What can I do with a major in African Cultural Studies?

The short answer to this question is “anything you want.” African Cultural Studies (ACS) is a versatile area of study that can enhance your performance in any field of your choosing. The curriculum can easily be applied in a way that best suits your talents, interests, and career aspirations. In fact, the department’s coursework builds the critical thinking and communication skills needed to succeed in many careers, including those involving public service, law, business, education, museum or library studies, and medicine.

ACS students develop skills that become valuable attributes in a variety of careers, including:

  • Critical reading, reflection, and analysis
  • Expanded world view and exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking
  • Effective teamwork to advance a common project or purpose
  • Effective time-management and self-motivation to complete projects independently
  • Demonstrated writing proficiency in short & long essay format
  • Discussion and debate strategies
  • Proper research design and methodology
  • Broader knowledge of career and graduate-study options

One of the more significant skills ACS majors develop is language acquisition. Your study of African languages demonstrates your willingness to explore and expand your understanding of history, culture, and diverse perspectives. Not to mention the study of African languages shows discipline and perseverance.

Selecting to major in ACS is a great opportunity to join one of the language programs that gives UW-Madison its #1 ranking in the nation for non-English language studies.

Regardless of how you choose to apply your studies, you’ll have a wide variety of skills and talents to start you on the path to a rewarding career.

How has language study helped students with their career journey?

“We inherently put ourselves in places of familiarity and comfort, often never stepping outside of this. Swahili pushed me to exist outside the boundaries of familiar. And because of this, I saw the world in a new way and consequently saw myself in a new way.”
– Maria E.

I studied Yoruba to a high degree of proficiency through UW Language classes and an intensive year-long study abroad program in Nigeria, made possible by grants and programs from the Language Flagship and the Boren Scholarship. Learning Yoruba to a native proficiency literally changed my life, worldview, and has greatly shaped my path for the future. Learning another language is like discovering another version of yourself, and it is a key that opens many doors, particularly if you know a less-commonly-taught language from a part of the world that is critical to politics, business, or security.
– Kevin B.

“I could have never imagined the richness that studying a language and region would add to my biology curriculum and STEM background. I encountered so many incredible students, professors, and leaders within the African Cultural Studies department, and I have been introduced to so many opportunities because of my unique language background.”
– Jessica M.