Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a list of “Frequently Asked Questions” about the Undergraduate Major and Minor in African American Studies.

  1. Why study in the Department of African-American Studies at Temple University?
    The African presence/experience has shaped the social, political, economic, cultural, intellectual, and psychological landscape of the United States and the world. Study of the African experience from Temple’s African-centered perspective helps students better understand the array of forces affecting local and global dynamics, and encourages and prepares students to make a positive difference in the world. 
  2. How do I declare a major or minor in AAS?
    Go to CLA Academic Advising to declare the major or minor in AAS. 
  3. What are the required (core) courses for the major or minor in AAS?
    Please see the Temple University Undergraduate Bulletin for AAS requirements 
  4. How many electives must I complete for the AAS major or minor and what are my choices?
    Majors: Beyond the six required courses above, AAS majors must complete five (5) AAS electives. Two of these five must be Cultural Aesthetics designates, with one Cultural Aesthetic being a literature course. Two of these five must be AAS Socio-Behavioral designates, with one Socio-Behavoiral being an AAS-designated service/community-oriented course. The fifth elective must be at the 3000-4999 level.

    Minors: Minors must complete the major requirements marked with asterisks and three (3) additional courses – one Cultural Aesthetic literature, one AAS Socio-Behavioral and an additional AAS elective numbered 3000-4999.

    Electives: Students may choose electives based on areas of needed development, intellectual or career interests or in consultation with an advisor. The DAAS offers a broad variety of courses, and you will likely find many that address your interests. However, if you find an outside upper-level African-focused course that you wish to have considered as an AAS elective, thenprior to taking the outside course, submit to the AAS Undergraduate Director a written requestfor permission to use that external course as an upper level elective for AAS. Attach the current course syllabus to your request. Majors are allowed up to two external electives; minors are allowed one. Note that all external electives must be 3000 level or above (junior/senior level) and students must earn a B or higher. 

  5. May I substitute outside courses for the AAS major/minor requirements or skip certain core courses?
    No. Earning a Temple AAS degree requires that you complete the AAS core requirements in the DAAS; otherwise, you have not had full exposure to the Temple orientation. Although courses elsewhere sometimes sound the same as Temple’s courses, they usually are not the same in terms of content, philosophy, assignments, and performance expectations.  Failure to complete each of the AAS core requirements in the DAAS at Temple means forfeit of the Temple AAS major or minor. 
  6. What can one do with a major in African- American Studies?
    Like Temple Owls, Temple’s AAS majors are everywhere! The cultural and socio-historical focus of the curriculum makes our majors prime candidates for positions in teaching, social research, social work, law, law enforcement, civic service, municipal and federal government, and cultural-historical societies. As with any major, strong communication and technical skills are major assets. Of course, some AAS majors opt to attend graduate and professional schools, and so Temple’s AAS majors are now represented among attorneys, businesspersons, counselors, educators, engineers, pharmacists, physicians, program administrators, psychologists, social researchers, social workers/administrators and many other professions. 
  7. What else is special about the DAAS?
    Lots! The DAAS originated and directs the Temple in Ghana summer program for study abroad. The Temple Undergraduate Research Forum (TURF), now a University-wide event, originated in the DAAS in spring 1994 as a forum for outstanding undergraduates researchers!  Each spring, the DAAS sponsors a Senior Research Conference for its seniors to present community-based projects, and each May, holds “The Ceremony of the Drums” for graduating majors and their families.
    The DAAS offers the Annie Hyman Service Award for outstanding service to the DAAS and two academic awards—the Shirley Graham DuBois Award for Academic Excellence, given by renowned author/activist Sonia Sanchez to the AAS major graduating with the highest overall GPA above 3.2, and the Marion Alexander and Rose Moultrie DeGrate Sojourner’s Award, which recognizes excellence in empirically based community-minded undergraduate research