Undergraduate Program

The academic program in African American and African Diaspora Studies for undergraduate students in Columbia College and the School of General Studies includes a major and concentration. Our interdisciplinary curriculum examines the experiences of people of the African Diaspora—sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States and Canada and Europe. Course offerings span more than sixty courses in ten academic departments and programs each year. All undergraduate students are advised by a member of the Undergraduate Educational Committee, of which the director of undergraduate studies is a member. Students should schedule an appointment with a committee member to discuss their programs of study.

A minimum of twenty-seven points is required for completion of the major. The number of points allocated per course is indicated in the Columbia University Bulletin.

Core Requirements

Governed Electives

Majors must also complete "governed electives" from at least three departments, providing an interdisciplinary background in the field of African-American Studies.

Note that you cannot count one of your governed electives within your designated area of study.

Designated Area of Study

A Designated Area of Study, preferably within a distinct discipline (for example, history, politics, sociology, literature, anthropology, psychology, etc.) must also be completed. Students may also select courses within a particular geographical area or region or an interdisciplinary field of study.

  • 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 that the student labels “Community Development and Empowerment in the African Diaspora,” which draws from courses in political science, sociology, history, etc., but only with permission from the director of undergraduate studies.

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.

A minimum of nineteen points is required for the concentration. Minimum requirements are described below:

Core Requirements

Governed Electives

Majors must also complete "governed electives" from at least three departments, providing an interdisciplinary background in the field of African-American Studies.

Designated Area of Study

A Designated Area of Study, preferably within a distinct discipline (for example, history, politics, sociology, literature, anthropology, psychology, etc.) must also be completed. Students may also select courses within a particular geographical area or region or an interdisciplinary field of study.

  • Any of the departmental disciplines (history, political science; sociology, anthropology, literature, art history; psychology, religion, music, etc.)
  • Any of the pertinent area studies (African, Caribbean/Latin American, gender, 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 that the student has labeled “Community Development and Empowerment in the African Diaspora,” which draws from courses in political science, sociology, history, etc., but only with permission from the director of undergraduate studies.

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.