It’s an unfortunate fact: there has been a lot of downsizing within ethnic studies programs at universities throughout the nation, including in New York City. Slashes in funding and other considerations have meant that the City University of New York (CUNY), among other  institutions, has scaled back African and Diaspora Studies programs at many of the colleges within the system and this has left scores of students frustrated as they seek a way to study Africa and the Diaspora.

Enter the CUNY BA Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. This wonderful program, now in its 40th year allows motivated students to create and execute their own courses of study utilizing all the resources that CUNY has to offer. Participants in the program craft their own curriculum with the help of an advisor of their choosing and are able to take courses at any of the 11 senior colleges within CUNY. Students have completed majors as individualized as they are from Theater and Social Change, to The African Diaspora in the Americas, to Sustainable Engineering and alums of the program have gone on to acceptance into graduate programs at universities such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Cornell. One example close to home is Orisa CDC officer Funlayo E. Wood – a graduate of the program – who is now completing a doctorate in Harvard’s department of African and African American Studies.

For more on CUNY BA, visit their website at and check out this promotional video featuring our own Funlayo.

Return to Eriwo Ya! | December 2011 Issue