The Department of Pan-African Studies, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers an undergraduate major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Pan African Studies, and two minors, a minor in Pan African Studies, which covers the study of peoples of the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, with selected studies of Africa and other diasporic communities, or a minor in African Studies, which focuses on the study the African continent, with selected studies of diasporic communities of the past and in contemporary times. In each case, the curriculum addresses the topic of Pan African frameworks of reading history and culture. With an interdisciplinary approach, DPAS major and minor course sequences are structured to provide a grounded familiarity with topics of history, language, philosophy, education, literature, art, music, science, cultural anthropology , and sociology as they relate to peoples of African descent throughout the world. These courses also expose students to theoretical, practical, and domestic and national issues facing African-Americans, as well as peoples of the Caribbean and elsewhere. Students are encouraged to use their intellectual talents to bring about improved critical thinking skills, and to imagine what they may contribute towards better organization, healthier institutions, and general development within the African-American community. In 2011 the Department began discussions with the School of Public Health at Kent State to see in what ways they may collaborate in the near future. Likewise, the department has been working with the Departments of History, the Women's Studies Program, and the Jewish Studies Program on a variety of programs at the Kent State campus.
Students majoring in any field – from Business or Education to the Humanities and Fine and Professional Arts – are encouraged to consider Pan-African Studies as a minor. A minor in Pan-African Studies often enhances the employability of students who major in other fields. Such a degree infers that the student has considered some of the important questions and issues of the 20th and 21st century: the meaning of cultural and ethnic diversity in national, and international relations and development. As a case study, knowledge about the African American community helps build leaders for public and private initiatives in economic growth and social and physical health. For those who take the African Studies Minor, they will find themselves with a competitive advantage in the private sector, particularly in such areas as global health, agricultural processing, information technology, climate study, and mineral trades.
The PAS curriculum includes courses which cover a broad spectrum of the Pan-African experience. Its purpose is to provide students with basic information and questions that will lead to further research, study, and analysis. The curriculum seeks also to investigate African connections and influences among and with other ethnic groups in the United States and other parts of the Americas, whether Native North Americans and Latino communities in the U.S., or communities in Brazil, Haiti, etc. Students are encouraged to be active in student cultural associations on campus to compliment their academic learning experience, such as Black United Students (BUS), and SALSA (Hispanic students), KASA (Kent State African Student Association) ACK (Advocates for Culture and Knowledge, a multicultural organization) and MESA , for Middle Eastern students. Study in the Department of Pan African Studies is preparation for a global future with a cultivated understanding of local conditions and challenges. The Department is also a site of lively and empathetic engagement over issues of gender, pressures of LGBT identity in black communities, and other problems and opportunities facing young black men and women in the 21st century.