Morgan State University is adding a new degree minor as students are showing more interest in ethnic studies, according to announcement. 

To meet demand, the HBCU’s James H. Gilliam, Jr. College of Liberal Arts launched a degree minor in African American and African Diaspora Studies (AAAD) for undergraduate students. Students can add the new minor to their majors regardless of what they are already studying. The university is hoping this addition will strength and expand its African American and African Diaspora Studies program.

“The addition of the new interdisciplinary program in African American and African Diaspora Studies will afford Morgan students a holistic and intensive study of the far-reaching impact the diasporic populations of the African continent have contributed and continue to contribute to societies around the world,” said M’bare N’gom, dean of Morgan’s State’s College of Liberal Arts, in a statement. “Through this interdisciplinary program, MSU students will acquire cross-functional and transferable skills applicable in an array of professional fields and area studies,  from the humanities and social sciences, public health to public policy— within the U.S. and globally.”

The announcement states the AAAD minor will be comprised of 18 credits, plus the completion of a prerequisite course which will first be offered this spring. Interested students can add the minor during any year of their studies and they will be afforded the opportunity to engage in various research, networking and intercultural activities.

The addition of this minor is possible in part due to grant funding from the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Morgan State shared that the AAAD program and the new minor were in the works for more than two years before it was approved last Spring.

Herbert Brewer, assistant professor of History, Geography and Museum Studies and coordinator of the AAAD Program, said in a press release that the university is looking to expand the program to support a full major.

“We are fully committed to the AAAD program’s aptitude for scholarship, while also recognizing its responsibility beyond curriculum development as a catalyst for cultural and community engagement here in Baltimore,” Brewer said in a press release.