This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

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. African American studies majors often pursue graduate and professional degree programs in business, education, history, international relations, law, political science, psychology, public health and social work. Career opportunities with a B.A. only in African American Studies include employment in community health agencies, public and private schools and nonprofit organizations.

Student learning outcomes

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

Program core outcomes

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts, perspectives and theories in Africana studies
  • Articulate the manner in which institutional structures and systemic practices shape and affect the experiences of Black people in the United States and abroad
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic methodological approaches (both quantitative and qualitative) in Africana studies and the general role of methodology in building knowledge about the Black experience
  • Critically engage and propose integrity-based solutions to problems that impact persons of African descent and their communities

Education concentration-specific outcome

  • ​​Apply the disciplinary knowledge of Africana studies to pedagogical theory and teaching approaches

Special requirements

Majors in African American studies must meet the general education requirements of the College of Humanities and Sciences. The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies requires the completion of 120 credits with at least 30 credits in African American Studies courses. 

Students in the education concentration must complete 24 core credits along with the following concentration requirements: AFAM 338, AFAM 361 and EDUS 301; two history courses at the 100 level; one political science course at the 300 level with a focus on the United States; one political science course at the 300 level with an international focus; and one geography course. In addition, students must complete the following ancillary requirements: AFAM 111, HIST 201, HUMS 202, POLI 103 and ECON 203.

Students who are interested in pursuing a Master of Teaching degree should be mindful of the application processes required to enter the program at VCU. There are two such processes: 1) the Extended Teacher Preparation Program, to which undergraduate VCU students apply in their junior or senior year and 2) graduate school, to which students apply during the final semester of their undergraduate course work.

For entry to the extended program, students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.8; to receive a passing score on the VCLA (total score = 470: reading, 235; writing 235); to have completed EDUS 301; and to submit a completed application with all the required supporting documents. Applications are due on Oct. 15 and April 1 each year.

For entry to graduate school, students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0; to receive a passing score on the GRE; and to submit a completed application with all the required supporting documents.

Students should consult with the African American studies adviser to ensure that they meet these requirements and deadlines.

Degree requirements for African American Studies, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in education

Course Title Hours
General education
Select 30 credits of general education courses in consultation with an adviser.30
Major requirements
• Major core requirements
AFAM 201Theories and Foundations of Africana Studies3
AFAM 211Africana Social and Political Thought3
AFAM 310Black Health Matters: Social Determinants of Health in the African American Community3
AFAM 311African Diaspora Experiences3
AFAM 330Black Sights and Sites: Visual Media and Race 3
AFAM 399Interdisciplinary Research Methods 13
AFAM 493Internship in Africana Studies3
AFAM 499Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies3
• Concentration requirements
AFAM 338Ferguson, USA: The Criminalization of Race in Historical Perspective3
AFAM/HIST 361Americans from Africa3
EDUS 301Human Development and Learning3
History 100-level electives (select from list below)6
Political Science: United States elective (select from list below)3
Political Science: International elective (select from list below)3
Geography elective (select from list below)3
Ancillary requirements
AFAM 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Africana StudiesIntroduction to Africana Studies (satisfies general education BOK for humanities/fine arts and/or AOI for global perspectives)3
POLI 103U.S. Government and Politics (satisfies general education BOK for social/behavioral sciences and/or AOI for diversities in the human experience) 23
ECON 203Introduction to Economics (satisfies general education BOK for social/behavioral sciences and/or AOI for diversities in the human experience)3
HIST 201The Art of Historical Detection: ____ (satisfies general education BOK for humanities/fine arts and/or AOI for diversities in the human experience)3
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Experiential fine arts 41-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-6
Open electives
Select any course.32-40
Total Hours120
1

Any one of GSWS 393, POLI 320, PSYC 317, SOCY 320 or SLWK 380 may be substituted for this course if completed with a minimum grade of C.

2

POLI 105 may be substituted. Please consult with an African American Studies advisor.

3

ECON 101ECON 210 or ECON 211 may be substituted. Please consult with an African American Studies advisor.

4

Course offered by the School of the Arts

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.

Concentration electives

History (select two from list)

Course Title Hours
HIST 101Survey of European History3
HIST 102Survey of European History3
HIST 103Survey of American History I3
HIST 104Survey of American History II3
AFAM/HIST 105Survey of African History3
AFAM/HIST 106Survey of African History3
HIST 107Survey of East Asian Civilizations3
HIST 108Survey of East Asian Civilizations3
HIST 109Survey of Latin American History3
HIST 110Survey of Latin American History3
Or a qualifying 100-level course in HIST approved by an African American studies adviser

Political science: United States (select one from list)

