The Department of African & African-American Studies (AAAS) will provide you with a unique center for studying the relationships among and between all people of African descent. In order to fulfill the mission of the AAAS department, you will investigate the connections between US and global histories, culture, and social and economic systems.  Black Studies, or Africana Studies more broadly, is an interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary approach to studying the experiences of African people, and African-descended people across the Diaspora.  It grew most directly out of campus demands made by black students, and their allies and supporters, during the mass protest movement of the late 1960's and early 1970's. 

From the outset, the goal of Africana Studies was to transform higher education, chiefly by addressing the lack of faculty and staff diversity; altering traditional curricula limited by Eurocentic paradigms; linking academic teachings and scholarship with social and civic engagement; and raising critical questions about the overall missions of higher education. 

The department area of of emphasis include art and culture, religion and rhetoric, families, gender and sexuality; and political economy.  Through scholarship, teaching, campus and community service, and public programming, the department promotes not only critical thinking and creative problem-solving, but also expands our understanding of citizenship in a rapidly changing, multiracial, global society. 

the Department also draws strength and vitality from three other units: the Kansas African Studies Center, The Langston Hughes Center and the Institute for Haitian Studies. 

Graduation requirements and regulations for every academic program are provided in this catalog. Degree requirements and course descriptions are subject to change. In most cases, you will use the catalog of the year you entered KU (see your advisor for details). Other years’ catalogs»

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the International Support Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

African & African-American Studies Major Requirements

African Language Proficiency (required for BA degree only)
Students pursuing the AAAS BA degree must complete proficiency in an approved African language. Satisfied by one of the following:
Intermediate Arabic II
Intermediate Haitian II
Intermediate KiSwahili II
Intermediate Somali II
Intermediate Wolof II
or other approved African language

Students pursuing the either the BA or BGS degree must complete the following requirements:

Introduction to African & African-American Studies6
Choose one course from two areas:
Arabic & Islamic Studies
Arabic and Islamic Studies
African Studies
Introduction to Africa
Introduction to African History
Introduction to African History, Honors
Introduction to West African History
African-American Studies
Introduction to African-American Studies
The Black Experience in the Americas
The Black Experience in the Americas, Honors
African and African-American Studies Core Knowledge & Skills6
Historical Context (choose one course from the following):3
African Traditional Religion and Thought
Haiti: Culture and Identity
The Black Experience in the U.S. Since Emancipation
Islamic Literature
The History of Islam in Africa
Contemporary Context (choose one course from the following):3
Contemporary Haiti
Peoples and Cultures of North Africa and the Middle East
Modern Africa
Modern Africa, Honors
Modern Africa, Honors
The Black Experience in the U.S. Since Emancipation
Ministers and Magicians: Black Religions from Slavery to the Present
Required Electives15
Select five of the following courses not fulfilling a requirement above. One course may be numbered 100-299 for this requirement; the rest must be 300 or higher. Two courses may be Advanced Language courses.
First Year Seminar: _____
Brazil and Africa: Atlantic Encounters
Haiti: Culture and Identity
Contemporary Haiti
Peoples and Cultures of North Africa and the Middle East
Modern Africa
Modern Africa, Honors
Modern Africa, Honors
The Black Experience in the U.S. Since Emancipation
Ministers and Magicians: Black Religions from Slavery to the Present
African American Women: Colonial Era to the Present
African Studies In: _____
African Studies In, Honors: _____
Legal Issues and the African American
African-American Studies In: _____
African-American Studies In, Honors: _____
Popular Black Music
African American Culture
African American Urban Community and Class in the Midwest
Black Leadership
Introduction to African Literature
Introduction to African Literature, Honors
Introduction to Caribbean Literature
Introduction to African Dance Theatre
Women in Contemporary African Literature
Black Feminist Theory
Popular Culture in Africa: Spiritual Thrills, Romance and Sexualities
Islam
Africa's Human Geographies
Modern and Contemporary African Art
Modern and Contemporary African Art
Modern and Contemporary African Art
African Theatre and Drama
African-American Theatre and Drama
Introduction to the Languages of Africa
Religion, Power, and Sexuality in Arab Societies
West African Art
West African Art
West African Art
African Design
African Design
African Design
The Black Woman
Women and Islam
Intercultural Communication: The Afro-American
Postcolonial Theatre and Drama
Francophone African Literature
Islamic Literature
African Women Writers
Muslim Women's Autobiography
The Afro-American Family: A Psychological Approach
Arab Thought and Identity
Popular Culture in the Muslim World
Topics and Problems in African and African-American Studies
Language and Society in Africa
Regional History: _____
Directed Language Study: _____
Directed Language Study: _____
Directed Language Study I: _____
Directed Language Study II: _____
Global Ethnic and Racial Relations
The Civil Rights Movement
African and Western Cosmologies
African Studies in: _____
African Studies In, Honors: _____
African and African-American Religion:_____
African-American Studies in: _____
Social History of Black Aging in America
Popular Culture in Africa
Studies in Islam
The Rhetoric of Black Americans
Islamic Art and Architecture in Africa
The History of Islam in Africa
Language and Culture in Arabic-Speaking Communities
Unveiling the Veil
Environmental Issues in Africa
Classical Islamic Literature
Geography of African Development
Contemporary Health Issues in Africa
African Film
Race, Gender, and Post-Colonial Discourses
Liberation in Southern Africa
Slavery in the New World
Central African Art
Migration, Diasporas and Development
Literature and African American Music
Race and the American Theatre
Sexuality and Gender in African History
Politics in Africa
History of the Black Power Movement
The Life and Intellectual Thought of W.E.B. Du Bois
Sufism
Women and Gender in Islam
Gender and Politics in Africa
The Anthropology of Islam
African Expressive Culture: _____
Introduction to Modern Africa
Advanced Language Courses
Advanced Arabic I
Advanced Arabic II
Readings in Arabic I
Readings in Arabic II
Advanced KiSwahili I
Advanced KiSwahili II
Readings in KiSwahili I
Readings in KiSwahili II
Advanced KiSwahili
Advanced Haitian I
Advanced Haitian II
Intermediate Somali I
Intermediate Somali II
Advanced Wolof I
Advanced Wolof II
Capstone Requirements
Students must complete both of the following:
AAAS 496Field Experience3
or AAAS 690 Investigation and Conference
AAAS 550Senior Seminar in: _____3

Fieldwork

Field experience is a junior/senior option for majors. Fieldwork may be done anywhere in the U.S. or abroad. Careful arrangements must be made long in advance. Consult the department a full semester before enrollment.

Major Hours

Satisfied by 33 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence

Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Hours

Satisfied by a minimum of 27 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior (300+) Graduation GPA

Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Sample 4-year plans for the BA degree in African and African-American Studies here or by using the left-side navigation.

Sample 4-year plans for the BGS degree in African and African-American Studies can be found here or by using the left-side navigation.

Departmental Honors

For graduation with honors, an undergraduate must maintain a minimum overall grade-point average of 3.25 and of 3.5 in the major and must complete 3 additional hours by enrolling in AAAS 695. AAAS 695 is evaluated by a committee composed of the instructor plus two other faculty members approved by the chair. An affirmative recommendation by this committee is essential to graduation with honors, provided that the other requirements have been met. A student who plans to graduate with honors must file a declaration of intent form with the departmental honors coordinator, preferably during his or her junior year, but no later than at enrollment for the final undergraduate semester.

The department encourages majors in the African studies and Arabic and Islamic studies concentrations to spend a semester or an academic year in Africa. Similarly, majors in the African-American studies concentration may spend a semester or an academic year in the Caribbean. Consult the department and the Office of Study Abroad.