Program Overview

The undergraduate program in African American Studies at Temple University is dedicated to providing students with an invigorating intellectual experience centered on the inspiring contributions and challenges that Africans, continental and diaspora, have made and confronted on the road to human excellence. Our students are exposed to national and international leaders in African American Studies who constantly push the boundaries of learning from the base of African culture, history, literature, and languages toward the exhilarating knowledge of self and community. With a strong focus on the interrelationship of the African experience in the Americas and the Caribbean our professors are able to guide undergraduate students toward new ways of viewing economic and political realities, ethnic and cultural relationships, religion, and language. Our undergraduate courses are meant to prepare the student for critical and analytical research and creativity. Every opportunity is taken to embrace the student as a significant learner in a vigorous community of researchers and learners. Indeed, Philadelphia, one of the oldest sites of African presence in the United States, is a laboratory for much of our research and teaching.

The goal of the department of African-American Studies is to prepare its majors and minors to take roles of effective agency, participation, and leadership in the intellectual, research, and social activist domains of professional and community life. Temple’s African-American Studies majors are represented in such diverse career arenas as law, primary and secondary education and administration, social work, medicine, cultural and artistic institutions, law enforcement, and city government.]

Degrees and Programs of study


Students who major in African American Studies have gone into more than one hundred different career paths, including medicine, astronaut, zoo administrator, law, professor, mayor, foreign policy advisor, novelist, journalist, sociologist, historian, public relations, teacher, Internet security, registered nurse, librarian, public administrator, bank manager, and cultural analyst. Many majors continue to pursue graduate degrees in African American Studies at Temple or other universities with the objective of becoming teachers, researchers, or professors in African and African American Studies.

Training in African American Studies provides the foundation and tools needed not only to guide your personal and professional aspirations, but also to ensure success in an increasingly cross-cultural and inter-dependent world. Various career opportunities are available at the local, state and federal government levels in policy studies, international relations, diplomatic service for majors in African American Studies In addition, students are provided skills to seek employment with non-profit organizations and public agencies.

Sample of Possible Occupations for Africana Studies Majors:

  • College Admissions Officer
  • Educational Consultant
  • Lobbyist
  • Advertising Executive
  • Employee Relations Specialist
  • Market Research Specialist
  • Anthropologist
  • Multicultural Educator
  • Archivist/Librarian
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Museum Curator
  • Attorney
  • Government Agency Administrator
  • Non-Profit Administrator
  • Clergy
  • Historic Preservation Specialist
  • Peace Corps Worker
  • Community Advocate/Action Specialist
  • Historic Site Administrator
  • Politician
  • Conflict Management Specialist
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Professor
  • Consumer Advocate
  • Human Relations Officer
  • Psychologist
  • Corporate Trainer
  • International Relations Specialist
  • Public Administrator
  • Counselor
  • International Consultant
  • Public Information Officer
  • Cultural Affairs Officer
  • International Trade Specialist
  • Public Policy Specialist
  • Customer Relations Manager
  • Interpreter
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Customs/Immigration Officer
  • International Conference Planner
  • Teacher
  • Editor/Writer/Copy Writer
  • Journalist-Foreign Bureau
  • Travel Consultant


The curriculum stresses the skills necessary to think critically, write clearly, argue persuasively, and solve problems effectively. Students are exposed to theory and research in a variety of subject areas and are encouraged to engage in active research and service beyond the classroom. Majors and minors in our department will take courses examining issues of race, history, literature, politics, religion, Afrocentricity, Kawaida, Negritude, Hip Hop culture, African Americans in cinema, theatre and language. Thus, our courses explore African agency, Caribbean culture, African American politics, African Americans in sports, the psychology of African Americans, and the African origin of civilization. During the 2013-14 academic year we will offer students special occasions to celebrate Temple’s 25th anniversary of the creation of the African American Studies doctoral program. Students in our courses will be introduced to numerous visiting scholars who will visit during the year.

For detailed list of courses and course descriptions see “African American Studies” courses under University Course Descriptions. 


The Department of African American Studies supervises the Temple in Ghana program, which allows students to study for six weeks during the summer at the University of Ghana in Accra. Learn more about the Temple in Ghana program by visiting the program’s web site. 

The department has a limited number of work-study and regular student awards that might assist undergraduates in special circumstances

Awards and Scholarships

The department offers three internal awards for graduating seniors—two privately-sponsored awards for outstanding academic performance and one departmental award for outstanding service. The Department of African American Studies supervises the Temple in Ghana program, which allows students to study for six weeks during the summer at the University of Ghana in Accra. Academic awards are given annually at the Department’s celebration held the week before Commencement. All African and African American Studies students are eligible for the awards for academic excellence below.  Students receiving the awards must have outstanding academic records. See a list of available departmental awards and scholarships.

Undergraduate Resources

The Charles Blockson Afro American Collection located on the first floor of the Sullivan Building is the fourth largest non-circulating collection of books and memorabilia about the African world. It contains important collections of correspondence, papers, letters, periodicals, offprints, and very valuable and historical manuscripts and books.

General resources: