Major Requirements

Students usually declare their major in African American Studies in the second semester of their sophomore year. Students are admitted to the major if they have earned a grade of B- or better in AFAM 101, or at the discretion of the Chair, if they have taken other courses in the Department.

Major Requirements

Beginning with the class of 2023

The African American Studies major consists of eleven semester courses. The two required courses are AFAM 101: Intro to Africana Studies and AFAM 301: Junior Colloquium. At least five other courses must be cross-listed with African American Studies: the three different area courses, and the two elective courses (described below). All courses must be letter-graded and must be completed at Wesleyan. One individual tutorial can be counted toward the eleven required courses, as can two courses taken away from Wesleyan and used to fulfill the student’s chosen area of concentration. The major program must include the following:

AFAM 101: Introduction to Africana Studies. This course will provide an overview of the field and locate African American Studies in the broader context of the African Diaspora. Students must earn a B- or better in AFAM 101 in order to major.

One 200-level (or above) course in three different areas: 

  • African American History
  • African American Literature  
  • Relevant Social Science course
  • AFAM 301: Junior Colloquium

Two elective courses that originate in or are cross-listed with AFAM. Majors will meet these requirements by selecting from a list of preapproved and cross-listed courses. They may also bring another relevant course to the Chair’s attention and request that it count. The Department encourages majors to take at least one course in the Arts.

Field of concentration (4 courses). Each major must take four courses that represent an area of concentration. Concentrations may be conceived either disciplinarily (with the four courses coming from a single department) or thematically (with courses selected from different disciplines but designed around a specific topic). Concentration courses do not necessarily have to be cross-listed with AFAM. One 100-level course can count for the concentration. None of the four courses taken in the field of concentration can count toward the AFAM core courses or the AFAM elective courses. We strongly recommend that students design their concentrations in consultation with their major advisor.

For the class of 2021 & 2022

The African American studies major consists of eleven semester courses. At least seven of these courses must be cross-listed with African American studies: the three required core courses, the required junior colloquium, and the three elective courses. All courses must be letter-graded and must be completed at Wesleyan. One research tutorial can be counted toward the eleven required courses, as can two courses taken away from Wesleyan and used to fulfill the student’s chosen area of concentration. The major program must include the following:

Required core courses (3 courses). Students are required to take and successfully complete all three of the core courses. Students may not substitute or transfer any other course to meet these requirements.

AFAM202 Introduction to African American Literature 1
AFAM203 African American History, 1444-1877 1
AFAM204 Introduction to Modern African American History 1

Junior colloquium (AFAM301). This course is required of all majors and should be taken in the first semester of the junior year.

Elective courses in African American studies (3 courses). Majors must complete one elective course in each of the following three areas:

  • Literature and literary theory
  • Social and behavioral sciences (any AFAM SBS course except history)
  • The arts (art, art history, dance, film, creative writing, music, theater)

The three elective courses must be 200-level or higher. These courses should be cross-listed with African American studies, although in special circumstances students can petition to use a course that is not formally cross-listed with AFAM as one of their electives.

Field of concentration (4 courses). Each major must take four courses that represent an area of concentration. Concentrations may be conceived either disciplinarily (with the four courses coming from a single department) or thematically (with courses selected from different disciplines but designed around a specific topic). Concentration courses do not necessarily have to be cross-listed with AFAM. One 100-level course can count in the concentration. None of the four courses taken in the field of concentration can count toward the AFAM core courses or the AFAM elective courses. We strongly recommend that students design their concentrations in consultation with their major advisor.

Contact wesmaps@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 

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