Chart Your Path and Your History by Studying the Breadth of Black American Life

African American studies is an interdisciplinary approach encompassing the contributions and experiences of Black Americans throughout history. Where other disciplines marginalize or hastily consider the contributions of Black experience, African American studies places those contributions at the forefront.

An education in African American studies will use history, sociology, politics, religion, art and other disciplines to enrich the American story, highlight Black contributions, and illuminate the struggles Black Americans still face today.

Statue of Mary McLeod Bethune

Bethune-Cookman University

Careers in African American Studies

Like many interdisciplinary fields, there are few set career paths for majors in African American studies. Instead, graduates are equipped with a set of useful and marketable skills and are free to pursue a career of their choice. However, there are a few career paths that can make great use of the skills provided by an education in African American Studies such as:

  • Clergy: Black Americans have a rich religious tradition. Learning more about the religious and cultural aspects of Black experience can make one a suitable candidate for a career in the clergy.
  • Teacher: Because African American studies is interdisciplinary, graduates will be well suited to the teaching profession. Students planning on becoming teachers should emphasize courses in one specific discipline, to ensure they are well-versed in that subject.
  • Lawyer: An African American studies degree can serve as a useful pre-law program. This major will equip students with the analytical, research and writing skills necessary to get into law school and pursue a fruitful legal career.

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How to Prepare for Success

Students majoring in African American studies should have a fundamental understanding of American history and culture.

UNCF Schools to Consider

Two UNCF-member schools offer programs for students wishing to work in the field of African American studies, including:

Professional Organizations

There are a few organizations that directly advocate for the field of African American studies such as the National Council of Black Studies. In addition, there are professional organizations for numerous fields that highlight and advocate for Black Americans in those fields. A sample list includes:


Booker t Washington Statue


Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. 

Students should also check with each college or university to see if there are other scholarships available to study African American Studies.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career in African American Studies. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!