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African American Studies


Dr. Cornelius Bynum's research focuses on U.S. 20th century History, African American History, intersections of race and class and how they have affected African Americans' pursuit of full citizenship in the 20th century.

Majoring in African American Studies

The major in African American Studies focuses on the experience of African Americans and their connections to the African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America. Coursework addresses such topics as cultural practices, with reference to literature, history, and film, as well as inequality as it relates to issues of nationality, race, class, and gender. The African American Studies program is dedicated to engaging students on a global scale through various opportunities, such as study abroad, lecture series, and an annual symposium.  The major is often completed with a second liberal arts major such as English, history, communication, or sociology.  

Upon completion of the program, students majoring in African American Studies may choose to enter a field directly or indirectly-related to their studies. Possible careers include:

  • Business/Management 
  • Government/NGO/Non-profit employment
  • Attorney
  • Teacher/Professor
  • Graduate or professional school

Average Starting Salary: $42,041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Students majoring in the African American program develop skills that are applicable to many different careers.  The skills developed may include, but are not limited to:

  • A solid theoretical and research basis in which to pursue many different careers.
  • Ability to plan, execute, and disseminate research findings from different vantage points.
  • A global awareness of cultures and communities through the social and political relationships that shape the world.
  • Ability to be an effective member of multi-disciplinary teams with a keen awareness of the motivation of others.

Students majoring in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to:


  • Comfort Systems USA
  • Michigan City Area Schools
  • Purdue University Press
  • Zotec Partners

Graduate School

  • University of Hawaii - Manoa
  • Indiana University
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Purdue University

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