Pan-African Studies (PAS) encompasses the systematic investigation of the History, Culture, Social Relationships, Political Economy, Literature, Arts, and Languages of peoples of African descent and their contribution to world civilization. In order to give students a unique foundation for critical thinking and socio-cultural analysis, the curriculum combines in-depth and transnational approaches to the study of the Black experience. In particular, PAS places African American Studies in a larger comparative context of Africa and the African Diaspora—thus the name "Pan-African" Studies.
Although the African-American experience remains central to an understanding of the United States, teaching and research on the African Diaspora has come to include the study of peoples from every continent, language group, and religious faith, and especially Africans in the Americas. The goal of the curriculum is to allow for flexibility in required core and elective courses. This approach maximizes student ability to determine areas of emphasis and, with faculty advisement, to select a creative set of courses that expose majors and minors to the historical context, fundamental concepts, central issues, and methodological evolution of Pan-African Studies.
Upon successful completion of their course work, PAS majors gain a degree in African-American Studies. A minor in Pan-African Studies provides students with an emphasis on the Black experience that complements course work in other majors.