New Curriculum for African American Studies

UAB’s African American Studies Program is undergoing a major restructuring of its course requirements. The changes allow for more flexibility along with new structure for students so they can pursue and complete the Bachelor of Arts degree in a timely manner.
UAB African American StudiesUAB’s African American Studies Program is undergoing a major restructuring of its course requirements. The changes allow for more flexibility along with new structure for students so they can pursue and complete the Bachelor of Arts degree in a timely manner. New required core courses have been added and Areas of Emphasis have been created to give students a superior educational experience.

Program Director Kathryn Morgan hopes that the revised curriculum will encourage more students to join the program. In the past, some students were reluctant to major in African American Studies because they were not sure about career prospects. The new Areas of Emphasis will help students narrow their focus of study, giving them more options for graduate school and employment after graduation.

This new approach follows the curriculum model recommended by the National Council of Black Studies.

Changes to the Core

The required core requirements have been increased from 12 to 25 hours, adding three African American Studies classes and one History class:

  • AAS 100: African American Studies Seminar introduces the major, assists in developing a plan to complete the major, and explores internship opportunities and career options (1 hour).
  • AAS 350: Research Methods in African American Studies introduces students to qualitative and quantitative methods used to conduct research in African American Studies (3 hours). A writing course can be substituted for this requirement.
  • AAS 490: Internship requires students to complete 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).
  • HY 223: African American History to 1865 focuses on ancient African civilizations and their demise, the slave trade, and slavery in New World to the Civil War; OR HY 224: African American History Since 1865 surveys late 19th century to present African American history (3 hours).

Areas of Emphasis

In addition to the required core classes, students will be required to complete 15 hours of coursework in one of the three Areas of Emphasis:

Martez Files
  • Minority & Global Public Health and Social Justice
  • Historical Investigation and Cultural Awareness
  • History & Culture of Afro-Caribbean and Latino People

Students will be able to choose which area most fits their interests and career goals. Visit the African American Studies website for a list of courses associated with each area.

Minority & Global Public Health /Social Justice

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.

Historical Investigation & Cultural Awareness

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.

History & Culture of Afro-Caribbean and Latino People

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 in state and federal agencies, human services, or business.

How to Learn More

Information about the new curriculum requirements, including lists of courses in each area of emphasis, is available on the African American Studies website. You can also email program director Kathryn Morgan with questions.

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