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Academic Program

Class taught by Cheryl Jones Walker

Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Professor of Sociology and Black Studies, in her office with students.

Course Minor

All interdisciplinary minors in Black Studies are required to take BLST 015: Introduction to Black Studies, ordinarily during their first two years,
and four additional courses listed in the catalog that earn Black Studies credit. Honors minors must complete a two-credit honors thesis as one of
these additional courses. Of these four additional courses, at least one of them must be outside of the departmental major, and no more than one
course may be taken outside of Swarthmore. To be accepted into the minor a GPA of 3.0 in Black Studies related courses will be required. We
strongly advise students to take a course in African or African diasporic history.


Honors Minor

Honors minors must meet all requirements of the course minor. Students participating in the Honors Program are invited to define a minor in the
Black Studies Program.  Honors minors in Black Studies must complete a two-credit preparation for their honors portfolio to be submitted to
external examiners. The following options apply:

  1. A two-credit honors thesis written under program supervision,
  2. A one credit thesis paired with a BLST course,
  3. A two-credit honors seminar that counts toward the BLST Program, or
  4. The pairing of two one-credit courses that count toward the BLST Program.


Requirements and Preparation for Honors Minors

The two-credit honors thesis must include work done for the interdisciplinary minor and should entail some unifying or integrative principle of
coherence. In addition, an honors thesis must also include substantial work (normally 50% or more), drawing on a discipline that is outside of the
student's major. The Black Studies Committee must approve the proposal for the 2-credit honors thesis, normally during the fall of the student's
senior year.

After consultation with the major department, minors may draw on these preparations to enhance or, where appropriate, to integrate their
completed or ongoing senior honors study for the major. Work in the Black Studies Program may be represented in the honors portfolio sent to
the external examiner by the inclusion of an essay designed to enhance and/or integrate work done in two or more courses, a revised and enriched
seminar paper or a term paper from a Black Studies Program course, a video or audio tape of a creative performance activity in dance or music, or
other approved creative work.


Special Major

Students preferring more intensive work in Black Studies are welcome to design a special major by consulting with the program's coordinator,
usually during sophomore year. The special major includes the requirements for the minor plus 5 additional credits, one of which usually includes
a cap stone experience to be decided upon in consultation with the program's coordinator. Forms for the Special Major are available from the
Registrar's Office and should be filed with the program coordinator and the Registrar's Office.


Thesis / Culminating Exercise

Students may complete a one-credit course thesis (BLST 091) as part of the Black Studies minor or special major.  Permission will be granted
only after consultation with the Black Studies coordinator and committee.  Approval must be secured by the spring of junior year.


Application Process Notes for the Major or the Minor

Students in any department may add an interdisciplinary minor in Black Studies to their departmental major by fulfilling the requirements stated
subsequently. Applications for admission to the interdisciplinary minor should be made in the spring semester of the sophomore year through
MySwarthmore. 


Life After Swarthmore

Students with a background in Black Studies have pursued a number of paths after graduation. Some have worked in research, or social service
organizations, while others have gone directly to graduate school. Many eventually become teachers or professors. Others work in the
broadcasting, arts, journalism, international law, business, finance, or in non-governmental organizations. All consider black studies to have been
an important part of their liberal arts education.