The Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison offers students an opportunity to study those aspects of black history, culture, and society in ideal interdisciplinary models that reconstruct African American life. It challenges students to critically examine facts and issues that are historically and contemporaneously relevant to the African American experience.
The department offers an undergraduate major and certificate. The M.A. program is based on personalized programs of study shaped to meet the needs of individual students, many of whom participate in the “Bridge” programs which enable them to move directly into Ph.D. programs in English and history. Faculty members and students are active in a broad range of activities, including hip-hop programs for at-risk youth, community theater, college classes for low-income adults, and various support activities for the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama. The department prides itself on positive working relationships with our colleagues in traditional disciplines as well as the other ethnic programs, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Department of African Cultural Studies, and the School of Education. A vibrant community of scholars and students who believe in the ideal of unity without uniformity, we welcome all those committed to the deeper understanding of race in America and the world.
Students should inform the Department of Afro-American Studies Office of their intention to major and be assigned an advisor within the department.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
|General Education|| |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.
College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.
Bachelor of Arts degree requirements
|Mathematics||Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.|
|Foreign Language|| |
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
|L&S Breadth|| |
|Liberal Arts and Science Coursework||108 credits|
|Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work||60 intermediate or advanced credits|
|Major||Declare and complete at least one (1) major|
|Total Credits||120 credits|
|UW-Madison Experience||30 credits in residence, overall |
30 credits in residence after the 86th credit
|Minimum GPAs||2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison |
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison
Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major
Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above. Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non–L&S degree-seeking candidates:
- Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
- Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
- Music (Bachelor of Music)
- Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)
Requirements for the Major
The major in Afro-American studies requires a minimum of 30 credits. 15 credits must be numbered 300 and above. Students must take 2 courses from each of the four areas listed below: 1) Literature; 2) History and Society; 3) Arts and Culture; 4) Seminars and Advanced Courses; and Electives to achieve a total of 30 credits.
|Two Courses From:||6|
|Introduction to Black Women Writers|
|Introduction to African American Dramatic Literature|
|Masterpieces of African American Literature|
|The Harlem Renaissance|
|The Black Arts Movement|
|19th Century Afro-American Literature|
History and Society
|Two Courses From:||6|
|Introduction to Contemporary Afro-American Society|
|Introduction to Afro-American History|
|Race and American Politics from the New Deal to the New Right|
|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|
Arts and CuLture
|Two Courses From||6|
|Hip-Hop and Contemporary American Society|
|Black Music and American Cultural History|
|Introduction to African Art and Architecture|
|Introduction to Afro-American Art|
|Artistic/Cultural Images of Black Women|
|Blacks, Film, and Society|
|Art and Visual Culture: Women of the African Diaspora and Africa|
SEMINARS AND ADVANCED COURSES
|Two Courses From||6|
|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|
|Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts|
|Selected Topics in Afro-American History|
|Selected Topics in Afro-American Literature|
|Selected Topics in Afro-American Society|
|Selected Topics on Afro-American Artists|
|Selected Topics in Afro-American Culture|
|Critical and Theoretical Perspectives in Black Women's Writings|
|Visual Culture, Gender and Critical Race Theory|
|Two Courses From||6|
|Introduction to Comparative US Ethnic and American Indian Studies|
|They: Race in American Literature|
|Introduction to Black Women's Studies|
|Selected Topics in African American Culture|
|African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction|
|Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History|
|Gender, Race and Class: Women in U.S. History|
|The Caribbean and its Diasporas|
|Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities|
|Soul Music and the African American Freedom Movement|
|Interdisciplinary Studies in the Arts|
|African American Political Theory|
|African American Families|
|Race, American Medicine and Public Health|
|History of African American Education|
RESIDENCE & QUALITY OF WORK in the MAJOR
2.000 GPA in all AFROAMER and major courses
2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, in residence2
15 credits in AFROAMER, taken on the UW–Madison campus
Upper-level in the major includes AFROAMER courses numbered 300 and above and courses that count for the major that are designated as Intermediate or Advanced level.
Distinction in the Major
Afro-American studies majors not enrolled for Honors in the Major may receive the "Distinction in the Major" notation on the transcript by earning a 3.750 grade point average in major courses and successfully completing the AFROAMER 691–AFROAMER 692 Senior Thesis project.
