Throughout history, slavery, colonialism, and imperialism have had a dire impact on Africa and its diasporas, affecting its ability to develop strong, secure governments and economies. But its people are inventing, creating, and working in cutting-edge fields. By pursuing a minor in African and Black American studies (ABAS), you’ll learn sophisticated forms of cultural, historical, and political analysis and how to write and effectively speak about and make sense of African and Black American contributions to history, literature, culture, and politics.

Although you may wrestle with the difficult history of racism, slavery, and colonialism, you’ll gain a solid understanding of how all people have been affected, regardless of skin color.

Given Africa’s and Black America’s massive, pervasive, and enduring impact on the contemporary world, and given the prominent role of race and ethnicity in political, policy, and other public debates, an understanding of African and Black American culture and history is valuable for almost any career field, such as law, politics, education, journalism, sociology, and business. Adding an ABAS minor to your major is easily accomplished and enhances your education.

Degree Requirements

If you’re interested in pursuing a minor in African and Black American studies (ABAS), begin your journey by talking to your advisor or by coming to the office hours of one of the ABAS faculty. They will help you develop a minor program tailored to your interests that allows you to learn about the dynamics of colonialism and racism, and to discover important African and Black American historical figures, political fighters, intellectuals, and artists.


You’ll study the rich intellectual, artistic, religious, scientific, and political contributions that African, Black, and Brown people have made to the Americas and to Africa. You will delve into the contributions that Africans and African Americans have made to multiple fields, such as music, literature, film, history, politics, and art.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completing an African and Black American studies minor, you will be able to 

  • identify, define, and analyze a range of Black or African models of thought, being, and experiences across the United States, Africa, and/or the African Diaspora; 
  • describe and analyze the manifestations and consequences of racism and colonialism in the past and present, which have shaped the lives of people, regardless of racial, ethnic, and national background; and 
  • use theories of Black subjectivity to illuminate experiences in the world. 

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School


The wealth and breadth of material covered with a minor in African and Black American studies can lead to careers in the following fields.

  • Law
  • Policy making
  • Cultural studies
  • Entertainment
  • Fine arts
  • Sociology
  • Marketing
  • Literature
  • Government

The African and Black American Studies minor can also serve as a springboard to graduate degrees, professional schools, and other advanced training.

Research & Engagement

Pursuing scholarly activities as an undergraduate student will give you a head start on your career or graduate program, helping you advance professionally—before you graduate.


UMN Morris has a dynamic extracurricular student life. The Black Student Union and United Students for Africa provide opportunities for students to gather, share ideas, and have fun together while exploring topics related to the African and Black American studies minor.

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
  • Minor


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