The Africana Studies program is part of the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Exploring the African diaspora through study abroad is a life-changing experience in the BGSU Africana Studies program.
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  • Bachelors Available
  • Minor Available
  • Bachelors Available

Africana Studies

Africana studies at Bowling Green State University is an interdisciplinary program devoted to exploring the historical, cultural, political and artistic expressions and contributions of the various cultures of Africa and African Diaspora worldwide.

Students can select individualized concentrations in African, African-American, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino cultures.

Africana studies at BGSU can be preparation for responsible citizenship and career opportunities in the global community, or a way to restore connections to a familial heritage or explore different cultures.

Students enjoy an engaged faculty with diverse interests, a rigorous academic standard and an active connection to African institutions and the Africana studies community in the United States.

Graduates are equipped with a variety of in-demand skills for work in a multicultural world.

From Africa, to the world

The customizable nature of the major or minor in Africana studies at BGSU means you can learn just about any aspect of the culture, economy or history of Africa and its diaspora.

From the rapid market growth of the African nations — one in five of the world’s consumers will live in Africa by the end of the next decade — to the historical implications of the slave trade. The scope of studies is vast, which is why a faculty with diverse African research interests are experts at advising students on how to grow their experience, learning and academic progression.

Students can focus on any of the significant African diasporas: African-American, Afro–Latin Americans, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-European.

Study abroad programs in Ghana and Burkina Faso offer access to experiences far from the tourist trail, with music lessons, cultural arts classes, funeral rituals and social dances among past experiences. 

Stand Out in courses like

  • Introduction to Africana Studies
  • Slavery in the Atlantic World
  • Short Narrative Film Production
  • Africa and World Politics
  • Art of Western Africa
  • Geography of Africa
  • Afro-centric Music
  • Black Popular Culture


The BGSU Africana studies program offers a major and minor designed to encourage an interdisciplinary approach to a student’s chosen area of inquiry. 

Academic advisors and faculty are available to help students choose their best course of study to explore areas of interest and ensure academic progress. 

Drawing on diverse fields represented in colleges, schools, and departments across the BGSU campus, the flexible curriculum strengthens students' liberal arts backgrounds. Africana studies prepares students to interact with a world of racial and cultural diversity.

Africana studies provides a focused lens for studying the historical, cultural, political, literary, and artistic aspects of people of African descent worldwide. The arts and humanities focus of this major and minor will help prepare students to effectively negotiate in a world that increasingly requires crossing racial, cultural, and disciplinary boundaries in research and careers in the public and private sectors.

Students gain comprehensive knowledge of Africana peoples through classroom instruction, archival research, and study abroad experience.

Study Abroad

Being immersed in an entirely new cultural setting in Africa, even for a limited time, provides students with opportunities to discover new strengths and abilities and solve new problems. 

BGSU Africana studies students return from study abroad trips with new ideas and perspectives about themselves and their culture. 

The Music and Art of Ghana  

The class will spend one to two weeks at a cultural arts institute near the nation's capital, Accra, with the remainder of the time in Kumasi, the capital of the Ashanti peoples, and farther north in the Dagomba region. Students will participate in music and dance lessons, with opportunities during the day to study other arts, such as batik making, kente weaving, adinkra cloth-making, and wood carving. The class will also attend local events such as funerals, rituals, and social dance clubs.

French Programs in Burkina Faso

For the two-week Spring program, students visit Burkina Faso after attending a January to March French program in France. The three-week Summer program, worth six credit hours, is designed only for students who have spent at least one semester in a French-speaking country. Students attend morning classes taught by Burkinabe professors of the University of Ouagadougou and have scheduled excursions most afternoons and weekends. 

Africana Studies opens up a whole new world of culture and point-of-view. 


A major or minor in Africana studies from BGSU provides the foundation and tools needed not only to guide personal and professional aspirations but to ensure success in an increasingly cross-cultural and interdependent world.

Careers in law and education, government and policy studies, international relations, and diplomatic service are common paths after taking Africana studies. In addition, students can seek employment with non-profit organizations and public agencies.

The Africana studies program as a minor gives students who major in art, communication, business, literature, history, advertising, education, sociology and political science an additional area of specialization and a global perspective.

Africana studies prepares students for graduate or professional training in languages, law, philosophy, social sciences, ethnic and women's studies, literature, communications, business, diplomatic services, library and archival services. 

Students are well equipped for graduate studies in the arts and humanities, and those with a double major further increase their options.

Go Far in your career

  • Anthropologist
  • Community Advocate
  • Historic Preservation Specialist
  • International Relations Specialist
  • Museum Curator
  • Non-Profit Administrator
  • Politician
  • Public Policy Specialist

Students can select individualized concentrations in African, African-American, Afro–Latino, or Afro-Caribbean cultures.

Africana Studies Annual Student Research Conference

The BGSU Africana Studies Student Research Conference is an annual scholarly event organized by the Africana Studies Program of Bowling Green State University. The conference offers students a chance to write, present, and discuss their scholarship in African and African Diaspora studies.

BGSU graduate and undergraduate students submit research papers addressing related themes, while Africana studies faculty review submitted essays and select the best for inclusion in the day-long colloquium.

Students in all disciplines are encouraged to participate. Our past conferences included students from universities across Ohio and Michigan, Texas, California, Kansas, and New York.

Finding Your Voice in Social Justice Learning Community

In the Finding Your Voice in Social Justice Learning Community, you will learn about activating social change from university and community leaders and organizers.  We will introduce you to campus resources and help you foster connections with other students, faculty, BGSU leaders and community activists.

We hope to create bridges between home and campus communities through these efforts, build connections among students and connect students to resources available at BGSU.  We believe better-connected students will not only be more successful, but they will also be more effective university citizens. 

BGSU Arts and Sciences white

The Africana Studies program is part of the BGSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the baccalaureate degree, students in Africana Studies are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural nature of Africana Studies;
  • Show significant improvement in their organizational and critical analysis skills through research and writings;
  • Exhibit familiarity with the creativity and diversity that exist among Africana peoples worldwide;
  • Demonstrate ability to utilize interdisciplinary approaches used in, and the range of literatures derived from, scholarly research in the field of Africana Studies;
  • Critically analyze social and cultural issues pertinent to Africana peoples from interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives;
  • Understand and apply concepts of African continuity, unity, transformation and Diasporic identity when analyzing cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora.

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Africana Studies program will go through its next Program/Cluster Review during Academic Year 2022/23.

More information on accreditation

Bowling Green State University programs leading to licensure, certification and/or endorsement, whether delivered online, face-to-face or in a blended format, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio.

Requirements for licensure, certification and/or endorsement eligibility vary greatly from one profession to another and from state to state. The Africana Studies program does not lead to professional licensure.

More information on professional licensure

Under the Higher Education Act Title IV disclosure requirements, an institution must provide current and prospective students with information about each of its programs that prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.

The Africana Studies program is not a recognized occupation that requires a Gainful Employment disclosure.

Updated: 04/03/2023 09:11AM