Thesis of Distinction
The award Thesis of Distinction is granted for an exceptionally good or original thesis, without consideration of the student's record in other work. A committee of at least two faculty members will evaluate the thesis and recommend to the dean the granting of this award when appropriate.
Honors in the Major
Students may declare Honors in the Afro-American Studies Major in consultation with the Afro-American Studies undergraduate advisor(s).
Honors in the Afro-American Studies Major Requirements
To earn Honors in the Major in Afro-American Studies, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:
- 3.300 University GPA
- 3.500 GPA in all AFROAMER courses, and all courses accepted in the major
- Complete at least one course with a cross-cultural or comparative focus:
|AFROAMER/ART HIST 241||Introduction to African Art and Architecture||3|
|AFROAMER/ANTHRO/C&E SOC/GEOG/HISTORY/LACIS/POLI SCI/SOC/SPANISH 260||Latin America: An Introduction||3-4|
|AFROAMER/AFRICAN/ANTHRO/GEOG/HISTORY/POLI SCI/SOC 277||Africa: An Introductory Survey||4|
|AFROAMER/AFRICAN/HISTORY/POLI SCI 297||African and African-American Linkages: An Introduction||4|
|AFROAMER/HISTORY 347||The Caribbean and its Diasporas||3|
|AFROAMER/AFRICAN 413||Contemporary African and Caribbean Drama||3-4|
|AFROAMER/ASIAN AM 443||Mutual Perceptions of Racial Minorities||3|
- Complete at least 15 credits in AFROAMER at the 500 or 600 level, to include a two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in AFROAMER 681 and AFROAMER 682, for a total of 6 credits.
University Degree Requirements
|Total Degree||To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.|
|Residency||Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.|
|Quality of Work||Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.|
- Familiar with the history, culture and social conditions of African Americans in the United States and, secondarily, in the African diaspora.
- Prepared to interact effectively in a multicultural world.
- Prepared to share the results of academic research in the area of race with their communities in Wisconsin, the U.S., and the world.
- Prepared for careers working in institutions that address the needs of multicultural communities.
- Develop an understanding of the connection between different disciplinary approaches to the study of race.
Sample Four-Year Plan
This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.
|Communication-A (complete during your first year)||3||AFROMAER major course||3|
|Quantitative Reasoning-A (complete during your first year)||3||AFROMAER major course (Literature)2||3|
|Foreign Language||4||AFROAMER elective (Ethnic Studies)3||3|
|AFROMAER Arts & Culture course1||3||AFROMAER major course (History & Society)4||3|
|Elective (eg. SEED = 1 credit)||Elective||3|
|Elective: INTER-LS 210: Taking Initiative||1||AFROMAER major course numbered 300-above (History & Society)||3|
|AFROMAER major course (Arts & Culture)||3||Physical Science Breadth||3|
|Biological Science Breadth||3||Elective||3|
|Declare the Major (before 86 credits)4||AFROAMER major course numbered 300-higher (Literature)||3|
|I/A Comp Sci, Math or Stats (if required for BS)||3||AFROMER major course numbered 300-higher||3|
|AFROAMER major course numbered 300 and higher||3||Natural Science Breadth||3|
|Natural Science Breadth||3||Elective||3|
|AFROAMER seminar||3||AFROMER Seminar||3|
|Total Credits 117|
Many AFROAMER courses from Arts & Culture carry Humanities breadth and will also meet the L&S Breadth requirement for Humanities (up to 6 credits).
AFROAMER literature courses will satisfy the L&S Literature Breadth requirement (6 credits of Literature course work).
Nearly all AFROAMER courses carry the Ethnic Studies (ESR) designation and will apply to General Education and the major. Students should complete ESR within first 60 credits.
Many AFROAMER courses in History & Society will carry Social Science Breadth and also meet the L&S Breadth requirements for Social Science (12 credits) course work.
Students must declare a major by the time they reach 86 credits.
Students are limited to a maximum of 6 credits of Directed Study courses (AFROAMER 199 or AFROAMER 699). With consent of the undergraduate adviser, students may substitute directed studies or thesis credits to satisfy requirements for the major.
The Department of Afro-American Studies encourages our majors to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to your success.
Professor Sandra Adell, Undergraduate and Certificate advisor in the major
4115 Helen C. White Hall
Afro-American Studies Main Office:
Department of Afro-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
SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.
SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career.
Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit, targeted to first- and second-year students)—for more information, see Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Com B General Education Requirement)
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative