African American Studies, B.A.

African American studies describe the systematic investigation into the vast range of racial, ethnic, cultural and political perspectives, experiences and beliefs of people of African heritage around the globe, with particular focus on the African diaspora in the United States. Students emerge from Saint Louis University's African American Studies, B.A. program with a rigorous understanding of the histories, philosophies, culture and literature emergent from the African diaspora, thus enabling them to embark on careers in education, law, politics, business and the arts. 

African American studies offer students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the vast diversity of the society in which they live. Students will become knowledgeable about the African diaspora and be prepared to seek careers or professional programs where they can utilize knowledge in the design and implementation of programs for African Americans and other diasporic communities.

Our students, staff and faculty come from a range of backgrounds, experiences and fields of study. Collectively, our mission is to combine rigorous study, creativity and research in the production and exchange of knowledge concerning the African diaspora.

We aim to foster a community of thinkers, scholars, activists and artists whose work enriches understanding of how African Americans and other African diasporic communities have mutually shaped the social worlds they inhabit.

SLU's African American studies major is open to all students pursuing an undergraduate degree, regardless of race, ethnicity or national origin.

Curriculum Overview

A total of 30 credits are required to complete SLU's major in African American studies. Students complete five core courses designed to introduce them to the goals of the Department of African American Studies and to help them further develop an understanding of the African diaspora and its impact, interrelationships and dynamics in contemporary African American communities.

African American studies courses at Saint Louis University intersect with various academic majors. Courses that make up the core of the African American studies degree are taught within our department. The department also offers cross-listed courses with other academic departments, and when taken for African American studies, requirements may also fulfill the University undergraduate core requirements. The variety of courses across academic disciplines enables students to develop new ways of conceptualizing issues related to race, identity and culture in their scholarly pursuits.

Fieldwork and Research Opportunities

SLU's Department of African American Studies also offers unique academic opportunities such as internships and field service projects in African American communities for students looking for challenges outside of the classroom. Students should consult the department chair for more information on this aspect of our program.


Majoring in African American studies gives students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the pluralistic society they live in. 

Career options include:

  • Advertising agent
  • Business manager
  • City planner
  • Community relations specialist
  • Copy editor
  • Creative writer
  • Educator/professor
  • Health administrator
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Linguist
  • Museum curator
  • Paralegal
  • Policy analyst
  • Psychologist
  • Sociologist
  • University administrator

Admission Requirements

Begin Your Application

Saint Louis University also accepts the Common Application.


All applications are thoroughly reviewed with the highest degree of individual care and consideration to all credentials that are submitted. Solid academic performance in college preparatory coursework is a primary concern in reviewing a freshman applicant’s file.

To be considered for admission to any Saint Louis University undergraduate program, applicants must be graduating from an accredited high school, have an acceptable HiSET exam score or take the General Education Development (GED) test. 


Applicants must be a graduate of an accredited high school or have an acceptable score on the GED.

Students who have attempted fewer than 24 semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must follow the above freshmen admission requirements. Students who have completed 24 or more semester credits (or 30 quarter credits) of college credit must submit transcripts from all previously attended college(s).

In reviewing a transfer applicant’s file, the Office of Admission holistically examines the student’s academic performance in college-level coursework as an indicator of the student’s ability to meet the academic rigors of Saint Louis University. Where applicable, transfer students will be evaluated on any courses outlined in the continuation standards of their preferred major.

International Applicants

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students along with the following:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Proof of financial support must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.


Tuition Cost Per Year
Undergraduate Tuition $54,760

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

There are two principal ways to help finance a Saint Louis University education:

  • Scholarships: Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, service, leadership and financial need.
  • Financial Aid: Financial aid is provided through grants and loans, some of which require repayment.

Saint Louis University makes every effort to keep our education affordable. In fiscal year 2023, 99% of first-time freshmen and 92% of all students received financial aid and students received more than $459 million in aid University-wide.

For priority consideration for merit-based scholarships, apply for admission by December 1 and complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March 1.

