Undergraduate Degree & Course Catalog

African-American Studies BA

(HEGIS: 22.11 AFRO-AMERICAN STUDIES, CIP: 05.0201 African-American/Black Studies)

African and African-American Studies

1004 Clemens Hall
North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14620-4680
Ph: 716-645-2082
F: 716-645-5976
W: www.transnationalstudies.buffalo.edu
Cecil Foster

Why study African-American Studies BA at UB?

African-American Studies is an interdisciplinary degree-granting program within in the Department of Transnational Studies that explores the history as well as the political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances of people of African descent everywhere. The program's major and minor ground students in a curriculum that is global in scope, covers a broad spectrum of topics in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, and provides a comprehensive liberal arts education.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the student will have knowledge of:

  • Broad thematic periodization and chronology of African history, and the place of Africa in world history
  • The parameters of the current socio-economic and cultural circumstances of the people of the African continent
  • The chronology of the socio-economic, political and cultural history of the African diaspora in the Americas, and the role of the African diaspora in the history of the Americas up to the present
  • The role of African Americans in the evolution of U.S. constitutional democracy through their struggles for inclusion
  • Major themes in the current socio-economic, political and cultural circumstances of the African diaspora in the Americas
  • Major descriptive and analytical themes in the historical role of the women of the African diaspora in the Americas, and in their current socio-economic, political and cultural circumstances
  • The major depictions — both fiction and non-fiction — of these issues

The Learning Environment

African and African American Studies at the University at Buffalo replicates the experience of a small liberal arts college in the midst of a major research university. We invite students looking for the advantages of being part of the department that combines personal attention with a wide choice of courses on the African American, Africa, and Caribbean experience. The curriculum emphasizes an interdisciplinary perspective that contributes to mastering the research, writing and critical thinking skills necessary in a society in which higher education plays such a crucial role. At the same time our students are encouraged to refine and develop their individual interests that stem from the extensive understanding of the field the department’s offerings provide.

About Our Facilities

The Department of Transnational Studies is housed in 1004 Clemens Hall and has three dedicated seminar rooms. The department holds classes in centrally scheduled space throughout the campus, which includes traditional classes and lecture halls that can accommodate the program’s teaching philosophies.

About Our Faculty

The African & African-American Studies program has core faculty within the Department of Transnational Studies who have distinguished themselves as scholars and teachers. Faculty have been fellows at prestigious scholarly centers such as the Rockefeller Foundation and Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies. This faculty is joined by renowned affiliated faculty from throughout the university and western New York.

Our faculty have published monographs and articles, edited major journals and served on prestigious scholarly boards in the United States and abroad. They have been awarded distinguished teaching awards. Many faculty serve on the boards of directors of local agencies.

Faculty List Directory

Please visit our department website for additional information about our faculty.

Career Outlook

Career choices include, but are not limited to:

  • Archivist
  • Banker
  • Broadcast journalist
  • Business manager
  • Diplomat
  • Educator
  • Foreign news correspondent
  • Freelance writer
  • Government official
  • Health specialist
  • Historian
  • Human services worker
  • Immigration official
  • Intelligence agent
  • International civil servant
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Mass media critic
  • Museum curator

Work settings include, but are not limited to:

  • Banking
  • Erie County government
  • Federal and New York State government service
  • Health related professions
  • Immigration services
  • Law
  • Libraries
  • Local law enforcement
  • Film industry
  • Museums
  • News organizations
  • Nongovernmental Organization (NGOs)
  • Prisons/ correctional service
  • Professional sports
  • Sales
  • Social services agencies
  • Teaching
  • Television

Academic Advising

The Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Transnational Studies, who is a member of the department's full-time teaching faculty, is available to meet with students throughout the semester. As we cannot provide advisement through emails, please contact the department's undergraduate studies secretary to find out the director's office hours. Students interested in doing a major or a minor in the African & African-American Studies program are encouraged to speak with the director to discuss their interests in the program, as well as to plan course sequencing to meet all criteria.

NOTE: advisement for general education and other university requirements for the African & African American Studies degree is provided by advisers in the College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisement & Services.

Advanced Placement Credit: Students who have advanced placement credit in African & African-American Studies may substitute those courses for comparable AAS courses.

