Quote from student Jasmine Crenshaw: "Being a part of the African American Studies Program has taught me to think critically about how blackness is perceived and how to be satisfied with my own identity." African American Studies is a course of study that examines African life and culture, both on the African continent and in the US. Unlike most African American Studies programs in the humanities and social sciences, UAB's program lets you explore a much wider range of the African American experience in areas like medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, business, and engineering. You will learn important skills like critical thinking, analytical reading, writing, quantitative literacy, and public speaking so that you are ready to critically engage, incorporate, and represent issues and perspectives regarding race and African Americans.

Students graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in African American Studies must complete all core curriculum courses required by UAB and 40 hours of required courses and electives.

Program Requirements

Please note: The African American Studies major requirements have recently undergone revision. The program requirements and courses listed in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog currently reflect the previous curriculum. The requirements of the new curriculum are listed below.

The major requirements consist of 25 credit hours of required courses and 15 hours in your chosen Area of Emphasis, plus 41 hours of College of Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum classes. A writing course can be substituted for the AAS 350: Research Methods requirement.

All African American Studies majors must take:

Introduces the major, assists in developing a plan to complete the major, and explores internship opportunities and career options. 1 hour.
Examination of seven core areas of African American Studies: History, Religion, Social Organization, Politics, Economics, Creative Production, and Psychology. Emphasizes major thematical theoretical and critical discourses of Black Studies, and its emergence as a political/social movement and discipline. Relates the latter to the complexity and diversity of contemporary movements such as Civil Rights, Free Speech, Black Power, and Afro-centricism. Majors and minors in African American Studies should complete this course before enrolling in any higher level AAS course. 3 hours.
  • HY 223 focuses on ancient African civilizations and their demise, the slave trade, and slavery in New World to the Civil War. 3 hours.
  • HY 224 surveys late 19th century to present African American history. 3 hours.
African aesthetics, African cosmology, and qualities of African spirituality. 3 hours.
This courses examines and explores theory, research, and practice related to the study of psycho-social experiences from the worldview of Africans in America. 3 hours. Prerequisites: AAS 200 [Minimum Grade: C].
Introduces students to qualitative and quantitative methods used to conduct research in African American Studies. 3 hours.
Please note: A writing course can be substituted for the AAS 350: Research Methods requirement.
Critical health issues affecting Black communities globally including HIV, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease/hypertension, malaria. 3 hours.
An Internship in a community agency such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, the Birmingham Museum of Art, and other local agencies. Internship placements should correspond to the student’s chosen area of emphasis. 3 hours.
The course will provide an opportunity for students to reflect upon and to use the knowledge, skills, and dispositions developed in previous African American Studies coursework. This course or AAS 495 is required of all AAS majors. AAS 493 is ideally taken in the final undergraduate semester. Prerequisite: 9 hours of AAS coursework at the 400 level and permission of the Program Director. 3 hours.

Areas of Interest

Students are required to complete 15 hours of coursework in one of the three areas of emphasis:

Students interested in Public Health, Criminal Justice, Legal Studies/Law School, Anthropology, or Political Science should consider this area of emphasis. Career options include criminal justice practitioner, community health worker, diversity training officer, and human resources employee, among others. Choose from the following classes:
  • ANTH 104: Introduction to Peace Studies
  • ANTH 235: Immigration Transnationalism and Diasporas
  • ANTH 292: Anthropology of Slavery
  • ANTH 371: The Power of Nonviolence
  • JS 100: Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • JS 101: Introduction to Criminology
  • JS 150: Foundations of Law
  • JS 230: Judicial Process in America
  • JS 330: Criminal Law
  • JS 442: Race, Crime & Social Policy
  • PSC 101: Introduction to American Government
  • PSC 318: Politics & Race in America
  • PSC 319: Civil Liberties & Civil Rights
  • PSC 350: African Politics
  • PHIL 135: Rule of Law
  • PUH 303: Introduction to Global Health
  • PUH 404: Controversies in Global Health
  • SOC 250: Race & Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 280: Introduction to Medical Sociology
  • SOC 282: Minority Health
  • SOC 450: Minority People
This area is similar to the previous curriculum. Follow-up surveys of UAB graduates receiving degrees in African American Studies show that many students pursue advanced degrees in English, African American Studies, History, and Education. Several have taken positions in secondary education. At least two of the graduates pursued advanced degrees in African American Studies. Choose from the following classes:
  • AAS 165: Jazz Styles & Music Appreciation
  • AAS 300: African American Music
  • AAS 301: History & Tradition of Gospel Music
  • ARH 205: African/Native American/Oceanic Art
  • ARH 405: African Art
  • ARH 468: Race & Representation
  • ARH 480: Art Criticism & Theory
  • ARS 407: Ethnographic Filmmaking
  • EH 324: Special Topics in African American Literature
  • EH 365: African American Literature, 1746-1954
  • EH 366: African American Literature, 1954-Present
  • EH 422: African Literature
  • EH 423: African Women’s Literature
  • EH 424: Special Topics in African American Literature
  • EH 446: African American Autobiography
  • EH 447: African American Dramatic Tradition
  • EH 448: African American Poetry Tradition
  • EH 466: The Slave Narrative
  • EH 467: Black Women Writers
  • EH 468: The Harlem Renaissance
  • HY 223: African American History to 1865
  • HY 224: African American History Since 1865
  • HY 289: Modern Civil Rights
  • HY 304: US Civil Rights Movement
  • HY 310: African American Film
  • HY 312: Rock and Roll and Race Relations
  • HY 326: Mansions, Mines, & Jim Crow
  • HY 389: Apartheid Caught on Camera
This is a new area for the African American Studies curriculum. Students selecting this area may choose to attend graduate school or select from a number of other careers including state and federal agencies, human services, or business. Choose from the following classes:
  • ANTH 248: Peoples of the World: Latin America
  • ARH 468: Race & Representation
  • HY 245: Introduction to Latin American History
  • HY 247: Indians, Spaniards, & Creoles
  • HY 341: US-Latin American Relations
  • HY 342: Sex & Latin American Society
  • SPA 101: Introductory Spanish I
  • SPA 310: Cultures of the Spanish Speaking World
  • SPA 312: Survey of Latin American Literature
  • SPA 414: African Hispanophone Writers
  • SPA 416: Globalization in the Hispanic World

Course Catalog

A complete list of course descriptions is available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Questions? Ready to Apply?

Contact the program director with any questions regarding the African American Studies major by email or by calling (205) 975-9652.

All the information you need to apply can be found on UAB's Undergraduate Admissions Hub.