About the Undergraduate Program:
The undergraduate program with the Department of Black Studies allows students to pursue the major or minor degree option. Both the major and minor degree path comprise of introductory and upper-division courses to complete (see major and minor requirements). Students that pursue a major or minor in Black Studies are given the opportunity to learn from top-tier faculty in subjects such as Black Cultural Studies, Social Justice, and Gender and Sexuality. In addition, Black Studies courses focus on the diaspora with introductory courses in African Studies and Caribbean Studies.
Black Studies major students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement within their Black Studies courses are eligible to participate in the Senior Honors Thesis Program. Students who successfully complete the Senior Honors Thesis Program earn Distinction in the Major, which is reflected on the formal degree awarded by the University.
*All Black Studies courses are offered on the letter-grade option only. The P/NP option is not available, not even by petition. This policy applies to all students, inlcuding non-majors and non-minors.*
A Message to UCSB Undergraduates:
Students considering a major or second major often ask faculty the following question: “What can I do with a Black Studies degree?” Our refrain is always the same, explaining that Black Studies is no different than other majors in that if a student does well, they will have numerous options upon graduating. Law School? Check. Graduate School? Check. Social justice organizations? Check. Non-profit organizations? Check. We have sent a number of students to top universities after graduating with a Black Studies degree: Law schools (Baylor Law School, Chapman School of Law, Harvard Law School, UC Berkeley School of Law; UCLA School of Law; UC Law San Francisco); Graduate schools (Arizona State University, Brown University, Cal Arts, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government-Harvard University, NYU, Penn State, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego, USC, UT-Austin). Black Studies graduates end up working in a number of industries, including the following: Arts and Cultural Production Fields (Dancing, Filmmaking, TV, Producing, Playwright, Novelist, Music), Attorney and Legal Field, Counseling, Environmental Justice Advocacy, Journalism and Media, Non-Profit Organizations, Politics, Primary School Teacher, Professor, Social Justice Organizations, Social Work.
What sets Black Studies apart in the Social Sciences Division in the College of Letters and Science is that we are a smaller department and therefore have the ability to give students the kind of attention that larger departments are less likely to do because of the sheer number of students matriculating in those majors. We also center social justice as well as intellectual rigor in our courses. For example, though the Black Lives Matter Movement began in 2013, Black people have made the case for recognizing black humanity for centuries, going all the way back to Maria Stewart, David Walker, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Anna Julia Cooper, and others, many whose names do not flank mainstream historical texts. The connections between the past, present, and future are real. If you are a curious and hardworking student searching for an interesting major with engaged faculty, Black Studies is the home you seek. We have published an undergraduate journal, the BLST Review, highlighting the outstanding work of graduating seniors in our Senior Thesis course. We embrace intersectional justice by examining how race, gender, sexuality, class, etc. shape Black lives. If you are interested in a social science degree within an interdisciplinary context, the Department of Black Studies has a great deal to offer.
Peruse our website. Reach out to the Undergraduate Advisor, Milla Wu, for more information about the Black Studies department, major, and/or minor. We look forward to helping you consider one of the most important and best decisions you will make as a student; one that will serve you well during your tenure at UC Santa Barbara, as well as after graduating with a degree in Black Studies from the College of Letters and Science, Social Sciences Division.