Course Title Hours
POLI 301U.S. Parties and Elections3
POLI 302Politics of the Civil Rights Movement3
POLI 303Public Opinion and Polling3
POLI 304Presidential Primaries3
POLI 305Political Campaigns and Communication3
POLI 306The Congress3
POLI 307Political Behavior3
POLI 308U.S. Presidency3
POLI 309Bureaucratic Politics3
POLI 310Public Policy3
POLI 311Politics of the Environment3
POLI 312Media and Politics3
POLI 313U.S. Constitutional Law: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties3
POLI 314U.S. Constitutional Law3
POLI 315Courts and Politics3
POLI 316Women and the Law3
AFAM/POLI 318Politics of Race, Class and Gender3
POLI 319Women and American Politics3
POLI 321Urban Politics3
POLI 322State and Local Government and Politics3
POLI 323Virginia Government and Politics3
POLI 329Intergovernmental Relations3
POLI 330Lobbying 3
POLI 331Public Administration3
POLI 332Administrative Law3
POLI 338Secrecy, Surveillance, Spies and Lies3
POLI 339Politics in Film3
POLI 340Feminist Political Theory3
POLI 341Classical to Modern Political Theory3
POLI 342Modern to Contemporary Political Theory3
AFAM/POLI 343Black Political Thought3
POLI 344 Contemporary Political Theory3
AFAM/POLI 345African-American Politics3
POLI 346Black Political Activism3
POLI 347Black Queer Politics3
POLI 369U.S. National Security3
Or a qualifying 300-level course in POLI approved by an African American studies adviser

Political science: International (select one from list)

Course Title Hours
POLI 351Middle Eastern Government and Politics3
POLI 352European Governments and Politics3
POLI 353Latin American Governments and Politics3
POLI 354Russian and Eurasian Government and Politics3
POLI 355Asian Governments and Politics3
AFAM 356African Government and Politics3
AFAM/POLI 357Politics of Southern Africa3
POLI 358Concepts of Comparative Government3
POLI 360China in Transition3
POLI 361Issues in World Politics3
POLI 362International Organizations and Institutions3
POLI 363U.S. Foreign Policy3
POLI 364Vietnam3
POLI 365International Political Economy3
POLI 366Women and Global Politics3
POLI 367Terrorism3
POLI 368Comparative National Security Policy3
POLI 380Human Security3
POLI 381The Politics of Genocide 3
POLI 382Politics of Global Health3
POLI 383The Middle East and North Africa in Transition3
POLI 384International Law3
POLI 385International Security3
POLI 386Environmental Security3
POLI 387Politics of the European Union3
POLI 388International Relations Theory3
Or a qualifying 300-level course in POLI approved by an African American studies adviser

Geography (select one from list)

Course Title Hours
Any 300- or 400-level HIST course with the "regional geography" attribute
URSP 102Introduction to Human Geography3
URSP 108Uncovering Richmond3
URSP 116Introduction to the City3
URSP 303World Regions3
URSP 306Economic Geography3
URSP 312History of Human Settlement3
URSP 315The Evolution of American Cities3
URSP 316Urban Life in Modern America3
URSP 331Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean3
URSP 333Geography of Africa3
URSP 334Regional Geography of ____3
URSP 340World Cities Outside of North America3
URSP 350Great Cities of the World3
Or a qualifying course in URSP approved by an African American studies adviser
Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
AFAM 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to Africana Studies Introduction to Africana Studies (satisfies general education BOK for humanities/fine arts and/or AOI for global perspectives) 3
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
General education course 3
General education course (select quantitative foundations) 3-4
 Term Hours: 14-17
Spring semester
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
POLI 103 U.S. Government and Politics (satisfies general education BOK for social/behavioral sciences and AOI for diversities in the human experience)) 3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
Concentration elective (HIST 1XX) 3
General education course 1 3
General education course 1 3
 Term Hours: 16
Sophomore year
Fall semester
AFAM 201 Theories and Foundations of Africana Studies 3
UNIV 200 Advanced Focused Inquiry: Literacies, Research and Communication (satisfies general education UNIV foundations) 3
Concentration elective (HIST 1XX) 3
Foreign language 101 3
Open Elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 211 Africana Social and Political Thought 3
HIST 201 The Art of Historical Detection: ____ 3
Concentration elective (Geography) 3
Foreign language 102 3
General education course 1 3
 Term Hours: 15
Junior year
Fall semester
AFAM 310 Black Health Matters: Social Determinants of Health in the African American Community 3
AFAM 311 African Diaspora Experiences 3
AFAM 361 Americans from Africa 3
EDUS 301 Human Development and Learning 3
Concentration elective (POLI: U.S. or International) 3
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 330 Black Sights and Sites: Visual Media and Race 3
AFAM 399 Interdisciplinary Research Methods 2 3
Concentration elective (POLI: U.S. or International) 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
AFAM 338 Ferguson, USA: The Criminalization of Race in Historical Perspective 3
AFAM 493 Internship in Africana Studies 3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 499 Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-123
1

Students are required to complete courses in all three breadth of knowledge areas and three of four area of inquiry categories. Select general education courses in consultation with an advisor.

2

Any one of GSWS 393POLI 320PSYC 317SOCY 320 or SLWK 380 may be substituted for this course if completed with a minimum grade of C.

The minimum number of credit hours required for this degree is 120.