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Black Studies

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The UIC Department of Black Studies, formerly known as the Department of African American Studies, provides a rich and challenging interdisciplinary undergraduate program that explores the histories and cultures, social and economic issues, and political processes that have shaped the experiences of African-descended people in the Americas and around the world.

Our stellar faculty introduce students to historical and contemporary questions of race and racialization, cultural politics, and social justice from a variety of disciplines, including history, sociology, literature, music, political science, education, and criminology. Our undergraduates have the freedom to explore their interests while engaging the broad questions that shape thefield of Black studies. With its urban location and commitment to community engagement, the Black studies department offers an exciting opportunity for all students interested in examining the experiences of Black communities in the US, Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

See how other students found their fit below with this major!

Alumni Highlights Heading link

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Below is a sample of how UIC alumni have applied their Black Studies major to a professional path!

  • Art, Leadership, and Health Manager, Alternatives, Inc.
  • Associate Professor of Sociology, Kankakee Community College
  • Co-Founder and Principal, Village Leadership Academy
  • Core Programs Manager, Safer Foundation
  • Development Manager, Metropolitan Tenants Organization
  • Director of Operations, Communities First Association
  • General Manager, Balton Corporation
  • Program Manager, iMentor
  • Quality Assurance Manager, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Teacher, Noble Network of Charter Schools
  • Treatment Counselor, Youth Outreach Services

Unique Skills and Competencies Heading link

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In addition to the foundational set of skills and competencies you will acquire in any liberal arts and science major, there are also unique skills and perspectives you gain from your Black Studies major. Review the list below to learn more:

  • Ability to understand the historical and contemporary questions of race and social justice in an intersectional and transnational context
  • Ability to explore these questions from a variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, history, sociology, literature, music, political science, education, psychology, and criminology
  • Ability to engage and facilitate public discourses on race and inequality in local and global contexts
  • Ability to thematically explore blackness through 1) cultural production and analysis; 2) race, politics, and institutions; 3) diasporic and transnational studies; and 4) black queer and feminist studies
  • Strong background in interdisciplinary theories and research methods of Black diaspora studies, ethnic studies, and gender and queer studies
  • Interdisciplinary training that challenges constraints of disciplinary parameters and logic
  • Ability to apply skills within and beyond the classroom through engaged research projects and community initiatives

Industry Clusters Heading link

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There are many work place settings, industries, and career areas where you can apply your major based on your professional interests. Below is a sample list of industry clusters that other Black Studies majors have transitioned into professionally. What type of setting or career focus appeals to you?

  • Arts, Media, and Communications
  • Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Criminology and Law Enforcement
  • Cultural and Museum Studies
  • Education
  • Government, International Affairs, and Public Service
  • Healthcare and Wellness
  • Law and Legal Services
  • Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations
  • Research and Policy
  • Technology
  • Social Services

Black Studies Advising Webinar

Meet Amanda McDonald! Heading link

“This major has taught me ways to be disciplined in my reasoning while also being open-minded. I am learning how to process information, validate sources, put data into context—all while doing it creatively. Research is something I enjoy and provides me a deeper understanding of my major. This is why the LASURI award is so important. It gives me the opportunity to use interdisciplinary research within African American studies.”


Learn more of how Amanda found her fit with African American Studies!

Meet Jon-Tel Ma Carter! Heading link

“I used to be pre-med. I had the opportunity to shadow a doctor and conduct research with him and medical students in a sickle cell clinic. This formed a connection to my interests and major because people with sickle cell are majority people of African descent and African Americans. So, it gave me the opportunity to learn about people in my community from a medical perspective.”

Learn more of how Jon-Tel found her fit with African American Studies!

Deeper Dive? Visit the Department Website for More Info!

View the Undergraduate Catalog