For information on other scholarships and financial aid, visit

  1. Graduates will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the rich complexities of the social, political, economic and cultural life primarily of people of African descent in the United States, but also those in the African diaspora and on the continent.
  2. Graduates will be able to interweave arguments and approaches from multiple disciplines into their assignments and projects.
  3. Graduates will be able to engage in activities that encourage them to interact with and serve the African American and the African diasporic community in order to critically assess public positions regarding critical and controversial issues facing African, African American and African diasporic people.

 African American studies students must complete a minimum total of 30 credits for the major.

University Undergraduate Core32-35
Major Requirements
AAM 2000Freedom Dreams: Intro to African American Studies3
AAM 2010Contemporary Black America3
AAM 4970Research Methods in African American Studies3
AAM 4960Capstone Course3
Choose one class at either the AAM 3xxx-level or AAM 4xxx-level3
Major Elective Courses15
The remaining 15 credits can be selected from courses with the African American Studies attribute. Up to six hours of electives can be used for double duty as Arts & Sciences core requirements.
General Electives55-58
Total Credits120

Continuation Standards

Students with a major in African American studies must maintain a 2.00 GPA in courses for the African American studies major.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 120 credits (excluding pre-college level courses numbered below 1000).
  • Complete the University Undergraduate Core curriculum requirements.
  • Complete major requirements: minimum of 30 credits required.
  • Complete remaining credits with a second major, minor, certificate and/or electives to reach the minimum of 120 credits required for graduation.
  • Achieve at least a 2.00 cumulative grade point average, a 2.00 grade point average in the major(s), and a 2.00 grade point average in the minor/certificate, or related elective credits.
  • Complete department-/program-specific academic and performance requirements.
  • Complete at least 50% of the coursework for the major and 75% for the minor/certificate through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete 30 of the final 36 credits through Saint Louis University or an approved study abroad program.
  • Complete an online degree application by the required University deadline.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
AAM 2000 Freedom Dreams: Intro to African American Studies (satisfies Equity and Global Identities: Identities in Context) 3
CORE 1000 Ignite First Year Seminar (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 2-3
CORE 1500 Cura Personalis 1: Self in Community (Must be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 1
CORE 1900 Eloquentia Perfecta 1: Written and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 36 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
General Electives 6
CORE 3200 Ways of Thinking: Quantitative Reasoning (Should be taken in first 45 credit hours at SLU) 3
CORE 1600 Ultimate Questions: Theology 3
AAM 2010 Contemporary Black America (satisfies CORE 3400) 3
AAM 2XXX OR 3XXXCross listed elected course/African American Studies attribute 3
General Electives 3
Year Two
CORE 1200 Eloquentia Perfecta 2: Oral and Visual Communication (Should be taken in first 60 credit hours at SLU / Cannot carry attributes) 3
CORE 1700 Ultimate Questions: Philosophy 3
AAM 2XXX OR 3XXXCross listed elected course /African American Studies attribute 3
General Electives 6
CORE 3800 Ways of Thinking: Natural and Applied Sciences (taken any time) 3
CORE 2500 Cura Personalis 2: Self in Contemplation 0
AAM 2XXX OR 3XXXCross listed elective course /African American Studies attribute 6
General Electives 6
Year Three
CORE 2800 Eloquentia Perfecta 3: Creative Expression (taken any time) 2-3
CORE 3400 Ways of Thinking: Aesthetics, History, and Culture (taken any time) 3
AAM 2XXX OR 3XXXCross listed elected course/African American Studies attribute 3
General Electives 7
CORE 3600 Ways of Thinking: Social and Behavioral Sciences (taken any time) 3
CORE 4000 Collaborative Inquiry 2-3
AAM 3XXX or 4XXXCross listed elected course/African American Studies attribute 3
General Electives 7
Year Four
CORE 3500 Cura Personalis 3: Self in the World 1
AAM 4970 Research Methods in African American Studies 3
General Electives 11
AAM 4960 Capstone Course 3
General Electives 12
 Total Credits120-123

For additional information, please contact:

Christopher Tinson, Ph.D.
     Program Director

2+SLU programs provide a guided pathway for students transferring from a partner institution.