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Why Major in African American Studies?

Students of multiple races and genders in a UAB classroom. The BA in African American Studies is an interdisciplinary program examining African life and culture, both on the African continent and the diaspora. As a student, you will learn about the African and African American experience from different perspectives including English, history, political science, sociology, and public health.

We are committed to educating and providing our students with knowledge and critical thinking skills to:

  • address social justice issues,
  • promote the diversity of ideas, and
  • understand the experiences, traditions, and history of African descended people.

You will take required and elective courses that cover a variety of subjects. You will also select from one of three Areas of Interest that will help guide your graduate school or professional aspirations:

  • Minority & Global Public Health/Social Justice: Students who select this area may choose to pursue graduate and professional school in public health, criminal justice, legal studies/law, anthropology, or political science. Career options include criminal justice practitioner, community health worker, diversity training officer, and human resources employee. AAS graduates who have selected this track have gotten degrees in nursing to work in underserved communities, obtained master’s degrees in public health to work in medical facilities often located in underserved communities, and attended law school.
  • Historical Investigation & Cultural Awareness: Many of our students choose this area. Completion of coursework in this area prepares students to attend graduate programs in history, english, and education.
  • History & Culture of Afro-Caribbean and Latino People: Students selecting this area may choose to attend graduate school or select from several other careers including state and federal agencies, human services, and business.

Students may choose African American Studies as a first major or a secondary major. You will have the opportunity to join the Honors Program. Also, you can gain experience through internships and participate in our award-winning African American Studies Student Organization (AASSO).

Program Requirements

Students majoring in African American Studies must complete 45 credit hours. This includes 25 hours of required courses and 15 hours in one of the Areas of Interest. If you are a double major and African American Studies is your second major, you must complete the same requirements.

A complete list of required core courses, Area of Interest coures, and a proposed four-year program of study are available in the UAB Undergraduate Catalog.

Questions? Ready to Apply?

Contact Dr. Kay Morgan, program director, with any questions regarding the African American Studies major by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (205) 975-9652.

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

Alumni Spotlight

  • Makayla Smith
  • Anissa Latham
  • Veronica Mixon
  • Michael Chambers II
  • Makayla Smith

    Makayla Smith wants to use poetry to create spaces of joy and representation for Black, queer audiences. Growing up in the rural South, she struggled to find her identity as a writer and as a person. But studying literature, creative writing, and African American Studies at UAB has clarified for Smith what role she wants to play in the world as an academic and creator. Now, as an adult and recent graduate, she has a clearer understanding of herself.

    Read more about Makayla Smith
  • Anissa Latham

    Anissa Latham (2017) nurtured her storytelling and filmmaking skills during her time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham — now, with new partners and supporters investing in her work, she’s bringing her creative vision to the world. She directed and co-produced the film “Missing Magic,” which premiered at the American Film Institute (AFI) DOCS Film Festival in June 2021. “Missing Magic” will be featured on Alabama Public Television (APT).

    Read more about Anissa Latham
  • Veronica Mixon

    Through courses like Black Psychology and an emphasis in global health and justice studies, Veronica Mixon (2021) has found numerous points of intersection between African American studies and psychology. Recently, she shared her insights at a panel entitled “Breaking Down Barriers: Supporting Marginalized Communities During COVID-19.” By building her critical thinking skills with an interdisciplinary focus, she is now in a position to pursue her career goals.

    Read more about Veronica Mixon
  • Michael Chambers II

    In his latest role in the Director's Office at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, Michael Chambers II manages board relations, a national philanthropic professional network, and special projects. He is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. In 2020 he was recognized by the UAB College of Arts and Sciences with its Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

    Read more about Michael Chambers II

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