The Certificate Program in the Department of African American Studies will introduce students enrolled in degree programs in other majors and special students to new knowledge, technologies, analyses, and interpretations of African-American, African diaspora and African subjects, communities, and institutions. Certificate courses span areas of history, literature, music and culture, literature, art history and visual culture, gender and women’s studies (black women’s studies), and race and intergroup relations. This program will offer the student opportunities for understanding, practice, and collaboration that will enhance intellectual and creative participation in world citizenry.

Upon earning the Certificate in African American Studies, this emphasis is noted on the student’s official transcript. The Certificate is of value to students wishing to demonstrate their knowledge of African American Studies either to potential employers or graduate schools.

To pursue a certificate in African American Studies, students must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program in any college and school at the University of Wisconsin. Only special students who began the certificate program as undergraduates are allowed to complete the program. Finally, all certificate students must declare their interest in the program and plan with the advisor a cohesive program consisting of 15 credits.

The cohesiveness of the certificate program will be selected from concentration areas and other core courses in the curriculum of the Department. For example, students may select courses in the areas of history, literature, black women’s studies, music and cultural history, art history and visual culture, among others to meet their specific interests. No more than two of the other courses may be taken at the 100 or 200 level. One course must be a 500-600 level course or seminar. Collectively, the 15 selected credits will come from models and core courses that majors and graduate students take to fulfill requirements.

All certificate students must notify the African American Studies advisor while they are completing their final course in order to get approval of completion and be awarded the certificate. The certificate is not awarded automatically based on DARS. If there are questions about a DARS report, please contact the certificate advisor.


Certificate students must plan with a faculty adviser a cohesive program consisting of 15 credits chosen from undergraduate AFROAMER courses.

  • At least one 3-credit course must focus on Afro-American history (see list below).
  • A minimum of 9 credits must be completed from AFROAMER courses numbered 300–699.
  • At least one 3-credit course must be advanced (AFROAMER 500–697).
  • A maximum of 3 credits of directed study (AFROAMER 699) may count toward the certificate.
  • Students may not substitute courses from other academic programs or subject listings to fulfill the requirements for this program.
 Introduction to Afro-American History
 Race and American Politics from the New Deal to the New Right
Undergraduate Studies in Afro-American History
 Afro-American History Since 1900
 Afro-American History to 1900
 Black Women in America: Reconstruction to the Present
 Race and Gender in Post-World War II U.S. Society
 Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877
African American Women’s Activism (19th & 20th Centuries)
Gender, Race and the Civil Rights Movement
 History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States
 Colloquium in Afro-American History
 Selected Topics in Afro-American History


At least 8 credits must be taken in residence. Courses taken on a UW–Madison study abroad program are considered resident credits; however, study abroad courses must qualify as Afro-American studies credit.

A minimum 2.500 GPA in all courses eligible for the certificate is required. All certificate courses must be graded; credit/no credit and pass/fail do not qualify.