Africana Studies

An interdisciplinary major that spans the humanities, the social sciences, and science-based fields such as public health and environmental studies, Africana studies is based in comparative inquiry into the achievements, experiences, and challenges of African peoples in Africa, the Americas, and African diasporas around the world. Students are encouraged to complement and enrich their course work by exploring opportunities for study and research in Africa, the Americas, or any African diasporic community in the U.S. and beyond. Through research, course work, and public programs, the Center for Africana studies seeks to promote fundamental inquiry into the commonalities and contrasts between contemporary and historical experiences of Africans and African Americans and the place of African diasporas in both local and global contexts.

Academic Details

Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum

Students take three core courses, one each in three areas of concentration: African studies, African-American studies, and studies of the African diaspora. Foreign language courses through the intermediate level are also required. Beyond these basic requirements, students must complete 24 additional credits of electives.

Honors Opportunities

Students who wish to earn honors are required to take a two-semester (eight credit) research seminar in which they prepare an honors thesis in their area of interest under the direction of a faculty adviser. The research seminar provides guidance on research design, methodology, analysis, and presentation of findings, and gives students an opportunity to discuss one another’s projects, share experiences, and receive constructive comments from their peers as well as the faculty coordinator.

Student Stories


The Diaspora Pathways Archival Access Project (DPAAP), a three-year collaboration between Johns Hopkins’ Center for Africana Studies, the Sheridan Libraries’ Center for Educational Resources, and the Afro-American newspaper, employed five student interns from Johns Hopkins, Morgan State University, and Goucher College to uncover, inventory, and publish the paper’s archives on the web.  The paper, founded in 1892 by a former slave who fought in the Civil War, is an invaluable resource for the study of the African-American experience in the United States. For more information about the project, visit the Johns Hopkins Gazette.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in Africana studies have studied abroad in South Africa, Botswana, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, Tanzania, and Brazil.  The Center for Africana Studies also partners with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to offer an annual intersession trip to Ghana that pairs a traditional course with a service learning project at a rural school.


Related Student Groups

African Students Association

Dunbar-Baldwin-Hughes Theatre Company

Black Student Union

Campus & Baltimore Resources

The Afro-American Newspapers

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture

Majors & Minors Programs