Department of Ethnic Studies


Major in Ethnic Studies

Ethnic studies is a compelling and dynamic discipline devoted to the critical examination of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and intersecting modes of inequality particularly as manifest in the experiences of historically marginalized populations. In the pursuit of social justice, it challenges dominant views of racial and ethnic groups that lead to inequalities while building on the critical studies of racialization and resistance with research and courses across a broad field including education, economic development, identity and empowerment, immigration, labor and employment, media, music, and popular culture, multiracial communities, sovereignty, transnational networks, voting rights, and political representation. Ethnic studies focuses on the roles and experiences of historically marginalized racial and ethnic populations with particular attention paid to African Americans/Blacks, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, Chicanas/os and Latinas/os, and American Indian/Native Americans within the framework of the United States and within transnational networks. Coursework also emphasizes the comparative interaction between various racial/ethnic groups and cross-national approaches to their histories, cultural productions, and socioeconomic and political experiences.
As an academic department, Ethnic Studies fosters interdisciplinary inquiry. The faculty comprise a community of experts of critical racial and ethnic studies, while serving as teachers, mentors, and role models for undergraduate students. The Ethnic Studies Department strives to make connections between University learning, racial and ethnic communities, and social change, and encourages a reflective engagement with society and a commitment to fashioning a more humane and just world. The Ethnic Studies Department serves as a resource for students, faculty, and staff across the University who are interested in examining race and ethnicity and its intersections with multiple modes of inequality including class, gender, citizenship, and nationality.
The department offers students the option to complete a major in ethnic studies (bachelor of science) or a minor in ethnic studies. Students who declared a companion major in ethnic studies prior to spring 2016 will be able to complete the companion major or switch to a stand alone major if they choose. The major provides students with advanced and concentrated training in racial and ethnic studies with coursework clustered in the upper division around six themes: Community Engagement and Social Movements; Race, Law, Politics, and Policy; Intersectionality and Hybridity; Inequality and Education; Immigration, Transnationalism, and Globalization; and Social and Cultural Analysis. Both the stand alone major and minor enhance a student's employment opportunities in business, community service work, education, law, medicine, social work, politics, and government. For those considering graduate school, the majors provide a foundation for graduate studies particularly for those who seek to become university professors and researchers with a specialization in a variety of issues and policies impacting U.S. racial and ethnic communities.


Requirements for the Major

In addition to fulfilling Undergraduate Core Curriculum, students pursuing the major in ethnic studies must complete the following requirements:

  • ETHN 5

  • Two courses from ETHN 10, 20, 30, 40, 80

  • One of the following breadth electives: ANTH 86, 90; DANC 62; ENGL 35, 35G, 36, 37, 38, 39, 69; ETHN 11, 12, 21, 22, 35, 36, 41, 50, 51, 55, 65, 69, 70, 75, 95, 96; MUSC 20; RSOC 91; THTR 14, 65

  • Six upper-division courses selected from at least four of the following six categories:

    • Community Engagement and Social Movements (ETHN 112, 122, 123, 125,132, 133, 142, 149, 153, 160, 163, 166, 171)

    • Race, Law, Politics and Policy (ETHN 120, 126, 127, 149, 153, 155, 178)

    • Intersectionality and Hybridity (ETHN 121, 129, 141, 151, 152, 154, 157, 163, 167)

    • Inequality and Education (ETHN 150, 157, 161, 167)

    • Immigration, Transnationalism, and Globalization (ETHN 112, 120, 126, 127, 170, 171, 172, 178)

    • Social and Cultural Analysis (ETHN 124, 128, 130, 132, 135, 136, 141, 144, 145, 160, 162, 164, 166, 172)

Note: No class can be used to fulfill more than one category.

  • An upper-division elective that may be completed within ethnic studies or from any other department or program

  • An upper-division seminar in theory and methods (ETHN 165 or 195)

  • A capstone project fulfilled through one of two options: (1) completion of ETHN 198, or (2) a research project completed in an upper-division ethnic studies seminar. In the first option, students will complete an applied research project through ETHN 198 that typically encompasses a community internship along with a weekly essay and final paper. The capstone provides opportunities for students to apply their understanding of methodology and specific methods to a project explicitly centered around critical racial and ethnic studies.