African American and African Studies Program

The African American and African Studies program at Western Michigan University develops civic leaders who have:

  •  Knowledge and skills in critical analysis
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Broad and deep knowledge of the historical and contemporary dynamics of human diversity, oppression, governance and liberation through the study of the culture, experiences and conditions of African Americans, Africans and peoples of African ancestry.

Through an interdisciplinary approach that includes the arts, humanities and social sciences, AAAS aims to engender:

  •  An appreciation of human diversity
  • An emphasis on the ways in which African Americans, Africans and peoples of African ancestry in the Diaspora have constructed and interpreted their own lives and cultures, as well as the ways such lives and cultures have been interpreted by others.

Upon successful completion of the program of study, students should have acquired the skills, knowledge and abilities to:

  •  Conduct independent research on selected AAAS topics.
  • Conduct critical analyses of social, economic and political factors in the lives and cultures of African Americans, Africans and other peoples of African ancestry.
  • Demonstrate competence in written and oral communication.
  • Use technology to advance professional and personal goals.
  • Recognize the major contributions African-descended peoples have made to the development of world civilizations.
  • Understand the role and function of African American and African studies at academic institutions.



Course descriptions

Course schedules

Visit our WES Clusters page to see how to design your Essential Studies to incorporate AAAS and Anthropology around topics such as social justice, global consciousness, or global diversity.

Study abroad

Majors in African American and African Studies at Western Michigan University must complete at least 8 credit hours of world language/study abroad courses. This requirement assists students, in varying degrees, in learning and experiencing diverse and global realities of peoples outside the cultural and physical boundaries of the U.S.

This requirement can be met in one of two ways:

  • By earning world language credit through study abroad (A-S 3300-3310)
  • By taking at least one course beyond the 1010 level in any world language (French, German, Spanish or Arabic recommended)

Students are encouraged to pursue study abroad opportunities that expose them to the culture and lifestyles of peoples of African descent, preferably in Africa or the Caribbean.