I'm considering Africana Studies as my major or minor
Start by taking one of our lower division courses: AFST 103: Foundations of Africana Studies, AFST 284: African American History I, or AFST 285: African American History II. Foundations is offered every semester and History I and II every fall and spring respectively. They will give you great exposure to some of the issues, theories, and historical figures that are covered in our more advanced Africana Studies courses.
We are looking for a particular kind of student: one who is hungry for knowledge of where and how race and culture interplay in the lives of people. In all seriousness, Africana Studies is for everyone. You'll discover there are in fact a wide range of students who are attracted to Africana Studies. Our majors and minors hail from the West Indies, Central America, Nigeria, Malaysia, Brooklyn, Dallas, San Francisco, Albuquerque... basically the world! Our majors and minors represent people from almost all continents, races, religions, ethnicities, ages, and lifestyles. Many of our current majors and minors are coupling their Africana Studies major with a major or minor in another area of the humanities (such as english, history and political science), while others are coupling their study of Africana Studies with a major or minor in one of the sciences (such as mathematics and psychology).
Yes. The writing and analytical skills developed in Africana Studies courses are increasingly valued in professional fields, such as business and marketing, and Africana Studies majors tend to have a more complex flushed out understanding of what they want to accomplish with their graduate studies. Also, remember, that pursuing an Africana Studies major (or minor) does not commit you to a career in Africana Studies. Many of our graduates have gone on to very successful careers in other fields, including business, law, medicine, foreign service, public administration, social work, and education (elementary, secondary, or college).
Yes, particularly when you realize the benefit of connecting an Africana Studies degree with other fields of study. American industries will be increasingly looking for students who have a better understanding of the rising interdisciplinary nature of employment in America. Review these charts from PayScale.com: The results of this survey are available on-line. Imagine the asset you can become to a place of employment because you have a stronger understanding of emerging America.
No. Completing any one of our major or minor programs will help you develop the writing and analytical skills you’ll need in your post-graduate studies.
The Director or Associate Director of Africana Studies. Look under the Contact information section of our web site and email the Director or Associate Director for an appointment.
I'm ready to declare Africana Studies as my major or minor
To declare Africana Studies as your major, you should first meet with an adviser in the College of Arts and Sciences Advising Office (Student Services Building, room 135). The adviser will provide you general information about completing your degree requirements, and then give you a Major Declaration Form. This form must be signed by the Director or Associate Director of Africana Studies and then returned to the College Advising Office. You can also set up an appointment with the Academic Advisor to get the form and complete it.
You have a couple of options: You can meet with the Academic Advisor during his/her posted office hours, or you can arrange an alternative meeting time by contacting the Academic Advisor via email.
You can find the email address and office hours posted in the Africana Studies Program. Look under the Contact information section of our web site and request an appointment with the Associate Director.
Yes. The signature of the Academic Advisor is required if you are declaring Africana Studies as your major, double major, first minor, or second minor.
I'm currently completing the Africana Studies major or minor
No. This responsibility falls on the student. However, we do have worksheets available on-line, which students can use to help them keep track of the courses they need to complete for their Africana Studies degree requirements.
General major worksheet: AFST Worksheet.
Not necessarily. The prerequisite for some of our upper-division courses is simply AFST 103 Foundations, For information on the prerequisites for our upper-division courses, consult the current UNM course catalog or our Complete Course List.
Yes, highly. We encourage our majors to take AFST 103, 284, and 285 as soon as possible for two reasons: 1) These survey courses expose students to some of the most important figures and theories of the African Diaspora; and 2) These courses offer a solid historical background that will better enable students to orient themselves towards the issues, questions, and leading figures of contemporary Africana Studies.
Yes. We strongly recommend that our majors aim to complete the required courses for their major program by the end of their junior year and leave their senior year to complete their electives (and possibly pursue Seniors Seminars and Internships). We make this recommendation because some of the courses required for our majors (including AFST 250: Black Women, AFST 329 Intro to African Politics, AFST 333: Black Political Theory, and AFST 388: Blacks in Latin America) are not offered every semester. Thus, it’s best that students complete these courses prior to the year they intend to graduate. Otherwise, they run the risk of having to delay their graduation until the required courses are offered again.
No. We have designed our undergraduate programs to ensure that students have a good deal of flexibility when choosing their elective courses for the major and minor.
