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College of Letters & Science

Afro-American Studies

Requirements for the Major
Honors in the Major
Distinction in the Major
Thesis of Distinction
Certificate in Afro-American Studies

4141 Helen C. White Hall, 600 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706; 608-263-1642; polyglot.lss.wisc.edu/aas/

Professors Adell, Drewal, Plummer, Werner; Associate Professor Greene; Assistant Professors Almiron, Clark-Pujara, Curtis, Davis

Chair: Professor Werner, cwerner@wisc.edu 

Undergraduate and Certificate advisor in the major: Professor Sandra Adell, 4115 Helen C. White Hall, 608-262-4025, saadell@wisc.edu

Faculty diversity liaison: Craig Werner, cwerner@wisc.edu

Requirements for the Major

The major in Afro-American studies requires a minimum of 30 credits. Students are required to select one area of concentration. Students concentrating in Areas 1 or 3 are required to select one area of emphasis within the concentration.


Emphasis A: Literature
Emphasis B: The Arts


Emphasis A: Black Women's Studies
Emphasis B: Intergroup Relations

Majors specialize in one area but must take at least one course from each area. A maximum of 40 credits will be counted toward fulfillment of degree requirements. Special Topics courses may be repeated as topics vary. At least 15 credits in upper-level courses numbered 300 or above must be taken in residence at UW–Madison.

Majors should consult with the undergraduate advisor to select those introductory courses that best complement the overall program of study.

Emphasis A (Literature)

All Area 1 majors selecting Emphasis A are required to take:
(1) two courses from: 155, 222, 227, 265;
(2) one course from: 156, 225, 241, 242, 367;
(3) three courses from: 403, 525, 602, 603, 605, 662, 672, 675, 677.

Emphasis B (The Arts)

All Area 1 majors selecting Emphasis B are required to take:
(1) two courses from: 156, 225, 241, 242, 367;
(2) one course from: 155, 222, 227, 265;
(3) three courses from: 303, 316 366, 403, 509, 540, 602, 603 669, 674, 675, 676, 679.
Additional credits may be taken from any of the three areas of concentration.


All Area 2 majors are required to take:
(1) one course from: 231, 272 297, 347;
(2) two courses from: 302, 303, 324, 326, 330, 467, 628;
(3) three courses from: 624, 631, 632, 635, 636, 671.
Additional credits may be taken from any of the three areas of concentration.

Emphasis A (Black Women's Studies)

All Area 3 majors selecting Emphasis A are required to take:
(1) 221;
(2) two courses from: 222, 302, 323, 324, 326, 367;
(3) three courses from: 366, 423, 540, 624, 625,677, 679.

Emphasis B (Intergroup Relations)

All Area 3 majors selecting Emphasis B are required to take:
(1) 151;
(2) two courses from: 323, 442, 443;
(3) three courses from: 260, 423, 519, 521, 673.

Additional credits may be taken from any of the three areas of concentration. 

Majors in any of the three areas of concentration may choose additional electives from the following: 199, 681, 682, 691, 692, 699. The area of application depends upon the field of the instructor and the topic of the course. A maximum of 9 credits in 199 or 699 courses is permitted.

All students must fulfill the L&S requirement of at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major completed in residence. Afro-American studies courses numbered 300–699 count toward this requirement.

Honors in the Major

To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Afro-American Studies, majors must complete a minimum of 30 credits in the department. At least 15 Afro-American studies credits must be taken at the 500 or 600 level. These are to include completion of the 681–682 Senior Honors Thesis sequence. Honors majors must take at least one course (at any level) from each of the three areas of concentration and at least one course with a cross-cultural or comparative focus (courses 241, 260, 262, 277, 297, 320, 330, 347, 413, 443, or 505). In addition, a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 in all Afro-American studies courses must be attained. Student must also maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.3 in all courses taken at UW–Madison. Students seeking to pursue Honors in the Major must receive permission from the undergraduate advisor before entering the program.

Students should be aware that Honors in the Major is a new program and is still under development and should not assume that the requirements specified in this catalog are complete or fully described. Students should check with the department honors advisor at least once a year to make sure that requirements have not been modified, as well as to seek guidance about planning the best possible Honors in the Major curriculum that reflects their special interests.

Distinction in the Major

Afro-American studies majors not in the honors program may receive the "Distinction in the Major" notation on the transcript by earning a 3.75 grade point average in department courses and successfully completing the 691–692 Senior Thesis project.

Thesis of Distinction

The award Thesis of Distinction is granted for an exceptionally good or original thesis, without consideration of the student's record in other work. A committee of at least two faculty members will evaluate the thesis and recommend to the dean the granting of this award where it seems appropriate.

Certificate in Afro-American Studies

To pursue a certificate in Afro-American Studies, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in any college and school at the University of Wisconsin, or as a special student. Only special students who began the certificate program as undergraduates are allowed to complete the program. Rules regarding transfer credits, up to 50 percent, which apply to undergraduates, also apply to special students. Finally, all certificate students must declare their interest in the program and plan with the advisor a cohesive program consisting of 15 credits and earn a GPA of 2.50.

The cohesiveness of the certificate program will be selected from concentration areas and other core courses in the curriculum of the Department. For example, students may select courses in the areas of history, literature, black women’s studies, music and cultural history, art history and visual culture, among others to meet their specific interests. All students, however, must take Introduction to Afro-American History (AfroAmer 231) for 3 credits. No more than two of the other courses may be taken at the 100 or 200 level. One course must be a 500-600 level course or seminar. Collectively, the 15 selected credits will come from models and core courses that majors and graduate students take to fulfill requirements.

DARS is the document of record for the Afro-American Studies certificate. Students should contact the certificate advisor to make sure they are on track to completing the program and to get confirmation of completion of the certificate.