What can you do with a degree in African-American Studies? This is likely to be one of the most commonly asked questions of those involved with the African-American Studies Department here at Temple University.
Dr. Nathanial Norment said, “Our students can do basically everything an English or history major can. They can go to law and medical schools, hold jobs in private industry, or become active in community service and social work. Basically anything is possible.”
Temple’s program in African-American Studies (AAS) began with the University’s strong community service presence in North Philadelphia in the 1960s. Growing interest and support spurred the evolution from community program to academic discipline in the 1980s. In 1988, Temple became the first university in the world to develop a doctoral program in AAS, and has since graduated 90 students from its Ph.D. program.
“Today, Temple is the only university offering the full range of degrees in African-American studies: major, minor and doctoral programs are all available,” Norment said.
Temple’s AAS Department offers courses in all the traditional disciplines of study including psychology, history, economics and politics. There are also courses on hip-hop and African art, as well as the place of black women and children in society.
“Our courses fulfill university core requirements as well, such as writing intensive classes and race studies,” Norment said.
Currently, there are approximately 1,000 students enrolled in Temple’s highly competitive AAS program. The department receives over 100 applications annually from a wide variety of students, that contribute to the diversity of its student body.
In addition to its academic offerings, the AAS department is also involved in several community service and research projects. In conjunction with the Philadelphia Prison System, AAS students visit with young people who have been tried as adults, a program that was designed as a support link to motivate kids to study and work hard. AAS students are also active in area schools in afternoon tutoring programs. Workshops in poetry and writing are all part of the program too.
If you would like more information about the African-American Studies Department or are interested in applying, check out their Web site at www.temple.edu/aas, or visit the AAS offices on the eighth floor of Gladfelter Hall.