Description of Program of Study

The Department of African American Studies offers a Graduate Minor (12 graduate hours) for any student enrolled in a graduate program at UIUC. Students enrolled in the graduate program are encouraged to apply for African American Studies teaching assistantships and the Dianne Pinderhughes Graduate Travel Fellowship.

The interdisciplinary Graduate Minor in African American Studies is designed to explore a wide range of information and scholarship in African American studies and its subfields. Students have an opportunity to work with a broad and dynamic group of African Americanist scholars across the humanities and social sciences, and the arts and professions. Graduate students enrolled in the program are encouraged to participate in all African American Studies activities, including the Department’s lecture series, conferences, and reading groups. African American Studies at Illinois emphasizes historically specific critical analyses of black racial formation, the particular experiences of Black women, gender construction, and African American agency, in the context of constantly evolving political economies, governmental policies, and popular culture. This emphasis reflects both the strength of a large and diverse group of core and faculty affiliates, and the department’s guiding principles. African American Studies at Illinois is committed to constructing a new paradigm for Black Studies, one that explores the interconnections between African Americans transnational black populations, and other racialized communities in the United States and their relationship to other forms of social oppression. Intrinsic to this new model is a revitalization of Black Studies’ commitment to public engagement and social transformation.

Hours Requirements
4 AFRO 500, Core Problems in African-American Studies.
8 Graduate courses from an approved list of African American Studies courses, at least one of which must be at the 500-level.
12 Total


None. AFRO 500, Core Problems in African-American Studies is the only required course and will be offered every fall semester.

Admission to the minor

Applicants must be in good standing in a graduate program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, preferably in the social sciences or humanities, and demonstrate an interest in African American Studies. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, a brief personal essay that includes a statement of purpose that describes their background, career plans, and explains how a minor in African American Studies enhances their primary program of study. A student’s intent to pursue a graduate minor must be approved by the student’s advisor and graduate program director. The student’s major department will determine how many graduate hours of the minor may count toward the degree requirements in the student’s program.

Minor advisor

The department’s Graduate Academic Advisor, Professor Faye Harrison, will function as graduate advisor for the minor.

Certification of successful completion

Successful completion of the graduate minor will be monitored by African American Studies.