the Senior Project in Africana Studies (AFST 499). Majors may also take Independent Study (AFST 480) to investigate a topic not covered in an existing course.

To do an Honors project or Independent Study, you will need to find a professor who will oversee your work. The best way to do that is to approach a professor who has taught a course you enjoyed, or who is involved in research you find interesting. Look at their directory pages or personal websites to get an idea of who is working on what. Then, send that professor an email asking for a meeting to discuss your research interests, and to see if they can work with you on an independent project.

Ask for a meeting even if you're having trouble coming up with a research topic. Most faculty have ideas for projects that are managable by students. You can also look at our list of completed Honors projects to see examples of exemplary student work.