African American and African Studies Major

Requirements for an AAS Major

To fulfill the requirements of the African American and African Studies (AAS) interdisciplinary major, students must complete nine courses (totaling 29 credit hours) or contact the Director of Undergraduate Programs (DUP), Lisa Shutt.

The African American and African Studies interdisciplinary major comprises 9 courses (a minimum of 29 credit hours) that are selected from the list of AAS courses, approved by an AAS faculty advisor, and satisfy the following requirements:

  1. All majors must complete AAS 1010 and AAS 1020 (4 credits each) and receive with a grade of C or above in both courses. 
  2. All students must complete seven additional courses (totaling 21 credit hours).  These seven courses must either be in the department (with the course prefix AAS) or be on the list of AAS-approved courses offered in other departments.  The seven courses must be distributed as follows:
  • One course (3 credits) must focus on race and politics (either an AAS course or a course on the list of AAS-approved courses)
  • One course (3 credits) must be in the humanities (either an AAS course in the humanities or a course selected from the list of AAS-approved courses in the following departments: Art History, Drama, English, French, Media Studies, Music, Philosophy, Religious Studies)
  • One course (3 credits) must be in social sciences or history (either an AAS course in social science or history or a course selected from the list of AAS-approved courses in the following departments: American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Linguistics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, Women, Gender & Sexuality)
  • Three courses (9 credits) of electives (any AAS courses or AAS-approved courses in other departments
  • One 4000-level seminar (3 credits) that requires a 20-page research paper. If a 4000-level course on our course page is not listed as “Fulfills: 4000-level seminar,” check with the instructor ahead of time. (All AAS 4XXX courses automatically count, though new courses might take some time to show up as such in SIS).
  • NB: One of these above seven courses must focus on Africa

Other Requirements

  • No more than 6 transfer credits from relevant study abroad may be counted toward the AAS major. Students wishing to apply courses taken abroad to the major must receive advance written permission from the AAS Director of Undergraduate Programs.
  • No more than two courses (six-eight credits) can be double counted for the major unless the student’s second major is interdisciplinary (in which case up to three courses may be double counted with the permission of both programs).
  • AAS 4993 (Independent Study) does not meet the 4000-level seminar requirement. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to qualify to enroll in AAS 4993; students may petition the AAS Curriculum Committee to make exceptions by submitting a petition form found on the AAS website, but exceptions are granted only in exceptional circumstances. Only one independent study can count toward the AAS major and it must count as an elective.
  • Language courses taught within the department cannot be used to satisfy the distribution requirements.
  • For any course you take that is not listed on our course page as an approved course, you may request an exception for it to count by emailing the DUP of AAS with the course syllabus any time before your final semester. 
  • All majors must maintain a major GPA of 2.0 or higher (which includes all courses taken toward the major)

Declaring the Major


Students must declare a first major before the last day of classes in their fourth semester. Students who transfer as third-years must defer or declare no later than September 30. New third-year spring-term transfers must defer or declare by February 1. See the academic calendar for the exact deadline for fourth-semester students to declare a major.


To declare the major in AAS, a student must be enrolled in or have completed (with a grade of C or above) either AAS 1010 or AAS 1020. When you’re ready to declare:

  • Complete the major worksheet (pdf) using your Academic Requirements report in SIS to capture courses you’ve already taken that can count for the major. Also consult our course archives to speculate on courses you might take in upcoming semesters.
  • Make an appointment with the DUP, Lisa Shutt to discuss the courses you have taken, or plan to take, to fulfill the AAS requirements.
    • NB: The courses you list on your worksheet and declaration are understood to be speculative. You can swap out any of the courses for another (AAS or non-AAS) course listed on our website each semester as course offerings or your schedule changes; just always keep in mind the core requirements you need to fulfill to graduate with the major. 
  • Once the DUP has approved your curricular plan and assigned you an advisor, you’ll submit your declaration electronically on the College’s DocuSign page. Please do not proceed to this step until the DUP has signed off on your worksheet.
  • Your new major will show up in SIS within a business day of all the signatures being submitted. 
  • From that point forward, your AAS major advisor will be your main point of contact for advising on course enrollment and progress towards the major each semester, usually during Advising Period. For any questions regarding courses not showing up in SIS as counting towards your major, you should contact the DUP directly.

Major Requirement Worksheet (pdf)

“The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at”