Academic Catalog

African American Studies (B.A.)

The major in African American Studies prepares students for a wide range of professional and career opportunities. Majors can continue to graduate (including doctoral level) 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 more generally for jobs in the public sector, in central cities and urban institutions, or jobs that involve cultural or intergroup relations as well as international affairs. In the context of metropolitan Detroit, African American Studies graduates will be better prepared to deal with the complexity and diversity of the city’s political and demographic realities as they assume important roles of leadership.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for this program are satisfied by the general requirements for undergraduate admission to the University.


Program Requirements

Candidates must complete 120 credits in course work including satisfaction of the University General Education Requirements and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Group Requirements, as well as the 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. Students must also have and maintain an overall GPA of 2.0 as well as a GPA of 2.0 in the African American Studies major for graduation.

Students with an interest in African American studies and majoring in anthropology, English, history, sociology, urban studies, and political science are encouraged to consider a second major in African American studies. Many African American Studies courses are cross listed, and African American Studies majors may receive credit for courses taken for another major.

Majors must complete at least thirty-six credits (approx. 9-12 courses) in a prescribed course of study, including:

AFS 3420/PS 3820Pan Africanism and the Diaspora4
AFS 2210Black Social and Political Thought4
AFS 3180Black Social Movements4
AFS 3200The African-American Film Experience4
AFS 5110Black Women in America (Writing Intensive Requirement)3
Select two of the following:6-8
African American Culture
AfroLatino/a History and Culture
Introduction to African-American Literature: Writing about Texts
Race and Racism in America
Black Urban History
Black Workers in American History
Africa: Politics, Culture and Society
African Americans in Television
Select one of the following:3-4
Special Topics in African American Studies
Law and the African American Experience
The Psychology of African Americans
AFS electives4-8


Internships are available in which students gain experience through placements in settings similar to those in which they will later be seeking professional roles. These include: community service agencies, community-based self-development organizations, public and private institutions, Black alternative organizations and other appropriate settings. Some students may also do a practicum directly with the Department of African American Studies, assisting in research, community relations, and in the organization, coordination and conduct of community extension and education service programs. The objective of this mode of study is to offer students the opportunity to synthesize diverse ideas, theories and methodologies with important and practical real world imperatives. Interested students should contact the department's undergraduate advisor,

Summer Study Abroad

This travel program periodically visits Africa and/or Brazil. Through an integrated field/classroom/seminar experience, students are challenged to grow intellectually, as well as to increase their self-awareness and sensitivity to other cultures. For more information, consult the department advisor.

African American Studies Honors (B.A. Program)

The honors curriculum is designed to challenge highly motivated students to achieve excellence in the field of African American Studies.  Students are encouraged to develop active interests in probing the outstanding research and scholarship related to the global Black experience. 

  1. Maintain a 3.3 GPA overall and a 3.5 GPA within the AFS major.
  2. Complete a minimum of 12-15 credits, including the following:
    1. AFS 5991 or AFS 6990: (3-8 cr.): A senior thesis under the direction of a full-time faculty member in their major area.
    2. HON 42xx: Complete one 42xx level Honors seminar offered through the Honors Program. The Honors seminars are interdisciplinary courses that focus on a special topic for the term.
    3. Accumulate at least six credits in honors-designated course work, not including thesis and the HON seminar. These honors credits can be obtained from any department, including AFS.
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