African American Studies

Undergraduate Program

Introduction to the Major

African American Studies exposes students to the social, political, and cultural history of African-descended people in the modern world. While its primary focus is on the United States, the program places African Americans within a broader global dialogue about the evolving function of race.

The Department of African American Studies offers a major and minor in African American Studies, as well as a joint minor in Race and the Law with the Department of Ethnic Studies.

The Major Curriculum 

Along with three lower division courses, students in the African American Studies major will complete eight courses focused on black intellectual thought, colonialism and slavery, and research. Additionally, each student will work with their advisor to choose a concentration area. Students will also complete a senior capstone course that guides majors in the process of consolidating their intellectual experience as they work toward carving out the next stage of their professional lives.

Amplify Your Major

I initially sought out this major in an attempt to learn more about myself. In turn, I actually found myself, I found knowledge, I found the world, and I found peace.
Kristin Therese Jones, African American Studies & Rhetoric major

Four-Year Student Timeline

First Year

Explore Your Major

  • Meet with your major and college advisor to discuss your academic plans.

  • Familiarize yourself with major and college requirements.

  • Start on the lower division requirements (AFRICAM 4A, 5A and 5B).

  • Consider taking an African language like AFRICAM 11A: Elementary Swahili.

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Second Year

Explore Your Major

  • Complete the three lower division prerequisites and declare the major.

  • Once declared, start on upper division requirements (AFRICAM 100, 101, 116, and 195).

  • Review major guidelines for study abroad

  • Consider doing the Race and the Law minor.

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

Third Year

Explore Your Major

  • Focus on upper division requirements and electives.

  • Meet with your major advisor to discuss your elective cluster or area of concentration.

  • Start thinking about your senior capstone course (AFRICAM 195).

  • Ask the major advisor about the African American Studies honors program.

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.

  • Discuss post-graduate options with advisors and professors.

  • Attend career and graduate school fairs like the “Nonprofit, Education, & Public Service Career Fair.”

  • Ask professors and graduate student instructors for recommendation letters.

Fourth Year

Explore Your Major

Connect and Build Community

Discover Your Passions

Engage Locally and Globally

Reflect and Plan Your Future

What Can I Do With My Major?

With its interdisciplinary strengths in history, culture, and social and political institutions, the African American Studies major provides students with skills in research, criticism, and writing that our graduates have taken to a variety of professional paths, including teaching, government and policy work, employment in mass media, professional schools (law, medicine, business), and graduate study in multiple fields.

Jobs and Employers

  • Art History Lecturer, UC Berkeley
  • Assoc. Professor, Florida State University
  • Career Development Coord., Unitek College
  • Executive Consultant, Self-Care Consulting
  • Founder, Infinite Potential Africa
  • Independence Facilitator, Aspire Public Schools
  • Interim Campus Director, Flatiron School 
  • Public Health Nurse, County of San Mateo
  • Recruiting Coordinator, Segment
  • Obama Admin/Special Asst. and Personal Aide to the First Lady
  • Technical Sourcer, Allstate

Graduate Programs

  • African-American/Black Studies, Masters/PhD
  • African Diaspora Studies, PhD
  • American Culture Studies, PhD
  • Curriculum and Instruction, Masters
  • Sociology, Masters/PhD

Examples gathered from LinkedIn and the First Destination Survey of recent Berkeley graduates.

Learn More

Connect With Us

Cal Day

Come to Berkeley’s annual Open House in April for information sessions, campus tours, special talks, and more.

Golden Bear Orientation

Join your peers in the campus-wide UC Berkeley orientation program for all new students and AAS department workshops for majors.


Attend department events with students, staff, and faculty. Visit for news and updates.


Students can schedule appointments and send general advising questions to Althea Grannum-Cummings at

Advising Drop-In Hours

Tuesday & Thursday, 10am-12pm, 1-4pm (in-person)

Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 10am-12pm (Zoom)

How to Use this Map

Use this map to help plan and guide your experience at UC Berkeley, including academic, co-curricular, and discovery opportunities. Everyone’s Berkeley experience is different and activities in this map are suggestions. Always consult with your advisors whenever possible for new opportunities and updates.