What Can I Do With a Bachelor of Arts in African American and African Studies (AAAS)?

The Department of African American and African Studies (AAAS) provides an intellectual home for the exploration, critical examination, analysis, and interpretation of the experiences, traditions, and dynamics of people of African descent in the United States and Africa and its diaspora. The department offers a broad selection of courses addressing historical, cultural, sociological, political, and psychological factors that affect the lives of African peoples from disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and comparative perspectives.

Career Areas/Job Titles

(Some careers may require licensure, certification, or further education. Talk to an advisor about specific requirements.)

Management and Industry

Cultural Resources Manager, Civil Services Worker, Social Worker, Human Resources

Communication and Media

Journalist, Media Relations Specialist, Linguist/Interpreter


High School Teacher, Administrator, Professor, Student Affairs, University Administration


Peace Corps Staffer, Program Administrator, HIV/AIDS Activist


Foreign Service Specialist, Political Analyst, Public Administration, State and Local Government, Civil Service Work, Community Urban Planning, Public Affairs and Policy

Graduate School

The Department of African American and African Studies offers graduate degrees at the M.A. and PhD. levels.

Transferable Skills

Expressing Ideas, Listening Skills, Persuasion, Public Speaking, Technical Writing, Written Communication, Cultural Understanding, Gathering Information, Identifying Problems, Research Skills, Planning, Strategic Planning/Visioning, Creating Innovative Solutions, Multi-tasking, Analytical/Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and many more!

Notable AAAS Majors

  • Angela Bassett, award-winning actress. (BA in African-American Studies from Yale University.)
  • Rakim H. D. Brooks, Rhodes Scholar and C. Edwin Baker Fellow in Democratic Values at Demos. (BA 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. (BA in Black Studies from Wellesley College.)
  • Jendayi Frazer, Distinguished Professor, Carnegie Mellon University and former US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. (BA in African and Afro-American Studies & Political Science from Stanford University.)
  • Brian L. Harper, Medical Director and COO of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention. (BA in Afro-American Studies & Biology from Brown University.)
  • Mae Jemison, Physician and NASA astronaut on the Endeavor in 1992. (BA in Afro-American Studies from Stanford University.)
  • Do Kim, Civil rights attorney & founder of the Korean American Youth Leadership Program. (BA in Afro-American Studies & Sociology from Harvard University.)
  • Aaron McGruder, Cartoonist, writer and creator of the nationally syndicated comic strip "The Boondocks." (BA 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. (MA in Afro-American Studies from Yale University.)
  • Michelle Obama, attorney and First Lady of the United States. (BA in Sociology with a minor in African-American Studies from Princeton University.)
  • Richard W. Roberts, US District Court Judge for Washington DC. (BA in Black Studies & Political Science from Vassar College.)
  • Claudia Thomas, author and first black female orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. (BA in Black Studies from Vassar College.)

For More Information

African Studies Association: Established in 1957, the African Studies Association is the flagship membership organization devoted to enhancing the exchange of information about Africa.
National Consortium for Study in Africa: Founded in 1960, the MSU African Studies Center (ASC) is one of nine Title VI National Resource Centers on Africa designated by the U.S. Department of Education, based on the Center's 150 research faculty providing broad research, teaching, and service on the continent. In addition to courses and seminars on Africa, the program offers instruction in 30 African languages.
National Association of African American Studies: The National Association of African American Studies and Affiliates (NAAAS), founded in 1992 on the campus of Virginia State University is directed toward providing faculty and students an opportunity to engage in scholarly endeavors.
Association for the Study of American Life and History: Established on September 9, 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, we are the Founders of Black History 
Month and carry forth the work of our founder, the Father of Black History.