The Bachelor of Arts degree in African American and African Studies offers students the opportunity to engage and explore the lives, worlds, and cultural practices of Black peoples. Students are encouraged to study and appreciate the complexity of Black communities as well as the particularities of Blackness as it is lived, imagined, and created. Students are also directed to the promise and possibilities of collaborative, interdisciplinary work and research. 

Multiple elements define the course of study for the major, including interconnected, required courses exploring Black Feminisms, Genders, and Sexualities Studies, as well as encouragement of diverse understandings and approaches to knowledge production with and about Black peoples. The degree program offers three concentrations: Communities in Action, Creative Expression, Culture and Performance, and Black Institutions, Sustainability, and Statecraft. 

African American and African Studies Bachelor of Arts Academic Requirements

University Requirements: 

  • 24 credits in Integrative Studies (Arts and Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science) 
  • Mathematics course(s) 
  • Tier I writing requirement (4 credits) 
  • Tier II writing requirement, may be satisfied by completing AAAS 495 
  • Total of at least 120 credits 

College of Arts & Letters Requirements: 

  • 30 credits at the 300-400 level among the 120 credits required for graduation 
  • One cognate area, satisfied one of three ways:
    • Another major 
    • A minor 
    • One 15 credit cognate 
  • Capstone requirement  
  • Second year competency in a foreign language (usually a 4th level college course) 
  • Experiential Education: Fulfilled by 3 credit hours of an approved internship, service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, or study away program 

Requirements for the African American and African Studies Major 

Students must complete a total of at least 36 AAAS credits, including: 

  • All of the following courses (12 credits):
    • AAAS 100 – Pathways in AAAS  
    • AAAS 200 – Black Feminisms: Past, Present and Futures 
    • AAAS 201 – Black Sexualities Studies: Past, Present and Futures 
    • AAAS 202 – Black Genders Studies: Past, Present and Futures 
  • Complete 3 courses from one of the following three concentrations (9 credits):
    • Communities in Action
      • AAAS 300 – Communities in Action 
      • AAAS 303 – Black Girlhood Studies 
      • AAAS 306 – Black Language and Literacy 
      • AAAS 401 – Social Media and New Journalism 
      • AAAS 404 – Black Ecologies and Environmental Justice 
    • Creative Expression, Culture, and Performance
      • AAAS 301 – Creative Expression, Culture, and Performance 
      • AAAS 304 – Afrofuturism  
      • AAAS 307 – Creative Expression as Craft 
      • AAAS 402 – Producing Culture 
      • AAAS 405 – Black Entrepreneurship and Hustle 
    • Black Institutions, Sustainability, and Statecraft
      • AAAS 302 – Black Institutions, Sustainability, and Statecraft 
      • AAAS 305 – Black People and Land 
      • AAAS 308 – Black Spirituality and Religion 
      • AAAS 403 – Institutions and Oppression 
      • AAAS 406 – Pedagogies of Protests 
  • Complete 4 elective courses in 300-400 level AAAS courses as approved by the undergraduate advisor (12 credits) 
  • The follow courses (3 credits)
    • AAAS 495 – Writing for Our Lives 

Note: All AAAS majors, whether primary or additional, are required to satisfy the College of Arts and Letters Requirements. Additional degree majors satisfy the cognate requirement by means of their non-AAAS major. The most important requirement to plan for is the foreign language competency requirement.  

View AAAS BA requirements from the MSU Registrar Office 

For general inquiries about AAAS please contact