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 36 credits in a prescribed course of study, including

AFS 3420   Pan Africanism: Politics of the Black Diaspora 4cr.                                                
AFS 2210   Black Social and Political Thought (SS) 4cr.                                                                               
AFS 3200   The African-American Film Experience 4cr.                                                                              
AFS 3180   Black Social Movements 4cr.       
AFS 5110 Black Women in America (Writing Intensive Requirement)
Two from: AFS 2010, 2250, 2390, 2600, 3160, 3360, 4240
One from: AFS 5310, 5320, 5580, 5700
AFS Electives: 4-8 credits: Electives  for  the  major  must  be  chosen  from  the courses listed or any new courses approved by the Chair of the department.

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.


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