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Major or Minor in African American Studies

African American Studies Degree: Explore New Perspectives in U.S. History

African Americans have played a central role in U.S. history. But many Americans lack an understanding of the unique experiences and challenges people of color have faced — and continue to face in the modern era. A bachelor’s degree in African American Studies from Ohio University delves deeply into this broad and crucial topic.

The African American Studies program is ideal for those who want to work in a wide range of careers, including government, business, law, non-profits, and many others. In addition to teaching you how to think critically and examine American history, literature, music and more from a new perspective, the African American Studies degree gives you the insight and knowledge necessary to make a powerful difference in the lives of others.

Choose What You Want to Learn

  • B.A. in African American Studies

    OHIO’s African American Studies program is one of the oldest in the country. The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies emphasizes a variety of problem-solving and critical thinking skills to prepare you for a diversity of careers, including education, law, social services, and more.

  • Minor in African American Studies

    For those who choose not to major in African American Studies, students can pursue African American Studies as a minor. A minor makes an excellent complement to pre-law, social work, education, and a number of other focuses, especially if you wish to specialize your education or work with people of color and dedicated institutions after graduating.

Choose Where You Want to Learn

  • Athens, OH, Residential Campus

    African American Studies majors will attend class at our residential campus in Athens, Ohio. It’s a diverse, welcoming institution with a faculty of experts in this broad discipline who are prepared to help incoming students make the most of their opportunities.

  • Online Courses

    Most of the African American Studies curriculum requires attending classes in Athens. However, African American Studies classes also are offered online, which can be taken from one of OHIO’s regional campuses or elsewhere.

Careers in African American Studies

A B.A. in African American Studies unlocks a wide variety of possible careers and positions. Some of the most popular and essential African American Studies jobs include:

  • Historian
  • Educator
  • Museum curator
  • Lawyer
  • Psychologist
  • Social worker
  • Advocate
  • Diversity consultant
  • Immigration consultant

More about African American Studies Careers

Post-grad opportunities for African American Studies majors  Graduates with an African American Studies degree have lots of opportunities after their senior years conclude. The experiential learning you’ll complete will set you up for success and impress employers as you start looking for a job. It’s not uncommon for graduates at Ohio University to have job offers when they leave school.  You can also go on to graduate school at Ohio University or elsewhere. Many African American Studies majors are well-pre
Alumna Lekeisha Grant is an entrepreneur. She started her first business, Ambition Unlocked, in 2012. Transformers Fitness would follow. She's focused on empowering entrepreneurs, particularly women.

Post-grad opportunities for African American Studies majors

Graduates with an African American Studies degree may choose from an array of opportunities after their senior year concludes. The experiential learning will prepare you for success and impress employers as you start looking for a job. Ohio University graduates often have job offers waiting when they leave school.

With an African American Studies degree, you also be well-prepared for graduate school in such areas as legal services, social service, and education. Apply early enough, and you may qualify for the Law, Justice & Culture Early Assurance Program: an opportunity to complete both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at an accelerated cadence.

Where Can You Find Our Alumni?

Olayemi Olurin, who minored in African American Studies, is now a movement lawyer, political commentator and writer in New York City. Like many of our alumni, she's a changemaker.


"Believe it or not, my 18-year-old self didn’t want to take African American Studies or women and gender studies — I thought I didn’t need them. But OHIO was like, ma’am, you need to be well rounded, get in there. And then I discovered just how much I truly didn’t know," she says of her African American Studies Courses.

Olayemi Olurin, who minored in African American Studies, is a "movement lawyer" in New York City.

Get hands-on experience with your African American Studies degree

  • Participate in undergraduate research experiences

    African American Studies majors can often participate in undergrad research opportunities. These research opportunities are great ways to put concrete experience on your resume and apply your classroom knowledge to real-world challenges experienced by African American individuals.

  • Join Student Organizations

    Ohio University is home to many student organizations for African American studies majors. Join organizations like the Black Student Union, Ebony Minds, and NAACP at OHIO to meet like-minded individuals and make friendships — some of which might last well after college!

  • Get Involved in Community Events and Talks

    Ohio University hosts a variety of lectures, presentations, and other community events surrounding African Americans and their experiences. Attend these meetings to meet well-known professionals in this field, expand your horizons, and learn more about the multifaceted topics inherent in African American studies.

Why Choose an African American Studies Degree?

The history of African Americans is the history of the United States. African Americans have played a vital role in shaping U.S. society, and the experiences of people of color are highly important in understanding modern societal difficulties and ensuring that American history is accurately taught.

Pursuing African American Studies gives students new and powerful perspectives on their own lived experience. Many of our African American Studies majors study this field because they seek an awareness of their own role in society and history — they want to learn the truth about their country and its diverse citizens.

An African American Studies degree is also an excellent credential for career advancement. Our program prepares you for grad school and qualifies you to work in areas like government, industry, law and more. With the experience and knowledge earned in this program, you’ll be able to make a difference in the lives of real people and lend your strength to the ever-important fight for equity in our nation.

Student Support Resources for African American Studies Majors

Ohio University prides itself on its diverse faculty, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. They are well-equipped to assist minority or first-generation students who face individual challenges. Our professors provide ample support, including one-on-one mentoring, to all African American Studies majors and strive to inspire success in all our students.

The African American Studies Department offers scholarships and other financial aid opportunities to qualifying students, including research grants. With these tools, covering the cost of your education may be much more manageable than you had anticipated!

Beyond these resources, all students will be assigned a success advisor to help them meet their academic goals and graduate on time. Ohio University is renowned throughout the state and the country for helping students thrive.

The OHIO experience for African American Studies Majors

African American Studies is an "interdisciplinary discipline,” which means that it requires studying a variety of topics and subjects, ranging from history to media arts. African American Studies majors emerge as well-rounded graduates with the ability to think critically and apply their knowledge to the complex challenges facing our society today.

As part of your experience at Ohio University, you’ll get many opportunities to assist local groups or complete internships. Thanks to these opportunities, you’ll already have work experience on your resume when you seek out a job in academia, research, business, or many other industries. At OHIO, we believe out of the classroom experience is just as important as classroom learning, so your time in this program will include a good mix of both!