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International :01 Jan 

BA Africana Studies

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

3 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

46040 USD
46040 USD

Application fee

International 75 USD
National 75 USD
Department of Africana Studies
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600

World University Ranking

About this course

The Department of Africana Studies at Barnard was founded in 1992 as the site for the multidisciplinary study of Africa and the Black Diaspora. Through our course offerings and extra-curricular programming, Africana Studies offers the Barnard community exposure to the experiences of black peoples across the globe and the analytical tools necessary for rigorous and culturally sensitive analyses of these experiences. Faculty who teach in Africana Studies have research and teaching interests in the history of Africa and African descended peoples as well as on the impact of slavery, colonialism, and race and ethnicity in the modern world. Although our curriculum focuses on three major sites of the African Diaspora-Africa, the US and the Caribbean-- our comparative approach encompasses the African influences on and experiences of peoples of African descent throughout the world, including Europe and the Americas. We encourage study abroad: all of this year's seniors traveled or studied in the African continent. Alone among Africana programs, our major requires examination of both the global and the local; Barnard's unique location in New York City means that we include attention to Harlem, the geographic and imaginative meeting place for Black intellectual and political life for most of the twentieth century, in our program.

Our major includes the study of history, politics and cultures, literatures, and experiences of peoples of African origin in Africa and the African Diaspora. Through this course of study, students come to see the centrality of the black Diaspora in the development of the modern world. This multidisciplinary training involves not only a questioning of disciplinary boundaries, it also offers students the intellectual tools necessary to critique and correct the silences and distortions about black life that have been rife in traditional disciplinary structures. Our home in a premier college for women means that Africana Studies at Barnard is attuned to the necessity of intersectional analysis; that is the understanding of how gender, race, class, sexuality, region and other categories interact and transform each other in individual and group experience.

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Eligibility Criteria

The Committee on Admissions selects women of proven academic strength who exhibit intellectual voracity and strong potential for further scholarly growth. In addition to school records, recommendations, writing, and test scores, we carefully consider candidates' talents, abilities, interests, and personal history. While admission is highly selective, it is also holistic; no one criterion or score determines acceptance. We consider each applicant in terms of her personal qualities, her intellectual capacity, and the rigor of the curriculum she has pursued, as well as her potential for achieving at Barnard. We review each applicant in the context of her school, community, and individual story.

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Course Modules

The Africana Studies major requires ten courses, to be distributed as follows:


Two-semester sequence (preferably to be taken before the junior year)

AFRS BC 2004x Introduction to African Studies: An interdisciplinary and thematic approach to the study of Africa, moving from pre-colonial through colonial and post-colonial periods to contemporary Africa. Focus will be on its history, societal relations, politics and the arts. The objective is to provide a critical survey of the history as well as the continuing debates in African studies.
  - 3 points.

AFRS BC 2006y Introduction to the African Diaspora: An interdisciplinary and thematic approach to the African diaspora in the Americas: its motivations, dimensions, consequences, and the importance and stakes of its study. Beginning with the contacts between Africans and the Portuguese in the 15th century, this class will open up diverse paths of inquiry as students attempt to answer questions, clear up misconceptions, and challenge assumptions about the presence of Africans in the New World.
  - 3 points.


Each student must demonstrate proficiency in any of the languages of Africa or the diaspora (including Arabic, Dutch, English, French, Hausa, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili) by completing at least the fourth semester of that language, or its equivalent. This requirement is not in addition to the general foreign language requirement.


Each student will take a course on Harlem, chosen in consultation with her advisor, from among the offerings at Barnard or Columbia.


Each student will, with the approval of her advisor, select five electives. Of these five, one must be on Africa and one must concern issues of gender.


AFRS BC3110 (Section 1)  - Africana Colloquium: Critical Race Theory  or

AFRS BC3110 (Section 2) - Africana Colloquium: Diasporas of the Indian Ocean


Students will complete a one-semester program of interdisciplinary research in preparation of a senior essay.

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How to Apply

Submit all supporting materials

  • Request that all official high school and college transcripts be sent to Barnard College along with your high school's profile. Your guidance counselor will also need to submit the School Report.
  • Submit official standardized testing. For more information, please view
  • Submit Teacher Evaluation forms. We require letters from two teachers that taught you in core academic subjects (English, foreign language, history [social science], mathematics, or science) in your final two years of secondary school.
  • Your counselor will submit the mid-year report with your first semester senior grades by March 1st via the common application.
  • Submit TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable). In addition to SAT/ACT requirements, TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for students whose primary language is not English and who have not been enrolled in a school where English is the primary medium of instruction for four consecutive years

Optional Supplemental Materials

  • Students may choose to complete an on-campus or off-campus interview. For information on how and when to schedule an interview, please visit our admissions interview page. 
  • Students may choose to submit supplementary portfolios (art—including film, photo, drawing, painting, sculpture—music, dance, theatre, or creative writing) for review via Slideroom. 
    Please note: Supplementary material will not be reviewed by Barnard faculty, and unfortunately, during high volume periods, we cannot guarantee it will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. 

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