The certificate in African American studies introduces undergraduate students to the interdisciplinary study of African American, African diaspora and African history, society, and culture. Students may choose courses in African American history, literature, black women’s studies, art history, visual culture, music history, and sociology. The certificate offers students opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary study and practice that will complement their major and enhance their intellectual and creative participation in their chosen professions and as citizens in our global society.

To declare a certificate in African American Studies, students must be enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Interested students must contact the department’s undergraduate adviser to declare the certificate and be assigned a faculty adviser in their area of interest. Students may not declare both the certificate and the major in African American studies.

Certificate Requirements

Certificate students must plan with a faculty adviser a cohesive program consisting of 15 credits chosen from undergraduate AFROAMER courses.

  • At least one 3-credit course must focus on Afro-American history (see list below). 
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be completed from AFROAMER courses numbered 300–699.
  • At least one 3-credit course must be advanced (AFROAMER 500–697).
  • A maximum of 3 credits of directed study (AFROAMER 699) may count toward the certificate.  
  • Students may not substitute courses from other academic programs or subject listings to fulfill the requirements for this program
All certificate students must take one 3-credit course in Afro-American history:3
Introduction to Afro-American History
Race and American Politics from the New Deal to the New Right
Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History
Afro-American History Since 1900
Afro-American History to 1900
Black Women in America: Reconstruction to the Present
Race and Gender in Post-World War II U.S. Society
Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877
African American Women's Activism (19th & 20th Centuries)
Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement
History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
Colloquium in Afro-American History
Selected Topics in Afro-American History
AFROAMER electives to meet the minimum credit requirement for the certificate12
Total Credits15

Residence & Quality of Work

  • At least 8 credits must be completed in residence. 
  • Minimum 2.500 GPA on all certificate courses. 
  • Courses taken pass/fail or credit/no credit may not apply to the certificate.


This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

  1. To familiarize students with the history, culture and social conditions of African Americans in the United States.
  2. To introduce students to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race, gender, and ethnicity in America.
  3. To prepare students for careers in institutions that address the needs of multicultural communities.

Professor Sandra Adell, Certificate Advisor
4115 Helen C. White Hall

DARS is the document of record for the Afro-American studies certificate. Students should contact the certificate advisor to make sure they are on track to completing the program and to get confirmation of completion of the certificate.

Main Office:
Department of African American Studies
4141 Helen C. White Hall
600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: 608-263-1642
Fax: 608-263-7198

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

Professors:  Sandra Adell, Christy Clark-Pujara, Christina Greene, Brenda Plummer, Ethelene Whitmire

Associate Professor: Thulani Davis

Assistant Professors: Langston Collin Wilkes, Brittany Edmonds, Mosi Ifatunji