Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

African American Studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Artistic, Historical and Literary Perspectives; Political, Religious and Societal Perspectives; Social and Behavioral Perspectives
Program description

The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies is an interdisciplinary degree that provides students with knowledge of human cultures and intellectual and practical skills to engage complexity, diversity and change. The degree program fosters students’ personal and social responsibility and, through applied learning experiences, empowers students to negotiate and to solve the complex problems of the 21st century. The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies requires the completion of 120 credits with at least 30 credits in African American Studies courses. At least 15 of the 30 credits in African American Studies must be in upper-level courses.  

Students also are required to establish an area of study by taking either a minimum of four courses in a single cooperating department or in one of the following multidisciplinary concentrations: artistic, historical and literary perspectives; political, religious and societal perspectives; or social and behavioral perspectives.  At least one of the four courses taken in a single cooperating department must have an Africana focus, and at least one of the four courses must be an upper-level course. A cooperating department or program is defined as one that regularly offers at least one course with an Africana focus per year, which includes: Anthropology, Dance, English, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies, Geography, History, Mass Communications, Music history, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theatre. When non-Africana-focused courses are used to meet the concentration requirement, they must be selected in consultation with the African American studies adviser.

Career opportunities

An undergraduate degree in African American Studies is good preparation for graduate study in African American studies, as well as other areas such as business, education, history, international relations, law, political science, psychology, public administration, public health, and social work. Career opportunities with a B.A. in African American Studies include employment in just about any industry from public and private schools to nonprofit organizations. The perspective fostered by an humanities degree in combination with excellent verbal and written communication skills are an asset for any career in the private or public sector. Part-time and summer jobs, internships, and volunteer positions are critical to gaining the experience and skills that employers seek.

Change of major requirements
Email granthamao@vcu.edu to schedule advising appointment to discuss the major.

Bachelor-level job titles
  • Budget Analyst
  • City and Regional Planning Aid
  • Fundraiser  
  • High School Teacher
  • Historical Interpreter
  • Human Resource Generalist
  • Paralegal and Legal Assistant
  • Social and Human Services Assistant
  • Social Science Research Assistants
  • Staff and Legislative Assistant
Graduate and professional level job titles
  • Attorney
  • College Professor
  • Nonprofit Director
  • Urban & Regional Planner
Highest level of math required
  • MATH 131
Science required
  • Core only
Foreign language requirements
  • Yes
Additional tuition/fees
  • No
GPA requirements (to progress/graduate in the major)
  • 2.0
Department name:
Department of African American Studies
Building/room location:
816 W. Franklin Street
Campus (where 75% of courses are taken):
Monroe park
Phone:
(804) 828-1371
Email:
newmanad@vcu.edu

Major map compass icon
Major map

Explore
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Complete UNIV 111, 112, 200 & AFAM 111.
  • Consider taking foreign language and math during the first year as well as HIST 300.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Take AFAM 211, fall semester if possible.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Engage in active career exploration via the African-American Studies department and Career Service.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.

Experience
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Complete AFAM 311. Take AFAM 399 or approved methods course in the spring. Remember, you can only take 9 credits in topics courses (AFAM 491).
  • If in a perspectives concentration, be aware of perspectives elective requirements.
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Commit to understanding intersectional social identities by volunteering & working on issues outside of your comfort zone.
  • Take an international perspectives AFAM course that focuses on Africa or the Caribbean.
  • Attend OMSA Tunnel of Oppression.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Seek research opportunities to refine goals and learn the discipline required for success.
  • Apply for summer research funding through VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider completing an independent study or internship (AFAM 492 or 493) that would serve as a career skill and career-building opportunity.
  • Identify at least three career options within your field of interest that you may want to pursue.
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services.

Excel
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Take AFAM 411 in the fall semester to prepare for spring capstone course. Students MUST complete the capstone (AFAM 499). 
GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Build intercultural competence by engaging with international students on campus.
  • Attend at least two or three public talks or other events advertised by the department
  • Attend Cultural Graduation Ceremony.
GET REAL EXPERIENCE
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Expand your network; you can network anywhere!
PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.
Visit majormaps.vcu.edu for the online version with links.
Sponsored by the Office of the Provost
Major map compass icon
2019-2020

