Why African Studies?

DAS Students Drum Circle

Our program cultivates and promotes interdisciplinary approaches to studying African historical, political, economic, social and cultural issues and provides necessary skills for critically understanding, analyzing and addressing problems and potential solutions. The department prepares undergraduate majors to undertake graduate studies and prepares them for careers and service in local, national and international private, public and non-profit institutions and organizations.

Our courses focus on contemporary Africa and cover multiple disciplines. Some of our undergraduate courses include: Introduction to Contemporary Africa; African Development & Underdevelopment; Continental & Regional Organizations; Globalization in Africa; HIV/Aids in Africa; Environment & Society in Africa; African Languages & Culture; Hip Hop & Popular Culture in Africa; Literature, Film, & Society in Africa; Social Media & Political Change in Africa and Black Women and Popular Culture.

New Course! AFST 890 Africa in the Disciplines in Kenya

AFST 890 Study Abroad

The course introduces students to various issues such as Africa's media landscape, diversity, ethnicity, social classes and multilingualism, education and indigenous knowledge, African environment, gender and politics, peacekeeping and conflict resolution, and indigenous and contemporary governance. While abroad, the sessions will include class sessions, experiential learning, excursions, and guest lectures. The learners will have the opportunity to experience the rich culture of the Kenyan people and especially the Swahili and Mijikenda people along the coastal region. Also, they will visit the remnants of the historic Swahili States to learn more about Swahili’s great civilization. Additionally, they will visit Kaya Sacred forests of the Miji Kenda people of Kenya. They will be able to observe how the Mijikenda people are keeping their culture and religion alive. Moreover, the learners will have an opportunity to visit the botanical gardens of Pwani University to see and learn about indigenous herbs. Furthermore, students will visit Kilimo primary school in Kilifi to observe education language policy in practice. Finally, the students will visit Kilifi Governor’s Office to see decentralization in practice and also learn about women’s role in Kenyan politics. They may also visit the county parliament if it is in session.

Current Students

Degree Requirements

The Department of African Studies has programs for majors and minors.

Major Requirements

36 credit hours are required for the African Studies major. Seniors also take a comprehensive exam.

African Studies Majors: Required Courses

  1. AFST 101 OR AFST 701: African World/Introduction to Contemporary Africa
  2. AFST-111    African Systems of Thought
  3. AFST 106 OR AFST 776: Foundation to African Studies
  4. AFST-156    Introduction to African Literature  
  5. AFST-102    Science, Technology, and Development  
  6. AFST-110    African Development & Underdevelopment 
  7. AFST-182    Seminar in Regional Studies   
  8. AFST-183    Internship in African Studies

Elective Options (12 credit hours/choose 4 elective courses)

  1. Elective 1: 
  2. Elective 2:
  3. Elective 3:
  4. Elective 4:

Minor Requirements

15 Credit hours are required for a minor.

Required Courses (6 credit hours)

  1. AFST 101 OR AFST 701: African World/Introduction to Contemporary Africa
  2. AFST 106 OR AFST 776: Foundation to African Studies

Elective Options (9 credit hours/choose 3 elective courses)

  1. Elective 1: 
  2. Elective 2:
  3. Elective 3:

Electives for majors and minors

AFST 013    Freedom Struggles: Southern Africa  

AFST 104    Islam, Youth and Social Change in Africa  

AFST-105    African Language and Cultures  

AFST 107    Social Media and the African World

AFST 120    Trafficking and Destruction of African Heritage [New course 2022]  

AFST-121    Environment and Society in Africa  

AFST-123    Women in African Civilizations & Traditions  

AFST-124    Globalization in Africa  

AFST 125    China and Africa  

AFST 126    AIDS in Africa and the African Diaspora  

AFST 131    African Cultural Formations and Identities  

AFST 132    Hip Hop and Popular Culture in Africa  

AFST 133    Continental and Regional Organizations

AFST 137    Southern Africa  

AFST 157    Literature, Film and Society in Africa  

AFST 184/  AFST 185    Directed Research        AFST 101 or Instructor Consent  

AFST 191    Senior Colloquium        AFST 101, AFST 102 or senior status

The Degree Completion Map is an advising tool designed to assist students develop an 8-semester plan to fulfill all degree requirements. This document should be used in conjunction with the Department’s program scheme, Undergraduate Course Bulletin and semester course offering lists.


After you've declared African Studies as either a major or minor, contact Dr. Plummer at anita.plummer@howard.edu to schedule an advising meeting.

If you're a double major or declaring a minor in African Studies, seek advice from both departments you're affiliated with.

Study Abroad in Africa

The Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center serves as the primary clearinghouse for international programs on Howard's campus.

  • Attend an information session in the Bunche Center, held weekly from 3:00-4:00 pm on Tuesdays & Wednesdays.The Bunche Center is located at 2218 6th Street NW Washington, DC 20002.
  • Make a list of all unfulfilled major/minor courses & identify applicable programs from those offered through HU Program Partners (click here to find programs in Africa).
  • Identify 1-2 programs that offer a minimum of 6 courses (18 credits) that work within your HU scheme.
  • Visit the Bunche Center during advising hours [Tuesday to Friday, 1:00 pm-5:00 pm] to speak with staff about your desired program and discuss the steps forward!
  • Submit the Bison Abroad Application, a scanned copy of a course approval form, a copy of your Howard transcript and copy of the photograph page of your valid passport to studyabroad@howard.edu by the application deadline. The email subject should read: Full name, program provider name, country, city, term abroad

    Scholarships & Professional Development

    The African Studies Undergraduate Fellowship awards up to $2000 a year. Majors and minors can apply. The application deadline is every year on March 15th.

    The Center for African Studies provides Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships through funding from the U.S. Department of Education Title VI program. FLAS Fellowships support students taking African languages (Amharic, Arabic, Somali, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba and Zulu) and area studies coursework. The fellowships support intensive for-credit study of an African language and to promote the development of competency in African Studies either in the United States or abroad.

    The Rangel Program is a U.S. State Department program administered by Howard University that seeks to attract and prepare outstanding young people for careers as diplomats in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State.

    The USAID Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship Program seeks to attract outstanding individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

    The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for individually designed study/research projects or for English Teaching Assistant Programs.  A candidate will submit a Statement of Grant Purpose defining activities to take place during one academic year in a participating country outside the U.S.

    The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

    The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001.