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Ethnic studies grew out of the civil rights movements and growing social consciousness of the 1960s. Ethnic studies majors take a multidisciplinary approach to studying the lives and experiences of groups originating from Africa, Asia, and the Americas. You’ll take classes in the social sciences to achieve a better understanding the socioeconomic, historical, and political context of people of color in the United States, as well as explore the subjective experiences of minority groups through literature and art. The objective is to heighten society’s awareness of the gifts, struggles, and needs of ethnic communities; the ultimate goal is to improve living conditions and balance social power.

Ethnic studies majors definitely develop and hone writing, researching, and critical thinking skills. Expect to undertake an independent project during senior year on a topic of your choice. If you focus on a community where English is a second language, you’ll learn to speak and write in that language.


  • Analysis and Video Production

  • Community Research in a Multicultural Context

  • Film-Video Images of Communities of Color:

  • History of Race and Ethnicity in Western North America

  • Introduction to Ethnic Studies

  • People of Mixed Race Descent

  • Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in the United States

  • Racialization and Empire

  • Social Science Methods

  • The Making of Multicultural America: A Comparative Historical Perspective

  • The Southern Border


To get ready for this major, focus on English and history classes. Taking three or four years of Spanish (or another language) would also be smart.