The Undergraduate Major in African American Studies


The African American Studies major examines, from numerous disciplinary perspectives, the experiences of people of African descent in Black Atlantic societies, including the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Courses explore the innovative, complex, and distinctively African American social structures and cultural traditions that Africans in the Diaspora have created. Students in the department explore the historical, cultural, political, economic, and social development of Black Atlantic societies. Emphasizing a diasporic framework of analysis, the major demands that students acquire both an analytic ability rooted in a traditional discipline and interdisciplinary skills of investigation and research.

African American Studies offers training of special interest to those considering admission to graduate or professional schools and careers in education, journalism, law, business management, city planning, international relations, politics, psychology, publishing, or social work. The department’s interdisciplinary structure offers students an opportunity to satisfy the increasingly rigorous expectations of admissions committees and prospective employers for a broad liberal arts perspective that complements specialized knowledge of a field.

African American Studies can be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors, in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies. Appropriate majors to combine with African American Studies might include, but are not limited to, American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, English, Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, Film Studies, History, History of Art, Music, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theater Studies, and foreign languages.

Regulations concerning the completion of two majors can be found online in chapter II, section L of the Yale College Programs of Study Bulletin. Navigate to The Undergraduate Curriculum, then Academic Regulations and Special Academic Arrangements, in order to reach the sub-section Two Majors.

Elizabeth Hinton
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Naomi McWilliams
Academic Support Assistant (Registrar)