Degrees and Programs

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 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


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)


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

Pamela Cone, a Wright State communication alumna, is director of Aviatra-Dayton a nonprofit organization that supports women in business.
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.

Academics and Curriculum

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


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.


Program Specific Scholarships

The African African American Studies (AAFS) Program offers scholarships for AAFS majors and minors. For more information, please contact Dr. Marlese Durr.

  • The African American Alumni Society Scholarship is awarded to students of African American descent who live in the Greater Miami Valley area. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and minimum enrollment of six credit hours are required. Students applying for this scholarship must have documented financial need.
  • The African and African American Studies Scholarship is awarded to full-time students in the African and African American Studies program who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and documented financial need.

Scholarships Awarded to Continuing Undergraduate African American Students

  • The Aron & Martha Moss Second Chance Scholarship is awarded to students in any major who have good academic standing. First preference is given to students of African American descent who have demonstrated financial need, are first generation students, or are returning to complete undergraduate degrees.
  • The Bolinga Cultural Resources Center Scholarship is awarded to full-time African American students who hold a 2.5 minimum GPA. This award recognizes and rewards leadership, service, and academic performance.
  • The Damon Bell Memorial Leadership Scholarship
  • The Ervin B. Lacy, II Memorial Scholarship is awarded to female and African American students who are majoring in Environmental Health Sciences.
  • The George W. Lucas Memorial Minority Graduate Scholarship Fund
  • The Gerald and Rita Kurdila Scholarship is awarded to full- and part-time African American students who are pursuing a degree in the College of Liberal Arts. First preference is given to music majors.
  • The Gillispie Family Scholarship Fund scholarship is awarded to African American business students who have good academic standing and demonstrated financial need.
  • The Giorgio McBeath Memorial Scholarship is awarded to junior and senior African American engineering majors who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and documented financial need.
  • The Hightowers 3rd Generation Scholarship is awarded to full-time students in the Raj Soin College of Business who have transferred directly from Cincinnati State Community College, Middletown Campus with a minimum of 26 semester hours and a minimum transfer GPA of 3.0. Preference is given to African American student applicants.
  • The Kim and Shelley Goldenberg Scholarship for Bolinga Students
  • The Sarah Harris Scholarship is awarded to junior and senior African American students who are Ohio residents and hold a 3.0 minimum GPA. First preference is given to applicants who are not recipients of a four-year university scholarship. One nomination from each college will be made to the University Scholarship Committee for final selection.
  • The Virginia Hamilton Adoff Memorial Nursing Scholarship is awarded to nursing students who have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and demonstrated financial need. First preference is given to female African American students age thirty-five or older.

External Scholarships

How to Apply for Scholarships

Continuing undergraduate students can submit one application to apply for multiple donor-based scholarships funded by the University and the Wright State University Foundation. The application system automatically matches students with any scholarships they are eligible for, and final awards are determined by the various scholarship committees.

The online scholarship application can be accessed via WINGS Express under the Student and Financial Aid tab. For further instructions and information please visit Enrollment Services (RaiderConnect).


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