The Ohio State University Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS) creates and disseminates knowledge and understanding about the peoples of Africa: their artistic productions and economic contribution; their shared and diverse histories, cultures, and languages; and, the impact of race, ethnicity, and gender in the construction of their identities within the United States, Africa and its Diaspora, and globally.

By the Numbers

  • Founded in 1969; AAAS is one of the first black studies departments in the nation
  • 18 tenure track faculty
  • 70 undergraduate students (majors and minors)
  • 6 MA students
  • 7 PhD students
  • 2 new minors launched in fall 2012
    Swahili language/culture and Somali language/culture

Degree Programs


BA, African American & African Studies


Master of Arts, African American & African Studies
PhD, African American and African Studies with three concentrations:

  • African American Studies
  • Comparative African Diaspora Studies
  • African Studies

The Community Extension Center

AAAS is the only department of black studies in the nation with a free-standing extension center. Located in the historic Mount Vernon area in near east Columbus, the Community Extension Center provides community outreach and education programs designed to enhance the educational opportunities of students and improve the quality of life for people who live and work in the neighborhoods near and around the center and Columbus’s urban communities.

AAAS Community Extension Center Offers ...

After School Science and Math Program

The extension center partners with OSU Medical Center (OSU East) to offer an after school program in math and science for students in grades 4-12. The program helps students develop competency in math and science, and strives to increase the applicant pool of students of color in math and science related careers.

Summer Enrichment Program

Designed to provide rising high school freshman and sophomore students an appreciation for African American cultural and historical study, as well as
computer instruction.

Senior Matinee

Nearby churches and senior centers transport senior citizens to the center for lunch, a speaker, and a film

Annual Veteran’s Day Celebration

Unique Points About the Department

The department publishes two academic journals:

  • Research in African Literatures
  • Spectrum, a new journal about black men

AAAS multidisciplinary curriculum includes the most extensive offering of African languages (Swahili, Zulu, Twi, Somali and Yoruba) found at any university in the U.S.

The department conducts two study abroad programs—one in Ghana and one in South Africa. It is also planning a new study abroad program to England to explore the Black British community there.