In their junior year students take the junior seminar (African American Studies 410a, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies). This course provides majors with theoretical and methodological bases for the work they will do during their research-oriented senior year.
As seniors, students participate in a colloquium (African American Studies 480a) that gives them an opportunity to exchange ideas with each other and with more advanced scholars; students submit a prospectus, compile a working bibliography, begin or continue research, and write the first eight to ten pages of the senior essay. After completing the colloquium, each student carries out the remaining research and writing of a senior essay (African American Studies 491b or, in exceptional cases, 491a) under the guidance of a faculty member in the chosen discipline or area of concentration.
Students are strongly encouraged to use the summer between the junior and senior years for research directly related to the senior essay. For example, field or documentary research might be undertaken in urban or rural African American communities throughout the Black Atlantic diaspora. The particular research problem and design are to be worked out in each case with a faculty advisor.
Procedures: Students planning a program of study in African American Studies should download the Senior Essay Handbook and consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies as early as possible. Areas of concentration and schedules for majors must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.