Academic Advising Contact Information

Please contact the undergraduate secretary to schedule an appointment with our Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate secretary: Kathryn Cartwright
Main office: 1004 Clemens Hall
P: 716-645-0796

Academic Opportunities

Community Service Programs

The African African-American Studies Community Service Program was established to organize activities that are mutually beneficial to the African American community in Buffalo and outside of Buffalo city and the University at Buffalo. In the past, it has collected archival material on the activities of African Americans in areas of education and politics. The program emphasizes projects that develop academic and job-related internships for students.

Students who enroll (prior permission required) in the internship course (AAS 399) may be assigned/or may select a research project with a community-based organization. Provision for effective research enables the student to participate in the African American community and to observe the dynamics of community activities and the role of the African American community in decision-making in government and social agencies, as well as in the development of cultural and economic activities.

Experiential Learning


Students have an opportunity to work on public policy projects through the offices of state and local legislators and law firms. They may also be placed in community agencies or placed with individual faculty to pursue their research interests.

Underground Railroad Project

The Underground Railroad Project features the research initiatives of the program's mandate to serve the community. Students gain hands-on experience in data collection, archival research and preservation.

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Extracurricular Activities

African & African-American Studies faculty enjoy close relationships with several student organizations, including the Black Student Union, the Caribbean Students Association and the African Students Association. African-American Studies faculties often serve as advisers to these student groups.

See the UB Student Association.

Becoming a(n) African-American Studies BA Student

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.

Becoming a University at Buffalo Student

Admission to UB is highly competitive. For the 2016 incoming freshman class, UB reported an average ACT score of 24-30 and an average SAT (CR+M) score of 1100-1300. 90 percent of admitted students are in the top 50 percent of their class.

Admission to UB is based on a holistic review. We consider high school average, class rank, SAT (critical reading and math) or ACT scores, and strength of the high school academic record. A personal essay, recommendations, documented creative talent, demonstrated leadership, community service and special circumstances are also considered.

The following is not required for admission, but is suggested as adequate preparation for university-level coursework:

  • Four years of English (with a substantial writing component)
  • Four years of social studies
  • Three years of college-preparatory science
  • Three years of a second language
  • Three years of college-preparatory mathematics

Visit Undergraduate Admissions to learn more.

Freshman Admission to the Program

Please contact the undergraduate secretary to schedule an appointment with our Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Undergraduate secretary: Kathryn Cartwright
Main office: 1004 Clemens Hall
P: 716-645-0796

Suggested Introductory Courses

AAS 100 Introduction to African American Studies

Completing the African-American Studies BA Program

Transfer Credit Policy

Students who wish to transfer to the University at Buffalo and pursue a major in African & African-American Studies must first be accepted by the university's admissions office before applying to the program. Students are referred by Student Advising Services to this program so that all transfer credits can be evaluated and applied. The program attempts to keep current with the curricular offerings of a number of feeder institutions. Because these offerings are subject to change, transfer students are advised to bring course descriptions and syllabi to the director of undergraduate studies.

Prerequisite Courses

There are no prerequisite courses for this program.

Required Courses

AAS 100 Introduction to African American Studies
AAS 280 Survey of African Studies
AAS 358 African Diaspora
AAS 355 Race, Class and Society
AAS 314 Black Philosophy or AAS 395 Black Gender Studies
AAS 417 Black Aesthetics or AAS 425 Liberation Struggles
AAS 320 Research Methods in African American Studies
AAS 498 Senior Seminar

Required electives
Four AAS courses (12 credit hours), no more than 3 credit hours of Independent Study, and no more than 3 credit hours from outside AAS without permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. No more than 9 out of the 12 credits can be at the 100 and 200 level.

Departmental Honors Requirements

Details regarding requirements for awarding departmental honors and distinction - see http://undergrad-catalog.buffalo.edu/policies/degree/honors.html

Total Credit Hours Required

Undergraduate Credit Requirements Chart

Credits Required for Major36
Additional Credits Required for UB Curriculum 40
Additional Credits Required for Electives 44
Total Credits Required for Degree 120

Students should consult with an academic advisor to determine how any transfer or exam credit might be utilized in meeting general education, prerequisite or major requirements.

Curricular Plan / Degree Map

View the Curricular Plan for the African-American Studies BA (PDF) which is a recommended sequence of courses to help achieve this degree in four years.

Published: April 13, 2017 08:59:22 AM