Earning a Certificate in African American Studies

Earning a certificate in African American Studies is a straightforward and enriching course of study which complements, and complicates, any Princeton concentration. Students who opt to pursue a certificate in African American Studies gain access to an extraordinary bibliography that prepares them to think about race and difference in sophisticated ways. Certificate earners are required to complete 5 units of coursework, which include AAS 201; two survey courses; and two additional subfield courses. Additionally, certificate earners are encouraged to make African American people, literature, history, or related study and/or research in African American Studies central to their senior thesis topic. PDF courses cannot be counted toward your certificate requirements (not including P/D/F Only courses). 

When you are ready to announce your intention to earn the certificate, please complete the AAS Certificate Form and either email or return a hard copy to the Department of African American Studies.

Professor Naomi Murakawa serves as the director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of African American Studies. Administrative questions should be directed to Jana Johnson.

Course Requirements for Completing the Certificate

Intro Course (1)

Students should first take the departmental survey course, AAS 201 Introduction to the Study of African American Cultural Practices

Upon successful completion, students notify the Department of their intention to complete the certificate.

Four more AAS courses are required to earn the certificate from this point.

Survey Courses (2) 

Certificate earners choose and complete two AAS survey courses of the following four: 

AAS 353 African American Literature: Origins to 1910
AAS 366 African American History to 1863
AAS 359 African American Literature: Harlem Renaissance to Present
AAS 367 African American History Since Emancipation

At least one survey course must be a pre-20th century course.

Subfield Courses (2)

Lastly, certificate earners take at least two additional courses in the African American Studies subfields.

African American Studies is organized into three subfields.

African American Culture and Life (AACL)
Global Race and Ethnicity (GRE)
Race and Public Policy (RPP)

The final two subfield courses may come from any AAS courses and/or approved cognates.


Approved Cognates

For all approved cognates, please see the full list here (link). To get approval for cognate courses not already on our list, a student must submit the course syllabus for review to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Naomi Murakawa.


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