Africana Studies

(M.S. in Sociology)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

We assess the economic, legal, educational, social, and moral status of people of African descent as well as Africans on the continent and throughout the Diaspora.













Our Master’s Program in Africana Studies

Areas of high expertise include: criminology (e.g., studies of racial profiling and indigenous justice), health (focus on racial disparities and mental health), arts and politics (studies of hip hop subcultures and Black women’s contributions to theater and radical activism).

Why Study Sociology Here?

In addition to providing students an interdisciplinary environment, we support the research of scholar-activists, who connect with communities in need and provide research that can help them to shape policies and solve problems.

What You'll Study

Students work with a large, interdisciplinary faculty that includes about 30 tenure-track professors with PhDs in sociology, anthropology, English, history, and foreign languages. Students can also study with professors and instructors from other departments on campus who are affiliated with our department.

Careers of Program Graduates

Our master’s graduates have gone on to earn doctorates in sociology and related fields here at Virginia Tech and in universities around the world, or to direct and coordinate women’s centers, diversity programs, and research at such institutions as the Police Executive Research Forum in Washington DC, and the DisAbility Law Center of Virginia.

Professional Development & Research Support/Opportunities

Students and faculty members apply for grants to support our department’s many collaborative research projects. 

Our Faculty 

Research Interests

  • Race
  • Inequality
  • Identity
  • Education

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Research Interests

  • Film
  • Music
  • U.S. History
  • Dance

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Research Interests

  • African Western Metaphysics
  • Globalization and African Traditional Knowledges 
  • Critique of Development and Aid Industries


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Africana Studies Research Highlights

2014. "Indigenous European Justice and Other Indigenous Justices" in special issue on 'Indigenous Perspectives and Counter-Colonial Criminology', African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies, Vol.8, issue 1, pp 1-19. Special Issue partly in honor of 10th anniversary of my Counter-Colonial Criminology

Reed, W., Byrd, C., and Graves, E. “Class-Based Policies Are Not A Remedy for Racial Inequality.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, Diversity in Academe, September 25, 2011, B36-37. 

"Aesthetic or Movement? Fascism, Italian Neorealism, and Social Activism through Film" (with Thomas Ratliff), in Shawn Bingham, ed. The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social LIfe. (Lexington, 2012)

"Boats and Ships," in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, edited by Hans-Josef Klauck, Bernard McGinn, Choon-Leong Seow, Hermann Spieckermann, Barry Dov Walfish, and Eric J. Ziolkowski. (Walter de Gruyter, 2011)

Research Centers

Students interested in applying to the Africana Studies (M.S. in Sociology) degree should contact the program director, Shannon Bell, by email at or by phone at 540-231-4445.

Visit our office at 560 McBryde Hall, 225 Stanger Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Domestic Application

*Fall: August 1

International Application

*Fall: April 1

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding: January 15



Shannon Bell

Director of Graduate Studies

674 McBryde Hall


Tish Glosh

Graduate Coordinator

560 McBryde Hall


Department of Sociology

560 McBryde Hall (0137)

225 Stanger Street

Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: 540-231-8971