African American Studies

College of Humanities and Sciences

Concentration(s):
Artistic, Historical and Literary Perspectives; Political, Religious and Societal Perspectives; Social and Behavioral Perspectives
MAXIMIZE COURSE AND DEGREE PLANNING GET CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY BUILD CULTURAL COMPETENCE GET REAL EXPERIENCE PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE
Explore Year 1
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor to review your CSI self-report, start goal planning, and to discuss tutoring, electives, & degree progression.
  • Take a tour to learn about library spaces, services, & how to get research help.
  • Map out a 4-year course plan in Degree Works' Student Educational Planner.
  • Attend Ready, Set, Go – Sophomore Transition Experience.  
  • Complete UNIV 111, 112, 200 & AFAM 111.
  • Consider taking foreign language and math during the first year as well as HIST 300.
Experience Year 2
  • Get familiar with the research process with the VCU Libraries Research Basics Guide. Ask questions about how to use the library.
  • Schedule an appointment with your advisor and explore minors, certificates, and skills-based value added courses.  
  • Talk to your professors about research interests, picking future classes, and strategies for success in your program.
  • Take AFAM 211, fall semester if possible.
  • Complete a “Gap Analysis” Strategic Plan with your academic or career advisor.
  • Gain practical experience related to career goals through internships, shadowing, part-time work, or independent skill building.
  • Create an ePortfolio to document academic/professional experiences, accomplishments, and reflections.
  • Attend Career & Internship Fairs and other professional development events. 
  • Engage in active career exploration via the African-American Studies department and Career Service.
  • Get plugged into VCULink to connect with students and alumni.
  • Conduct informational interviews or shadow someone in a field of career interest.
  • Consider who you would ask to serve as professional and academic references for future letters of recommendation.   
  • Meet with a coach at The Money Spot to set financial goals, understand student loans, and create spending plans.
Year 3
  • See your academic and career advisors regularly to discuss your progress towards graduation and career planning.
  • Enhance your business, software, technology and creative skills using LinkedIn Learning.
  • Deepen your expertise at finding information in your discipline by working with your subject expert librarian & using research guides.
  • Complete AFAM 311. Take AFAM 399 or approved methods course in the spring. Remember, you can only take 9 credits in topics courses (AFAM 491).
  • If in a perspectives concentration, be aware of perspectives elective requirements.
  • Actively develop your communication and interpersonal skills for future work on multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
  • Apply to be a Diversity Ambassador with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.
  • Richmond is known for hosting a wide array of festivals! Learn about new cultures, food, and music by attending one of these events.
  • Commit to understanding intersectional social identities by volunteering & working on issues outside of your comfort zone.
  • Take an international perspectives AFAM course that focuses on Africa or the Caribbean.
  • Attend OMSA Tunnel of Oppression.
  • Seek research opportunities to refine goals and learn the discipline required for success.
  • Apply for summer research funding through VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
  • Update your ePortfolio.
  • Apply for the Graduate School Mentorship Program to learn more about graduate school and the graduate student experience.
  • Consider completing an independent study or internship (AFAM 492 or 493) that would serve as a career skill and career-building opportunity.
  • Identify at least three career options within your field of interest that you may want to pursue.
  • Talk to advisors, faculty, and career services about graduate school versus a job.
  • Research graduate/professional schools at least 1 year in advance of deadlines. Study for and complete any exams the summer before senior year. 
  • Prepare for job offer negotiation by researching salaries, benefits, and other opportunities for flexibility.
  • Join job listserv sites that provide access to job postings in desired fields. Revisit gap analysis assessment and continue adjusting strategic career plan with Career Services.
Excel Year 4
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor a semester before your anticipated graduation to ensure all graduation requirements will be met. 
  • Take AFAM 411 in the fall semester to prepare for spring capstone course. Students MUST complete the capstone (AFAM 499). 
  • Read scholarly articles about diversity in your field.
  • Reflect on your own cultural competency, and be prepared to answer interview questions that outline how you have worked with diverse populations.
  • Build intercultural competence by engaging with international students on campus.
  • Attend at least two or three public talks or other events advertised by the department
  • Attend Cultural Graduation Ceremony.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning you have engaged in thus far, and discuss with current or potential mentors (peers, faculty, advisors, alumni, professionals).
  • Continue to engage in research to create more content for your ePortfolio.
  • Present your research at conference/meeting such as UROP Undergraduate Research Symposium or other conferences. 
  • Expand your network; you can network anywhere!
  • Complete exams, applications, or self-marketing activities for after graduation.
  • Research prospective employers and create a job or graduate school search strategy at least 8 months before graduation.
  • Have a personal statement or cover letter reviewed and do a mock interview at VCU Career Services. 
  • Engage with the VCU Alumni Association at Grad Fair, Grad Bash, and by joining a VCULink Industry Network and alumni chapter as you prepare to graduate.