Check the “News and Events” section of our web site. Or, if you’d prefer email updates, you can subscribe to the AFST-L listserv. This listserv is open to all members of the UNM community (you need not be an Africana Studies major). To subscribe, go to http://list.unm.edu, click on “Subscribe to a List”, and when prompted, enter AFST-L First Name Last Name. You will then indicate the email address to which you’d like messages sent (the email address need not be a UNM address). However, remember Membership Has Its Privileges. We take good care of our majors and minors by helping with course selections, grad school applications, scholarships to study abroad, and unique programming.
I'm graduating with a degree in Africana Studies this coming year
No. While many Africana Studies students decide to attend graduate school, there is no “typical” path that’s been taken by graduates of the UNM Africana Studies program. Our alumni have put their skills and talents to use in a wide variety of fields, including business, law, medicine, library science, publishing, foreign service, public administration, social work, and (elementary, secondary, and post-secondary) education.
Yes. We encourage you to talk to a Career Development Facilitator at UNM’s Office of Career Services. These facilitators are available to help current UNM students and alumni assess their abilities and interests, clarify their career goals, write a resume or cover letter, and conduct a job search.
Not yet. However, there are excellent graduate school programs in Africana Studies. Please follow the link for more details.
Yes. You can speak with our current Academic Advisor to get some general insight into studying Africana Studies at the graduate level. However, you will get better advice from Africana Studies faculty members from whom you’ve taken several courses. Since they are familiar with your academic skills and talents, they can help you determine whether you a prepared for the sort of writing and research you will have to complete in graduate school.
Yes. Although each student will have a unique experience applying for and attending graduate school, here are some things that are generally true:
- Completing an M.A. in Africana Studies typically requires at least 2 years of full-time study, while completing a Ph.D. in Africana Studies typically requires 6 to 8 years of full-time study, while business school would take approximately 2 years, law school is 3 years and med school will be between 7 - 9 years;
- Admission into graduate programs is very competitive (in any given year, a graduate program with a strong reputation will receive upwards of 300 applications and admit less than 10 students into their program);
- Finishing a graduate degree can be very costly (even students who are admitted into a graduate program with some funding typically need to supplement their income with student loans); and
- There are many more people with Ph.D.s in Africana Studies than there are openings at colleges and universities to teach Africana Studies (according to a recent estimate, for every job opening to teach Africana at the post-secondary level there are 3 qualified applicants).
Yes, and the positives are very positive. As a graduate student in Africana Studies , you will have the freedom to investigate the philosophical problems and figures that interest you, the opportunity to connect with students and faculty members who share your philosophical interests, the freedom to manage your time as you see fit, and in many cases, the opportunity to craft and teach undergraduate Africana Studies courses. For a better sense of how one can strike a balance between these positive aspects of graduate study with the less-than-positive aspects, talk to members of the UNM Africana Studies faculty as well as our current graduate students.
Most graduate programs have particular strengths (which are associated with the number of faculty working in a specific field), and you should apply to programs that have strengths which correlate with your interests. For instance, if you are interested in studying and researching the Caribbean at the graduate level, then, among other places, you should consider your schools carefully. To learn more about the strengths of particular Africana Studies programs, consult each program’s web site. Look at the research specialties of different faculty members as well as the areas in which graduate courses are commonly offered.
You’ll likely be asked to supply 3 letters of recommendation with your application, and in general, programs would like at least 2 of these letters to speak to your academic abilities. For these letters, approach faculty members who are very familiar with your academic talents (for instance, professors with whom you’ve had more than 1 class). For the third letter, you can request a letter from an additional faculty member or approach someone who is familiar with your professional achievements (for instance, an employer or supervisor with whom you’ve worked for a year or more).
You can request a letter of recommendation in person or via email. Whichever route you choose, be sure to offer your potential letter writer specific information about your goals and the program(s) to which you are applying. You can do so by supplying a draft of your personal statement along with a current resume. Also, be sure to give your letter writers ample time to compose their letters. Err on the side of caution and make your requests at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to your application deadline.
While there are different strategies for composing a personal statement, be sure to aim for clarity and emphasize 1) that you’re serious about the program to which you’re applying and 2) that you’re prepared for the challenges you’ll face when completing your post-graduate work.
Yes. The Africana Studies celebration is each May, typically on the Friday evening of Finals Week, the same evening before UNM holds its general convocation ceremony. Undergraduate students who are graduating in May (or who graduated in December) will be contacted by the Africana Studies Program April with more details about our ceremony.
I have questions about the Africana Studies Program not answered above
Yes. Africana courses that are cross-listed mean that whether you signed up on the AFST side or another, they will fulfill all graduation requirements. As long as it is cross-listed, it counts.