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Traditional African dancing, Africana Studies graduates and students in a classroom


We bring the African continent and the African diaspora to an interdisciplinary major offered to students of all backgrounds


Until the late 1960s, higher-ed institutions across the U.S. didn’t teach much about the global African experience. The contributions made by people of African descent have gone largely unnoticed for decades. The history, art, culture and social sciences of the African diaspora have had a profound influence on today’s society, and we’re proud to have taught these subjects for nearly 50 years. 

MSU Denver’s Department of Africana Studies began in 1969 with the help of Wilton Flemon, Ph.D., and celebrated Professor Rachel B. Noel. Since then, our dedicated faculty has educated generations of students about the profound influence that people of African descent have had on civilization as well as the challenges black communities face throughout the world. As long as you’re committed to a high-quality education that focuses on social justice, equality and an improved society, the Department of Africana Studies will welcome you with open arms. 

To this day, we’re the only Africana Studies department in Colorado. Our students have ample opportunities for internships, leadership experiences and study-abroad programs to places such as Ethiopia. Our graduates leave the University with prolific intellectual and professional skills, representing us well in the public and private sectors as well as the postgraduate studies they pursue. 

Along with the degrees we offer, the Department of Africana Studies can fulfill your general-studies requirements. If you’re interested in learning how much there is to know about the global African experience, we’ll gladly teach you everything there is to know.

“It has been an eye-opening and extremely enlightening journey, which took me to new regions of the United States and Africa. The course showed me I can go anywhere and do anything. I learned so much about black culture around the world, but it also taught me so much about myself.”

Darius Carey

Scholarship Recipient

Career Prospects

Here’s where a B.A. in Africana Studies might take you:
Law, education, community work, human rights, journalism, social work and politics.

Ella Maria Ray_Africana Studies
She holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. She's also a ceramicist who is committed to the field of Africana Studies. Her work explores the relationship between Africana women’s literature and art as visual and textual analysis. Nationally, her work has been accepted into two peer-juried exhibitions: “Historical Antecedents” sponsored by The Myers Gallery at Muddy’s Studio in Santa Ana, Calif. and “A Show of Heads” at the Northwest Cultural Council.

Dr. Ella Maria Ray

Associate Professor

Our Program Options

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Contact Information



M-F 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Mailing Address:
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Africana Studies
Campus Box 17
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO. 80217-3362

Central Classroom 
Suite 304