Black Studies

150 Extended Studies Building (XSB)


  • B.A., B.S.
  • Minor
  • Postbaccalaureate Certificate

The Department of Black Studies is an academic interdisciplinary unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The primary focus is in the social sciences and liberal arts. The Department of Black Studies is devoted to the exploration and analysis of the history, politics, and culture of African people in the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa. It seeks to objectively explore the black experience, to illuminate the contributions of African people to world culture, and to provide an alternative to traditional approaches to the study of world history that have bypassed the African experience.

The objectives of the Department of Black Studies include providing comprehensive learning programs aimed at greater understanding by all people of the black experience, past, present, and future.

The Department of Black Studies seeks to expose students from all cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds to academic experiences beyond those generally found in traditional college curricula.

The program will provide students with a general historical background of the black experience in Africa and the Western hemisphere, as well as provide detailed examination of cross-cultural and multi-ethnic dynamics in the contemporary social-political context.

In addition, this program will enhance the students ability to function in current job markets that serve multi-cultural and multi-ethnic populations, particularly where the black experience is crucial. It will also give students a competitive advantage in obtaining careers in those areas and within communities that interact with African, African American, and Caribbean cultures.

Degree Maps and Learning Outcomes

Admission requirements

Black Studies B.A./B.S.

Black Studies Minor

Black Studies Certificate

Center for Black Studies

Black Studies B.A./B.S.


In addition to meeting the general University degree requirements for completing a B.A. or B.S., candidates enrolled in the Black Studies major must meet the 60-credit minimum. Courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (pass/no pass) are not acceptable toward fulfilling the major requirements in the area of specialization. At least 30 of the total 60 credits required for the major or 45 of the total credits presented for graduation must be taken in residence at Portland State University. A minimum 2.50 GPA is required in courses taken for the major.

Core courses

(Adviser-approved credits in other disciplines. May also include upper-division Black Studies courses outside area of specialization)

BSt 202Introduction to Black Studies


Lower Division Black Studies courses


Upper-division electives in Black Studies


Adviser approved non-Black Studies

Upper-division electives


Upper Division electives in Black Studies: selected in consultation with major adviser and spread over the geographic and thematic specializations of Africa; African-American (USA), Caribbean/Latin America

Elective Courses

(Adviser-approved credits in other disciplines. May also include upper-division Black Studies courses outside area of specialization)

Fr 435Francophone Literature of the 20th Century


Geog 363Africa


Mus 374World Music


Soc 337Minorities


WS 330Women of Color in the United States


Intl 471Understanding the International Experience


Ling 471Understanding the International Experience


Total Credit Hours:12

Total Credit Hours: 60

  • A maximum of 16 lower division credits in Black Studies may be applied to the major
  • Of the 32 upper division Black Studies electives a minimum of 4 credits must be taken from each of the three areas of specialization within the department: Africa, African-American (USA), Caribbean/Latin America
  • Of the upper division Black Studies electives a minimum of 24 credits must be taken under the graded option
  • Upper division Black Studies courses may be substituted for some or all of the non-black studies electives requirement with Adviser approval