Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies

African American Studies is the systematic study of the historical, cultural, intellectual, and social development of people of African descent, the societies of which they are a part, and their contribution to world civilization. Its principal geographic domains are the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, the African continent, and increasingly western Europe where large communities reside. The field features a diversity of approaches as well as intellectual and practical interests, and draws upon the humanistic, social, and behavioral sciences to make up its interdisciplinary framework.

Students can obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree with either a Major or a Minor in African American Studies.


The major in African American Studies prepares students for a wide range of professional and career opportunities. Majors can continue on to graduate studies in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, or pursue professional programs in law, medicine, business, and journalism. Graduates who enter the job market are prepared for careers in human services and public health, education, public relations, community development, urban planning, and general jobs in the public sector, in central cities and urban institutions, or for jobs that involve cultural or intergroup relations as well as international affairs. African American Studies graduates will be better prepared to deal with the complexity and diversity of metropolitan Detroit's political and demographic realities, as graduates assume important leadership roles. This applies to all major metropolitan areas in principal geographic domains described above.

Admission Requirements: See the general requirements for undergraduate admission in the University Undergraduate Bulletin.

Scholarship for AFS Majors: Majors are eligible for scholarship awards under the Coleman A. Young Scholarship Endowment Fund. To qualify, a student must maintain a minimum honor point average (H.P.A.) of 3.0 in the Department, exhibit qualities of leadership, and/or perform significant service to community development. An award committee selects recipients; the amount depends on available funding.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 120 credits of course work and satisfy University General Education Requirements (see General Education Program), College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements (see Group Requirements), and Departmental major requirements cited below. All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the University and the College governing undergraduate scholarship and degrees; see Bachelor's Degree Requirements, Academic Regulations, Academic Regulations: Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Bachelor's Degree Requirements: Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Major Requirements: Majors must complete at least thirty-six credits in a prescribed course of study, including:

1. AFS 3420 (four credits).

2. Completion of study in an approved area of concentration (twenty-four credits).

3. Field Work (AFS 5991) and/or Directed Study (AFS 6990) (three to eight credits).

Areas of Concentration

Cultural Studies and the Arts (twenty-four credits): This concentration is designed for students who are interested in exploring the relations between cultural expression/production and the social experience of Black life.

1. AFS 2010, 3200, 3250.

2. AFS (ENG) 2390, 5110, 5310.

3. Two courses from: AFS 2210, (SOC) 2600, 3160, 3180, 5130, 5320.

4. One cognate from: AFS 5480; A H (AFS) 3750; ANT (AFS) 5260; ENG (AFS) 2390, MUH 3360, 6310; COM (AFS) 5040; COM (AFS) 4240.

Development and Public Policy (twenty-four credits): This concentration emphasizes historical, political, and policy dimensions of the economic and social development of Black communities.

1. AFS 3250, 3420.

2. Three courses from: AFS (HIS) 5320, (HIS) 3160, (W S) 5110; HIS (AFS) 3140 or HIS (AFS) 3150; AFS 3160, 3180, 3250, 3360; 3420 (P S 3820); 5480, 6600.

3. Two courses from: AFS 2500, 2600, 3860, (ISP) 5130, (HIS) 5320, (SOC) 5580, (PSY) 5700.

4. One cognate from: ANT 3110, 3520, 6230; GEG 6150, 6350; ISP (AFS) 3610; HIS 3996, 5730; P S (AFS) 5030, (AFS) 5740, 6050 (AFS 6100); SOC (AFS) 5570; S W 6510.

Electives for the major must be chosen from the courses listed, or from any new courses approved by the Directors of the Program. Click here for a list of all the AFS courses.

The Minor

Students majoring in other fields can minor in African American Studies. The minor consists of six courses in this department. These must include AFS 1010, and two of the following: AFS 2010, 2210, 3180, 3200, 3250, 3420. Students wishing to minor in African American Studies are encouraged to visit the departmental office for information and counseling. A minor may be declared when filing for graduation.


 ↑ back to top