African American Studies, Minor

Program Code: AFAMR_UMNR

Program Description

The Department of African American Studies awards a minor to students who, in addition to meeting the requirements for a major, complete 18 credits in the African American Studies minor. This minor is designed for students interested in African American culture and the educational, social, political, and economic development of people of African descent in the United States. In particular, it provides students with the opportunity to explore the experiences of African Americans using theories and methods originating in the field. Students are made aware of the potential to apply such knowledge to the solution of social, political, and economic problems. The minor also promotes greater understanding of the relationship between African Americans and other ethnic groups.

What is African American Studies?

African American Studies is an intellectual field of inquiry that examines the history of people of African descent from the colonial period through the present; how systems of racial inequality are produced through state policy, traditional western scholarly disciplines, and popular discourse; and the social, political and cultural movements that black people have developed to identify and resist the unequal material and political conditions that shape black social life in the African Diaspora. The undergraduate major and minor provides a strong foundation in the key theoretical concepts in the discipline, the historical formation of African American Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study, and prepares students to apply what they have learned in the classroom, in independent research and in internships with social justice/service organizations.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are passionate about learning more about the history, cultures, and political struggles of people of African-descent in the West.
  • You are interested in understanding how racism operates structurally and shapes the social experiences and life chances of black communities.
  • You want to study social, cultural, and political movements throughout the African Diaspora.
  • You are interested in pursuing independent research or internships with non-profit, research, and community-based organizations committed to racial equity and social justice.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Prescribed Courses
Prescribed Courses: Require a grade of C or better
AFAM 100NBlack Freedom Struggles Keystone/General Education Course3
AFAM/WMNSTREQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR101NAfrican American Women Keystone/General Education Course3
AFAM 110NIntroduction to African American Studies Keystone/General Education Course3
Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 9 credits from the following (at least 6 credits must be at the 400 level):9
Women of the African Diaspora Keystone/General Education Course
Racism and Sexism Keystone/General Education Course
The Popular Arts in America: The History of Hip-Hop Keystone/General Education Course
African Diaspora Religions and Spiritualities Keystone/General Education Course
The Life and Thought of Martin Luther King, Jr. Keystone/General Education Course
The Life and Thought of Malcolm X Keystone/General Education Course
Jazz and the African American Experience Keystone/General Education Course
Workshop: Theatre in Diverse Cultures
Freedom's First Generation: African American Life and Work, from the Civil War to World War II Keystone/General Education Course
Critical Approaches to Hip-Hop Keystone/General Education Course
From Folk Shouts and Songs to Hip Hop Poetry
Afro-American Studies Seminar
Racial and Ethnic Inequality in America
Spirit, Space, Survival: Contemporary Black Women
African American Theatre
Contemporary African American Communication
Black Liberation and American Foreign Policy
African American Autobiography
The Post-World War II Civil Rights Movement
Slavery and the Literary Imagination
Gender, Diversity and the Media Keystone/General Education Course
Race, Crime, and Justice
Race, Ethnicity and Culture Keystone/General Education Course

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university's academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.


University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
Use the Liberal Arts Meet the Academic Advisers web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program


Roy Robson
Division Head, Division of Arts and Humanities
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


Beatrice Epwene
Assistant Teaching Professor of Communication
777 W. Harrisburg Pike
W356 Olmsted
Middletown, PA 17057

Career Paths

Graduates in African American Studies go on to pursue a wide-range of career paths including public policy, the law, medicine, public health, social work, criminal justice, social justice advocacy, transnational human rights, community-based organizing, higher education, environmental justice, arts/entertainment, or scholarly research in the social sciences and the humanities.

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

Many students opt to pursue graduate degrees in African American Studies because they want to teach in African American Studies programs at the college or university-level, or they want to teach from a critical race theory perspective in traditional disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, law, medicine or other professional programs.



University Park

133 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802


1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001


777 W. Harrisburg Pike
W356 Olmsted
Middletown, PA 17057