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Africana Studies FAQs

What is the Africana Studies Program?

The Africana Studies Program provides students with the opportunity to study African and African-descent experience in Africa, in the Americas, and throughout the African diaspora. Students explore topics, issues and research from cross-cultural, international, transnational and multidisciplinary perspectives. Through the lens of the African experience, Africana studies also examines the intersection of race, gender and class as it impacts on the broad issues of human development.

A great and immediate need has been recognized at both national and local levels for more individuals with knowledge of cultures beyond those in the United States in order to improve our ability to function cooperatively in an increasingly interdependent world. 

Africana studies provides tools students can use to better understand the global context of the modern world and to learn the national and international dimensions of their chosen fields of study.

  • Be cognizant of the major theories of the disciplines represented in Africana studies
  • Know principal themes and issues in the history of African-descent peoples
  • Acquire an understanding of African and African-descent art and literature
  • Define and understand the role of key thinkers, movements, and ideas relevant to Africana Studies
  • Identify the principal physical, social and geographical features of Africa and the diaspora
  • Analyze the internal and external factors affecting the development of peoples throughout the African diaspora
  • Develop the ability to think critically and globally

What kind of careers do Africana Studies majors choose after graduation?

There are 30 million people of African descent present in the United States and many more millions in Africa, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. They reformulated African culture in ways that profoundly impacted the societies of the New World. To understand the socio-cultural dynamics of this vast region, therefore, it is crucial that the Black experience be a central component of any educational curriculum. Further, every country in the world is engaged in Africa.  Africa is the second largest continent and it has the distinction of having the most mineral resources in the world.  Africa also has one of the largest global diasporas in human history.  As such, it is imperative that countries and companies who engage Africa and the African diaspora are conversant with the cultural, economic, historical and social orientation of these cultures. As an Africana studies major or minor, you will be uniquely prepared to meet the challenges facing African and African diasporan cultures. In short, the Africana Studies Program will help to prepare you to do anything that you want to do.

Africana studies supplements any and all professions. In fact, Mae Jemison, a physician and the first African American woman to go into space, received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University in chemical engineering and Afro-American studies. Aaron McGruder, creator of the Boondocks, also holds a degree in Africana studies. Alumni have gone on to become lawyers, engineers, university professors, counselors, social workers, civil servants, physician, and psychologists; Africana studies majors compete well in every field.   

A minor or concentration in Africana studies is comparable to minors and degrees in anthropology, English, geography, history, philosophy, sociology and several other fields of study. To engage in any kind of meaningful study of African or African American people in these traditional disciplines, it is highly imperative that students have a strong background in Africana studies.

Finally, job opportunities are increasing for students with broad backgrounds and intercultural and cross-cultural knowledge and experiences. Consequently, if you are a student in physical and life sciences, business and management, social sciences and education you can benefit from a concentrated study of the African or African diaspora Experience.

If you are still wondering what you can do with Africana studies, here are 150 answers.

What additional requirements, such as study abroad, service learning or internships, are part of Africana Studies?

Africana studies does not require most students to participate in study abroad, service learning or internships. However, the program is actively engaged in study abroad programming in Africa and in the African diaspora. Each of our study abroad experiences includes a service learning component.  Some students, however, are required to complete an internship. The major has two options: Africana studies and the community studies concentration. Students matriculating into the community studies concentration are required to complete a two-semester internship with a service learning component. 

How do I find out who my faculty advisor is?

Each Africana studies student has an advisor who is an active participant in your educational process. All new students entering the major will be assigned an advisor after being accepted into the program. Most students are advised by the Africana Studies Coordinator, Dr. Haddy Njie, while others are advised by program faculty. Your advisor’s information is also listed in your MyPack Portal.

Where can I find out more about general education and College of Humanities and Social Sciences requirements for Africana studies majors?

All general education requirements are listed on your degree audit, which is accessible through MyPack Portal.  You may also access them through the Division of Undergraduate Academic Programs website.

All College of Humanities and Social Sciences requirements are located on your degree audit on MyPack Portal. College requirements are also available on the college website.

How do I become an Africana studies major?

All current NC State students wanting to change majors or add a second major must have at least 12 hours of NC State credit completed before they can do so. Visit our Change of Degree Application (CODA) page for more information.

If your total GPA is 3.0 or better, you will automatically be accepted. If your GPA is at least 2.0, you will be considered for admission into the Africana Studies Program; however, your admission into the program is not guaranteed. 

If I choose Africana studies as a second major, what additional curriculum requirements are there?

  • If both majors are in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, then you will just need to complete the “departmental requirements” for both programs. See the Africana studies requirements here.
  • If your two majors will be in different colleges, you will need to complete the additional requirements for the other college and the other department. 
  • For your two majors the following restrictions apply:
    • No more than nine hours of overlap coursework may be counted in the two majors’ departmental requirements. There is no restriction on the amount of overlap that is allowed in GER or free elective coursework.

Can I minor in Africana studies?

The Africana Studies Program does offer a minor. The minor requires 15 credit hours including three required courses and two electives. The required courses are:

  • AFS 240 – African Civilizations
  • AFS 241 – Introduction to African American Studies
  • AFS 342 – Introduction to the African Diaspora

To minor in Africana studies, you may access course information here and the minor application here. Additional information is located online at Advising Central.

What makes a good fit as a minor or second major for Africana studies?

Africana studies is a perfect fit for any second major or minor. Since Africana studies is a college major, students can double–major in Africana studies and in any other college major quite easily. For students in other colleges, double majoring in Africana studies will require fulfilling college and Africana studies requirements. The MyPack Portal features a “What If?” tool that enables you to see how your credits may apply to any major.

Are there student organizations that I can join?

While the Africana Studies Program does not have a program-specific student organization, there are several student organizations that share our programmatic thrusts including: 

  • African American Heritage Society
  • African Student Union
  • Caribbean Students Association 
  • Society for Afrikan American Culture

Where can I find information about scholarships and financial aid?

Scholarships and financial aid are handled through the Student Services Center.

Do you have an affiliated graduate program?

The Africana Studies Program in the midst of planning a certificate in graduate studies.

What are good graduate programs in Africana studies or closely related fields?

There are well over 20 excellent graduate programs in Africana studies, Black new world studies, and African and African American studies.  What follows is a list of the leading programs in the field:

Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Florida International University, Harvard University, Indiana University, North Carolina A&T State University, New York University-University of Cape Town (joint program), Ohio State University, SUNY – Albany, Temple University, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of California – Berkeley, University of California – Los Angeles, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, University of Iowa, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Xavier University, and Yale University. 

What does Africana studies have to do with my overall education and the “real world”?

Africana studies is a multidisciplinary area of study. As such, it draws on the theory, methodology, and substantive content of your other courses. In fact, Africana studies provides you with a concrete case study for applying what you have learned in abstract terms in your other courses. For example, notions of “stratification,” the “intersection of gender and race,” and “diaspora,” become lived-experiences of real people in the world.

Africana studies is taught from a global comparative and cross-cultural perspective. For this reason having a background in Africana studies can make you more attractive in the marketplace where businesses are increasingly looking for people who appreciate the complexity of cultural diversity and racial dynamics in global contexts.