The primary mission of the Department of Africana Studies is to educate Rutgers University students, residents of the state of New Jersey, and people throughout the world about the unique history, culture, contributions, and experiences of Africans and people of African descent throughout the world.  The department encourages and promotes exceptional teaching, scholarship, and research. The education presented in the department is intended to be systematic, rigorous, and comprehensive.

The department is committed to serving an undergraduate population that is preparing for graduate study and research in traditional and interdisciplinary disciplines as well as for those students preparing to pursue careers in public or private sector professions like teaching, social work, criminal justice, policy, management, administration, and law.

In order to achieve its goal, the department offers experiences in the classroom and beyond that focus on topics and issues of particular importance to those interested in developing a broad, cohesive body of knowledge about black communities throughout the world.

The expertise of faculty in the department and affiliate faculty includes history, literature, sociology, political science, media studies, women and gender studies, and Caribbean studies.