African and African American Studies

Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies

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Why Choose African and African American Studies?

Sign up for the African and African American Studies (AAFS) program and learn about the contributions Africa has made to the global human experience and explore the various conditions that have affected people of African descent. The AAFS program provides you with skills that will enable you to more effectively speak and write about the experiences and contributions of people in Africa and the African Diaspora.

You will appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the AAFS program, which allows for a rich and challenging field of inquiry that can benefit you if you have an interest in history, policy, culture, language, law, foreign affairs, medicine, sociology, psychology, education, and various other areas. If you wish to engage in more concentrated study within the major, you may design an appropriate course of study through directed readings and independent learning with the permission of the program director and a professor within the program.

Study AAFS for an invaluable foundation in critical thinking, research, writing, and analysis—skills that form the core of a liberal arts education. You will also gain:

  • Effective critical thinking and communication skills
  • Knowledge of the diversity of the cultural experiences of people in Africa and the African Diaspora
  • An understanding of the role of important figures, intellectuals, social movements, and ideas specific to the Pan-African experience
  • A heightened awareness of the historical forces that have shaped the experiences of people in Africa and the African Diaspora
  • A familiarity with African and African American literature and art

Careers

Career possibilities with an African and African American Studies degree are limitless—you can work to develop your experiences in the U.S. and even across the globe (such as through teaching high school teens in South Africa or developing public health solutions in Tanzania). A degree in AAFS qualifies you to find employment in areas ranging from government, to the non-profit sector, as well as in public and private businesses, medicine, and education. Graduates of the Wright State AAFS program have gone on to receive graduate degrees, work in the non-profit sector, higher education, and allied healthcare.

View the African and African American Studies program profile for sample occupations, average salary, and employment projections

Jobs Directly Related to the Field of African and African American Studies

Management and Industry

Non-Profit and Advocacy

  • Historian
  • International Aid and Development Project Officer
  • International Aid Worker
  • Non-Profit Foundation Manager

Notable African and African American Studies Majors

  • Angela Bassett, Award-winning actress (B.A. in African-American Studies from Yale University)
  • Rakim H. D. Brooks, Rhodes Scholar and C. Edwin Baker Fellow in Democratic Values at Demos (B.A. in Africana Studies from Brown University)
  • Megan L. Comfort, Senior Research Sociologist, Urban Health Program at RTI International and Adjunct Asst. Professor of Medicine, UCSF (B.A. in Black Studies from Wellesley College)
  • Jendayi Frazer, Distinguished Professor, Carnegie Mellon University and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (B.A. in African and Afro-American Studies & Political Science from Stanford University)
  • Robert Henry Graham, Artist-educator
  • Brian L. Harper, Medical Director and COO of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention (B.A. in Afro-American Studies & Biology from Brown University)
  • Graham Hodges, Professor at Colgate University
  • Mae Jemison, Physician and NASA astronaut on the Endeavor in 1992 (B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Stanford University)
  • Eungi Joo, Curator of Instituto Inhotim Brazil
  • Do Kim, Civil rights attorney, founder of the Korean American Youth Leadership Program (B.A. in Afro-American Studies & Sociology from Harvard University)
  • Aaron McGruder, Cartoonist, writer and creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip The Boondocks (B.A. in African-American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park)
  • Gloria Naylor, Educator and novelist, winner of the National Book Award in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place (M.A. in Afro-American Studies from Yale University)
  • Michelle Obama, Attorney and First Lady of the United States (B.A. in Sociology with a minor in African-American Studies from Princeton University)
  • Dr. Goblahano Okubadejo, Orthopedic surgeon
  • Richard W. Roberts, U.S. District Court Judge for Washington, D.C. (B.A. in Black Studies and Political Science from Vassar College)
  • Claudia Thomas, Author and first black female orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. (B.A. in Black Studies from Vassar College)

Sources:

Fikes, Robert. "What Can I Do With A Black Studies Major? 500+ Answers" (PDF) 4th ed. San Diego State University. 2015.

What Can I Do With a Black Studies Major?

Real-World Experience

Your educational experience at Wright State can be further enhanced by opportunities to explore firsthand issues directly related to the African American experience. Take part in our annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage, a tour of sites of events significant in the development of civil rights in the U.S. See government in action during the Ohio Civil Rights Commission's annual meeting on Wright State's campus. Give back by volunteering for the Ujima mentoring program. Gain a truly global worldview by participating in a study abroad program.

Success Stories

Hannah Beachler, who received a B.F.A. from Wright State in 2005, talked about her successful career and answered questions during a discussion with performing arts students.
Sharon Lynette Jones' new book project will take extensive research and involve visits to archives around the country.

Academics and Curriculum

View Bachelor of Arts in African and African American Studies program information and requirements in the Academic Catalog.

Admission

Review the college admission requirements and complete the admission application. Identify whether you will be majoring in African and African American Studies.

If you are a current student and wish to change majors, go to the WINGS Express major/minor change request form and change your major.  If you are an undecided/exploratory student, talk to your advisor about majoring in African and African American Studies.

 


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