The Black Studies Department offers several options for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students. We also offer courses in the School of Gender, Race, and Nations graduate certificate program.


Black Studies B.A./B.S.

PSU’s Black Studies Major is an innovative, interdisciplinary program that focuses on the historical and contemporary issues of people of African, African American, Afro-Latin@ and Caribbean descent.  Students majoring in Black Studies will gain competency in project development, analysis, research, communication, cultural sensitivity, and interpersonal and community relations.


Black Studies Minor

The Black Studies Minor at PSU offers students opportunities to build a unique program of study drawing from courses on the African Diaspora. Students who opt for the minor find that it complements their major, particularly those majoring in social science, liberal studies, sociology, psychology, and history. Students majoring in child, youth and family studies and criminology and criminal justice may also find the minor degree useful for their future academic or career goals.


Black Studies Postbaccalaureate Certificate

Our postbaccalaureate certificate program is designed for people who have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and are interested in learning about Black Studies. Our program provides students with a broad knowledge base on the history, politics, and culture of people from Africa and the Diaspora of Africa in the United States, the Caribbean, and the Americas.


Why Black Studies at PSU?

Portland State University is one of the very few institutions of higher education in the Pacific Northwest that offers a degree in Black Studies.  Founded in 1970, Black Studies is a unique degree program because it covers Africa, the United States, the Caribbean, and South America on an equal basis.

Black Studies seeks to expose students from all cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds to academic information that goes beyond what is found in traditional college curricula.

Courses in Black Studies include historical and contemporary perspectives drawing upon scholarly research, films, community-based learning, and guest speakers. The recently revised course offerings also provide students with the opportunity to work on a final research project under the advisement of a department faculty member, engage in individualized internship opportunities, and participate in faculty-led study abroad programs.  Our department also strongly encourages students to undertake independent study to maximize their academic and research potential. 

Black Studies’ distinguished faculty specialize in various fields from psychology to history to urban development. Our faculty are committed to student success and dedicated to disseminating information that accurately reflects and explains the Black experience.  They also serve as a link between PSU and other university or educational and cultural institutions and communities through active collaborative partnerships and community service

The department offers a Black Bag Speaker Series that has been ongoing since 2006 and brings in a variety of speakers to inform and enlighten students and the community-at-large. 

PSU has a close, diverse community with active student groups, peer mentors and lots of activities and events, for example:

  • Association of African Students at PSU: A student group formed at PSU in the mid-seventies by African students. Since its formation, AAS has worked to bring Africans living in the Diaspora together with the larger PSU community. 

  • Black Student Union PSU: The BSU serves as a social, intellectual and political community for students of the African diaspora through education, organizing and action.

  • Pan-African Commons: A community space that reclaims African, Black American, Caribbean, Central/South American, and Black identities across the world. Their mission is to cultivate cultural, personal, academic, and professional development, and opportunities through programming and resources that foster empowerment, enrichment, and principled solidarity that advocates liberation among peoples in the African diaspora. 

Further Resources