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The Department of African and African American Studies offers Bachelor's degrees and a minor in African and African American Studies, as well as a graduate certificate program, in addition to serving all Indiana State University students in fulfillment of their university general education requirements. Degrees in African and African American Studies prepare students for professional careers in human services, education, law, business, community development and journalism. Additionally, course work prepares students for careers in the public sector, particularly urban institutions, as well as for leadership roles in intercultural relations and international affairs.

Apart from its full-time faculty, the department maintains strong relationships a number of affiliated faculty members from various departments, incorporating a wide array of interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches.

The Center for Afro-American Studies was established in 1972, and began granting degrees within the College of Arts and Sciences in 1979. The Center became the Department of Africana Studies in 1993, and the Department of African and African American Studies in 1999.