African-American Black Studies Degree

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What is African-American Black Studies?

African-American Black Studies is an interdisciplinary academic discipline focused on the politics, history, art, and culture of Black Americans.  A broader definition of African-American Black Studies includes all cultures and individuals of African diaspora not just people of African descent living in the United States.

Universities in the United States began offering degree programs African American Studies in 1968 as a result of student and faculty activism.  Since that time, hundreds of accredited universities have created curriculum to support the rich history of African Americans.  Areas of emphasis in most Black Studies degree programs include domains such as: literature, history, religion, politics, art, humanities, athletics, social sciences, psychology, and sociology.

What Degree Programs Exist in African American Studies?

Degrees in African American Studies span from undergraduate to graduate degree programs.  Undergraduate degree programs include associate degrees and bachelor degrees.  Additionally, student may to choose to study this area of emphasis as a major or a minor.  If chosen as a major, students will see a common set of coursework from school to school.  Typical classes you would find in a African American studies major include the following:

  • International Politics & Markets
  • Comparative Immigration Politics
  • Global Feminism
  • International Societies & Cultures
  • Ideological Innovation in Africa
  • Globalization
  • Africa and Diaspora
  • Race, Gender, and Science
  • World History
  • Social Sciences

For students interested in adding African Studies as a minor, a typical set of coursework may include the following classes and areas of study: comparative literature, economics, anthropology, political science, geography, history, world arts, sociology, ethnomusicology, and art history.

Graduate Degrees in Black Studies

Graduate degrees are offered by select colleges and universities around the country in African studies.  The predominant graduate-level degree you will find by researching top schools is a master’s degree.  The master’s degree in this field of study is conferred as a Master of Arts (MA).  An MA degree can typically be completed in two-years as a function of student qualification and course load.  Classes you may find in a course catalog at the graduate-level may include:

  • The Study of Social Systems
  • Cultural Rituals
  • Human Rights: Theory & Practice
  • Advanced History
  • Explorations in Black History & Culture
  • International Efforts in Education
  • African Education
  • African Literature

Educational Requirements in Black Studies

The array of African American programs, there is no universal set of courses nor requirements for students.  However, studying the course catalogues from several colleges will reveal a number of overlapping classes you will typically take.  Core classes will generally include:

Employment & Specializations in Black Studies

Earning a major or minor in African American studies can set you up for a number of different career tracks.  Students may become passionate about various facets of commerce or teaching while in school.  As a result, jobs for graduates may bend towards becoming a art historian, high school teacher, artist, blogger, author, curriculum designer, or historian.

Job Growth and Careers in African American Studies

Career tracks after graduation can vary and will the job opportunities available.  As an example, employment for college professors is forecast to increase 13% while high school teachers a 7% jump is expected.  With the broad employment options, the compensation will also vary from field to field.  Drivers of income include factors such as timing, employment arrangement, location, organization, job responsibilities, and talent.

Resources in African American Studies

For students interested in learning more about African and African American Studies, there are a number of hubs around the United States that offer such academic resources.  The top ranked African Study Centers in academia include Boston University, Stanford University, Harvard University, and UNC.   As top colleges and universities in the history and cultural influence of Africa, these schools are among the leaders in the field of study.

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Career Summary: African american black studies Major




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