Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

The Africana Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program that prides itself on offering courses that examine Africanness and Blackness in a globalized world. The program offers students the ability to explore African and Diasporic study through a wide range of perspectives such as anthropology, economics, education, history, history of art, international studies, language, literary studies, performance and visual studies, political science, sociology, and social work, among others. 

The Africana Studies program values a range of research and course foci, including forced or choiced migration, decolonization, political economy and globalization, anti-Black racism, institutional power, oppression, heritage, joy, resistance, and liberation. These topics encourage students to appreciate and critique the multiplicity of what Blackness is, while creating visions for all that it can be. We are committed to speaking truth to power and working to redistribute power equitably and justly, ensuring that students have tools to examine their own positionality, navigate systems, and effect change.The interdisciplinary nature of our program affords students the opportunity to experience a vast exploration of the lives, knowledge systems, and cultures of Africa and African descendants throughout the world. 

Students are encouraged to begin their work in the Africana Studies Program by taking any one of eight gateway courses: “Introduction to African Civilizations” (HIST B102 or ICPR 101 at Haverford); "The Global Short Story" (ENGL B104); "Themes in the Anthropology of Religion" (REL H155); "Africa in the World" (ANTH B202)' "Race, Media, and Gender" (ASFT B150); "The Atlantic World" (HIST B200); "Transnational Writing" (ENGL B283); or "Black America in Sociological Perspective" (SOCL B299). The required gateway course provides students with an intellectual experience in multiple disciplines as well as the foundations for subsequent courses in Africana Studies. The course should be completed by the end of the student’s junior year.

Africana Studies: Minor Requirements

The requirements for a minor in Africana Studies are the following:

One-semester core course:

  • Africana Civilizations (HIST B102 at Bryn Mawr or ICPR 101 at Haverford)

  • The Global Short Story (ENGL B104 for first-years and sophomores only)

  • Race, Gender, and Media (AFST B150)

  • Themes in Anthropology of Religion (REL H155)

  • Africa in the World (ANTH B202)

  • The Atlantic World (HIST B200)

  • Transitional Writing (ENGL B283)

  • Exhibiting Africa: Art, Artifact, and New Articulations (HART B279)

Students may not count core courses twice. Any additional core course will count as a general elective.

Five additional semester courses:

  • Courses must be selected from at least two different departments and divisions.

  • Chosen from an annual Bryn Mawr-approved list of courses at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Penn, or Swarthmore, or by permission of the Bryn Mawr Africana Steering Committee.

  • At least three of these courses must be taken at Bryn Mawr or Haverford.

  • One course from studying away may fulfill this requirement if approved in advance by the Steering Committee. 

  • At least one of the additional courses should normally be at the 300-level.

  • Units of Independent Study (403) may be used to fulfill this requirement.

  • Only two courses of these five Africana Studies courses may overlap with courses taken to fulfill requirements in the student’s major.

Students are encouraged to organize course work along prototypical routes:

  • Regional or area studies; for example, focusing on Black people in Latin America, the English-speaking Caribbean or North America.

  • Thematic emphases; for example, exploring class politics, conflicts and/or economic development in West and East Africa.

  • Comparative emphases; for example, problems of development, governance, public health or family and gender.

The student should indicate the proposed focus of the minor in writing at the time of registration for the minor.

Capstone experience: 

  • Should consolidate or synthesize the student’s focus in the minor (e.g. a thematic or comparative emphasis).

  • Constitutes a sixth course or its equivalent.

  • Can be satisfied by taking a capstone course at the 300-level within the major or another field.

  • If the department in which the student is majoring requires a thesis, the Africana Studies requirement can be satisfied by writing on a topic related to the minor that is approved by the student’s department; if the major does not require a thesis or the student does not choose to write a thesis, a seminary project may be substituted formulated within the framework of a capstone course or as an independent study project.


Contact Us

Africana Studies

Paul Joseph Lopez Oro
Director of Africana Studies
Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies
Old Library 213
Phone: 610-526-5544