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

Public administration concentration-specific outcome

  • Apply the disciplinary knowledge of Africana studies to address critical issues in the field of public administration

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

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
POLI 331Public Administration3
Complete a minimum of six credits from the approved electives below.6
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
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
POLI 103U.S. Government and Politics3
Experiential fine arts 21-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-6
Open electives
Select any course.47-55
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

Course offered by the School of the Arts

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

Public administration electives

Course Title Hours
AFAM 302Politics of the Civil Rights Movement3
AFAM 318Politics of Race, Class and Gender3
AFAM 338Ferguson, USA: The Criminalization of Race in Historical Perspective3
AFAM 343Black Political Thought3
AFAM 345African-American Politics3
POLI 306The Congress3
POLI 308U.S. Presidency3
POLI 310Public Policy3
POLI 315Courts and Politics3
POLI 321Urban Politics3
POLI 322State and Local Government and Politics3
POLI 323Virginia Government and Politics3
POLI 329Intergovernmental Relations3
POLI 346Black Political Activism3
POLI 347Black Queer Politics3
POLI 370Foundations of Nonprofit Management3
POLI 372Ethics, Law and Governance3
POLI 374Financial Management for Nonprofits3
Or a course 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
General education course 2 3
General education course 2 3
Open elective 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
Foreign language 101 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 211 Africana Social and Political Thought 3
Approved concentration elective 3
Foreign language 102 3
General education course 2 3
Open elective 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
Approved concentration elective 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 330 Black Sights and Sites: Visual Media and Race 3
AFAM 399 Interdisciplinary Research Methods 1 3
POLI 331 Public Administration 3
Open electives 6
 Term Hours: 15
Senior year
Fall semester
AFAM 493 Internship in Africana Studies 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
AFAM 499 Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies 3
Open electives 12
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-123
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

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

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

Accelerated B.A. and M.P.A.

The accelerated B.A. and M.P.A. program allows academically talented students to earn both a B.A. in African American Studies with a concentration in public administration and Master of Public Administration in a minimum of five years by completing approved graduate courses during the senior year of their undergraduate program. Students in the program may count up to 12 hours of graduate courses toward both the B.A. and M.P.A. degrees. Thus, the two degrees may be earned with a minimum of 144 credits rather than the 156 credits necessary if the two degrees are pursued separately. Students who do not have at least one year of professional-level experience in the public sector or in a nonprofit agency are required to earn three additional hours of credit in a public service practicum/internship. In this case, the two degrees may be earned with a minimum of 147 credits rather than the 159 credits necessary if the two degrees are pursued separately. 

Students holding these degrees will demonstrate knowledge about the theories, methods and analytical tools of the discipline of African American studies; and they will be trained to work in public service in both the government and nonprofit sectors and at the local, state, federal and international levels.

Entrance to the accelerated program

Interested undergraduate students should consult with their adviser as early as possible to receive specific information about the accelerated program, determine academic eligibility and submit (no later than two semesters prior to graduating with a baccalaureate degree, that is, before the end of the spring semester of their junior year) an Accelerated Program Declaration Form to be approved by the graduate program director. Limited spaces may be available in the accelerated program. Academically qualified students may not receive approval if capacity has been reached.

Minimum qualifications for entrance to this accelerated program include completion of 90 undergraduate credit hours including a minimum of nine credit hours in African American studies courses; an overall GPA of 3.0; and a GPA of 3.0 in African American studies course work. Successful applicants would enter the program in the fall semester of their senior year. Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements may submit GRE scores to receive further consideration.

Once enrolled in the accelerated program, students must meet the standards of performance applicable to graduate students as described in the “Satisfactory academic progress” section of the Graduate Bulletin, including maintaining a 3.0 GPA. Guidance to students admitted to the accelerated program is provided by both the undergraduate political science adviser and the faculty adviser to the graduate program.

Admission to the graduate program

Entrance to the accelerated program enables the student to take the approved shared courses that will apply to the undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, entry into an accelerated program via an approved Accelerated Program Declaration Form does not constitute application or admission into the graduate program. Admission to the graduate program requires a separate step that occurs through a formal application to the master’s program, which is submitted through Graduate Admissions no later than a semester prior to graduation with the baccalaureate degree, that is, before the end of the fall semester of the senior year. In order to continue pursuing the master’s degree after the baccalaureate degree is conferred, accelerated students must follow the admission to graduate study requirements outlined in the VCU Bulletin.

Degree requirements

The Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies with a concentration in public administration degree will be awarded upon completion of a minimum of 120 credits and the satisfactory completion of all undergraduate degree requirements as stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

A maximum of 12 graduate credits may be taken prior to completion of the baccalaureate degree. These graduate credits may be used to satisfy required major electives or open elective credits for the undergraduate degree. These courses are shared credits with the graduate program, meaning that they will be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.

The graduate public administration courses that may be taken as an undergraduate, once a student is admitted to the program, are:

Course Title Hours
PADM 601Principles of Public Administration3
PADM 602Public Administration Theory3
PADM 607Public Human Resource Management3
PADM 609Financial Management in Government3
PADM/GVPA/CRJS/URSP 623Research Methods for Government and Public Affairs3
PADM 624Quantitative Methods for Public Administration3

Recommended course sequence/plan of study

What follows is the recommended plan of study for students interested in the accelerated program beginning in the fall of the junior year prior to admission to the accelerated program in the senior year.

Course Title Hours
Junior year
Fall semester
AFAM 310Black Health Matters: Social Determinants of Health in the African American Community3
AFAM 311African Diaspora Experiences3
Approved concentration elective3
Open electives6
Term Hours:15
Spring semester
AFAM 330Black Sights and Sites: Visual Media and Race 3
AFAM 399Interdisciplinary Research Methods3
POLI 331Public Administration3
Open electives6
Term Hours:15
Senior year
Fall semester
AFAM 493Internship in Africana Studies3
PADM/GVPA 601Principles of Public Administration3
PADM 602Public Administration Theory (may count for both undergraduate and graduate credits in accelerated program)3
Open electives6
Term Hours:15
Spring semester
AFAM 499Capstone Seminar in Africana Studies3
PADM 607Public Human Resource Management (may count for both undergraduate and graduate credits in accelerated program)3
PADM/GVPA/CRJS/URSP 623Research Methods for Government and Public Affairs3
Open electives6
Term Hours:15
Fifth year
Fall semester
PADM 609Financial Management in Government3
PADM 624Quantitative Methods for Public Administration3
PADM/GVPA 625Public Policy Analysis3
MPA elective3
Term Hours:12
Spring semester
GVPA 693Internship0-3
PADM/GVPA 672Social Equity and Public Policy Analysis3
PADM 689Seminar in Public Administration: Integration of Theory and Practice3
MPA electives6
Term Hours:12-15