VCU Bulletins

African American Studies, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Special requirements

Majors in African American studies must meet the general education requirements of the College of Humanities and Sciences. The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies requires the completion of 120 credits with at least 30 credits in African American Studies courses. At least 15 of the 30 credits in African American Studies must be in upper-level courses.

Students also are required to establish an area of study by taking either a minimum of four courses in a single cooperating department or in one of the following multidisciplinary concentrations: artistic, historical and literary perspectives; political, religious and societal perspectives; or social and behavioral perspectives. At least one of the four courses taken in a single cooperating department must have an Africana focus, and at least one of the four courses must be an upper-level course.

A cooperating department or program is defined as one that regularly offers at least one course with an Africana focus per year, which includes: Anthropology, Dance, English, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Geography, History, Mass Communications, Music history, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theatre. When non-Africana-focused courses are used to meet the concentration requirement, they must be selected in consultation with the African American studies adviser.

The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with knowledge of human cultures and intellectual and practical skills to engage complexity, diversity and change. The degree program fosters students’ personal and social responsibility and, through applied learning experiences, empowers students to negotiate and to solve the complex problems of the 21st century. African American studies majors often pursue graduate and professional degree programs in business, education, history, international relations, law, political science, psychology, public health and social work. Career opportunities with a B.A. only in African American Studies include employment in community health agencies, public and private schools and nonprofit organizations.

Degree requirements for African American Studies, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  1. Define Black experiences across the African Diaspora.
    We aim for each of our majors to demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts, perspectives and theories in Africana studies. This knowledge includes an understanding of the intellectual origins and extant and emergent interdisciplinary scholarship that provide context, definition and form to the collective experiences of persons of African descent.
  2. Document and measure Black experiences across the African Diaspora.
    We aim for each of our majors to demonstrate analytical skills that enable them to compare and contrast the utility of qualitative and quantitative approaches in Africana studies and critical-thinking skills that allow them to assess the cultural, political and social implications of such approaches when measuring the experiences of people across Africa and its Diaspora.
  3. To interpret Black experiences across the African Diaspora.
    We aim for each of our majors to demonstrate an awareness of the interpretive frameworks that give meaning to Black experiences across the Diaspora. This awareness includes recognition of the intersectionality of artistic, cultural and historical perspectives; gendered, political and religious perspectives; and social and behavioral perspectives.
  4. To affirm and validate Black experiences across the African Diaspora.
    We aim for each of our student majors to demonstrate the ability to critically engage and to propose integrity-based solutions to novel problems that impact persons of African descent and their communities
General Education requirements (32-46 credits) Credits
University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Focused Inquiry I 3
UNIV 112 Focused Inquiry II 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved humanities/fine arts 3
Approved natural/physical sciences 3-4
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences 3-4
   
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)  
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
Approved H&S general education electives 6-8
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)  
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)  
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)  
Experiential fine arts (course offered by the School of the Arts) 1-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement) 0-8
   
Major requirements (30 credits)  
AFAM 111 Introduction to Africana Studies 3
AFAM 211 Africana Social and Political Thought 3
AFAM 311 African Diaspora Experiences 3
AFAM 399 Interdisciplinary Research Methods 3
AFAM 411 Applied Concepts in Africana Studies 3
AFAM 499 Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies 3
Cooperating departments and programs requirement: Complete four courses in one of the cooperating departments or programs listed below, including at least one Africana-focused course and at least one upper-level course. 12
Anthropology, Dance, English, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Geography, History, Mass Communications, Music history, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theatre  
Refer to the list below for Africana-focused courses offered by or in conjunction with these cooperating departments.  
   
Open electives (32-58 credits)  
   
Total minimum requirement 120

Africana-focused courses from cooperating departments

Note: Students choosing the cooperating department option must complete four courses in one cooperating department or program, including at least one Africana-focused course (from lists below) and at least one upper-level course.
Anthropology

AFAM/ANTH/INTL 200 Introduction to African Societies
AFAM/ANTH/INTL/GSWS 309 Global Women’s Health
AFAM/ANTH 416 The Origin and Evolution of the Idea of Race
AFAM/ANTH/INTL 420 Women of Africa
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Dance
AFAM/DANC 121 Tap Technique I
AFAM/DANC 122 Tap Technique I
AFAM/DANC 126 African-Caribbean Dance I
AFAM/DANC 127 African-Caribbean Dance I
AFAM/DANC 151 Jazz Dance Technique I
AFAM/DANC 152 Jazz Dance Technique II
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

English
AFAM 363/ENGL 363/INTL 366 African Literature
AFAM 365/ENGL 365/INTL 367 Caribbean Literature
AFAM/ENGL 379 African-American Literature
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies
AFAM/SOCY/GSWS 206 African American Family Relationships
AFAM/GSWS/SOCY 305 African American Family in Social Context
AFAM/ANTH/INTL/GSWS 309 Global Women’s Health
AFAM /POLI/GSWS 318 Politics of Race, Class and Gender
AFAM 390/HIST 380/GSWS 390 African and the Americas: Slavery, Gender and Race
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Geography
AFAM/GEOG/INTL 333 Geography of Africa
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

History
AFAM/HIST 105 Survey of African History
AFAM/HIST 106 Survey of African History
AFAM /HIST 361 Americans from Africa
AFAM/HIST 362 Americans from Africa
AFAM 387/HIST 381 History of West Africa to 1800
AFAM 388/HIST 384 Africa: Social, Cultural and Economic History
AFAM 389/HIST 383 History of Southern African
AFAM 390/HIST 380/GSWS 390 African and the Americas: Slavery, Gender and Race
AFAM 392/HIST 396 Caribbean History to 1838
AFAM 393 Akhenaten to Cleopatra
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Mass Communications
AFAM/MASC 474 Minorities and the Mass Media
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Music history
AFAM/MHIS 250 Introduction to African-American Music
AFAM 350/MHIS 350/INTL 370 Studies in the Music of the African Continent and Diaspora

Political Science
AFAM/POLI 302 Politics of the Civil Rights Movement
AFAM/POLI/GSWS 318 Politics of Race, Class and Gender
AFAM/POLI 343 Black Political Thought
AFAM/POLI 345 African-American Politics
AFAM/POLI/INTL 356 Government and Politics of Africa
AFAM/POLI/INTL 357 Politics of Southern Africa
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Psychology
AFAM/PSYC 322 Personality and Behavior of the African American
AFAM/PSYC 346 Mental Health Across the African Diaspora
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Religious Studies
AFAM/RELS/INTL 307 Black Religion
AFAM/INTL/RELS 451 Religion, Racism and Social Justice
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Sociology
AFAM/SOCY 104 Sociology of Racism
AFAM/SOCY/GSWS 206 African American Family Relationships
AFAM/GSWS/SOCY 305 African American Family in Social Context
AFAM/SOCY 401 African-American and the U.S. Health Care System
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

Theatre
AFAM/THEA 303 Black Theatre
Or a course approved by an African American studies adviser

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Last update: 5/13/2014

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