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

In answer to this nerve-wracking question, ACS majors are often told “anything.” In fact, our coursework builds the critical thinking and communication skills needed to succeed in careers ranging from politics and education to business and law. But “anything” is a hard place to start a career search.

Think about what you’re learning in the classroom as well as what you’re doing each day to be a successful student; the skills you’re developing are equally important in the workplace:

  • Critical reading, reflection, and analysis
  • Proper research design and methodology
  • 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
  • Broader knowledge of career and graduate-study options

One of the more significant skills ACS majors are developing is language acquisition. Your study of African languages sets you apart and demonstrates your willingness to explore and expand your understanding of people, history, culture, politics, and so much more. Overall, 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.