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.

When you are ready to announce your intention to earn the certificate, please complete the 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.

Required Courses

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 from Reconstruction to the Present

At least one survey course should 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.


More on AAS Agreements and Approved Cognates

The Department of African American Studies participates in ‘AAS Agreements’ with several departments. Currently, the agreements extend to the Department of English, the Department of History, the Department of Religion and the Department of Sociology. The AAS Agreements make it possible for students to complete major requirements in the aforementioned departments while also completing coursework for the African American Studies certificate. For all eligible courses and cognates in each department, please see the full AAS Agreements. 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.