African Culture

Are you interested in peoples of the world, specifically African cultures? Interdisciplinary degree programs in this field are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A formal education in African culture can prepare you for various careers, so read on to learn more about employment and education options.

Are Studies in African Culture for Me?


Interdisciplinary degree programs in African culture generally focus on sub-Saharan Africa. Learning African languages is an important part of the curriculum. Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in African culture are offered at private and public colleges and universities.

If you graduate with a bachelor's degree in African culture, you could pursue a career in international relations or government. By obtaining a teaching certificate, you could seek a position as a secondary teacher. You may continue your education with a graduate program in African culture or a related discipline. Earning an advanced degree can qualify you for a job as a journalist, museum curator or postsecondary educator.

Employment Information

As a college professor, you could enjoy a flexible schedule with the majority of your time dedicated to lectures and research. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary teachers are expected to experience a 19% increase in employment between 2012 and 2022, with area, ethnic, and cultural studies professors seeing 16% growth during that same period ( In May 2013, the median annual wage for an area, ethnic and cultural studies postsecondary teacher was $66,770. The BLS predicts that employment of curators will increase 13% from 2012-2022. This job paid a median salary of $50,550 in 2013.

If you choose to work for the federal government, then you can expect to be paid based on a general schedule. As of 2014, the lowest annual salary on the pay scale was $17,981, and the highest was $130,810, per the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ( Salaries are based on level of experience and position within a government institution; the location you are assigned to can also affect your salary because some employees receive location pay, too.

How Can I Work in African Culture?

Undergraduate Education

Your bachelor's degree coursework will probably include general African history, music, art history, folklore, religion and philosophy. Literature from disciplines like anthropology and sociology are often incorporated into the curriculum. In addition, you might study one or more African languages, including Swahili, Zulu or Amharic.

A Bachelor of Arts degree program may allow you to choose a thematic emphasis. Options may include gender, class, a historical period, identities, diversity, aesthetics and diaspora studies. An African study abroad experience is offered by many programs, and students are encouraged to participate. Issues such as HIV/AIDS, public health and social justice are themes that can often be better explored overseas.

Graduate Education

As a graduate student, you'll focus on one or more areas within African culture. These might include the humanities, social sciences or development studies. Coursework usually includes further study of African indigenous languages, applied linguistics and research methodologies. Expect to examine the interrelations among religious, cultural, social, political and historical issues regarding Africa.

Some universities offer joint degree programs; for example, a school might offer a Master of Arts in African Studies with another professional degree such as a Master of Science in Library and Information Science. Writing a thesis is typically required to earn a master's degree, and a dissertation is the common graduation requirement at the doctoral level.

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