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African American Studies B.A.

Explore cultural, political and social dimensions of African American life in varied historical contexts and examine experiences of African peoples and their descendants throughout the diaspora.
African American studies major Jazmine Richardson walks through the hallway of a Syracuse University building
Jazmine Richardson '22 majored in African American studies and biotechnology during her time at Syracuse. With this unique major combination, she became involved with research and local events centered on issues of inequality and health.

About this Program

  • Gain historical understanding and insight through the lens of the humanities by examining art, literature, religion and music of the Pan-African world.
  • Discover social and scientific influences through the interdisciplinary study of sociology, political science, economics and anthropology.
  • Deepen your understanding at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, using collections dedicated to the lives and cultures of Black people.
  • Take advantage of the Community Folk Art Center, a vibrant cultural and artistic hub committed to the promotion and development of artists of the African diaspora and experiential learning opportunities.
  • Explore credit-bearing international study options, including summer programs, through Syracuse Abroad and its partners.

Program Information

Degree Type






College or School

Career Path


Students per typical class size in advanced courses.

Students per typical class size in preliminary courses.
$ 1K

Allocated annually to undergraduate research projects or for support.
Exterior of Hall of languages building

College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) is Syracuse University’s first and largest college. As the home of the liberal arts, our internationally recognized programs provide the cornerstone of a Syracuse University education with 50+ majors in the natural sciences and mathematics, the humanities and the social sciences (in partnership with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs).
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The major courses are grouped into four thematic categories to provide multiple perspectives on the field. You will take courses in African American literature; art, music and religion; history; political science and sociology. You'll also complete a capstone project before graduation.

  • Describe major cultural figures, texts and movements in Black studies.
  • Describe major social and political issues that shaped Black life.
  • Explain how race, class, gender and sexuality function within the contours of Black experiences.
  • Develop critical thinking skills applicable to issues in Black studies.
  • Develop ability to conceive and execute independent inquiries in Black studies.
  • Develop effective written and oral communications.
  • Evaluate the logic of popular representations of people of African descent.

  • Art of the Black World
  • African American Religious History
  • African American Music
  • African American Literature to 1900 and 20th/21st Centuries
  • Politics of Africa
  • Revolt of the Black Athlete

Extracurricular Opportunities


Africa Initiative

Campuswide project focusing on Africa as an important site of knowledge. The series invites 8-10 speakers every year—from arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, mathematics, engineering and other fields.

Student organizations

African Student Union

Syracuse’s African Student Union strives to promote Africa’s diverse cultures and raise awareness and visibility on campus through group meals, music performances, pageants, participation in cultural festivals and more.

Campus facilities

Community Folk Art Center

Broaden your understanding and link your studies to the local community by studying at, visiting or working at the Community Folk Art Center.

Interior of an Art Gallery
Campus facilities

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

The library is an integral unit of the department. It welcomes all members of the University community to study in its reading room, work at its computers and explore its collections to engage the experiences of Africans and their descendants throughout the diaspora. It is the brainchild of Syracuse students who, in 1969, organized to provide equitable academic resources to support the interdisciplinary study of Black life in the United States and beyond.

Learn more about this program

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