The Major (36 points)

A minimum of thirty-six (36) points is required for the completion of the major. The number of points allocated per course is indicated in the Columbia University Bulletin.

Core Requirements
All majors must complete to satisfaction the core required courses. The core requirements are:
(a) African-American Studies C1001 - "Introduction to African-American Studies"
(b) African-American Studies C3936 - "Colloquium: Black Intellectuals"
(c) African-American Studies C3930 - "Topics in the Black Experience"

Governed Electives (three courses)
Students must also take a minimum of three (3) courses in a "governed electives" category from at least three different departments, providing an interdisciplinary background in the field of African-American Studies. (Note: you cannot count one of your governed electives within your designated area of study).
(a) One Governed Elective must be a literature course
(b) one must be a history course
(c) one must focus primarily on cultures and societies located in Africa or within the African Diaspora outside of the United States, such as the Caribbean or Latin America.

Designated Area of Study (five courses)
In addition, five (5) courses must be taken within a Designated Area of Study, preferably within a distinct discipline (for example, history, politics, sociology, literature, anthropology, psychology, etc.). Students may also select their five courses within a particular geographical area or region or an interdisciplinary field of study. One of these five courses must be a seminar.

The designated area of study may be:

  • Any of the departmental disciplines (history, political science; sociology, anthropology, literature, art history; psychology, religion, music, etc.)
  • Any of the pertinent area studies (African Studies; Caribbean/Latin American; Gender Studies; etc.)

Please note that the major/concentrator is not allowed to “create” or “make up” a designated area of study without the direct approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, and that such approval must be sought before the student has embarked on the course of designated area of study, and that such approval will be granted only in very rare and exceptional cases. For example, there conceivably could be a candidate for inclusion a Designated Area of Study which the student has called “Community Development and Empowerment in the African Diaspora,” which draws from courses in Political Science, Sociology, History, the School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA), etc., but only with DUS permission. Under no circumstances should the major/concentrator hope to take a series of courses only later to “create” a Designated Area of Study around these courses.