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 Certificate


A B.A. or B.S. is a prerequisite for a certificate in black studies. Candidates for the black studies certificate must satisfy the requirements outlined below. Completion of 36 credits is required for the certification in black studies. It is recommended that of these 36 credits, 24 credits be Department of Black Studies course offerings. Twenty-four credits will be upper-division courses within an area of specialization constructed with the consent of the adviser and approval of faculty.

  1. Completion of 12 credits of lower-division courses with consent of adviser and approval of faculty. These 12 credits must relate to black studies areas of specialization listen below.
  2. Completion of 24 credits of upper-division courses in an area of specialization within a program constructed with consent of adviser and approval of faculty. Areas of specialization include:
  • Black culture and civilization (history, art, music, literature, etc.)
  • Black social development (sociology, political science, psychology, etc.)

All courses used to satisfy certificate requirements need not be black studies courses, but can include appropriate courses in other departments as approved by an adviser. Students may focus on the American, Caribbean, or African experiences.

Courses taken under the undifferentiated grading option (pass/no pass) are not acceptable toward fulfilling certificate requirements.


There are no special language requirements for a Black Studies certificate. However, students interested in travel to Africa, the Caribbean, or South America are encouraged to acquire skills in African languages, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.