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Ethnic Studies Major

The B.A. in Ethnic Studies has received campus approval for implementation in Academic Year 2016-2017, but is pending official authorization by the Office of the Chancellor of the California State University.

Description of the Major in Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies is the study of the histories, experiences, cultures, and issues of racial-ethnic groups in the United States. As an interdisciplinary major, the B.A. in Ethnic Studies emphasizes the social and historical study of race and racism in the United States. The Ethnic Studies discipline is defined by its attention to the systemic power relations that arise from institutional, cultural, and global productions of “race.” Through the study of power-- and its linkages to race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality-- students gain an understanding of historical movements for social transformation, resistance, and liberation. While the main focus is on the experiences of racialized peoples in the United States, the program also understands that race and racism are not unique to the United States. Committed to scholarly excellence and intellectual rigor, Ethnic Studies contributes to global discourses regarding human freedom. The proposed program teaches students about the social dynamics of race, racism, structural violence, colonialism, legalized discrimination, assimilation, and the resulting impacts of such processes. Moreover, the program provides an in-depth understanding of our racial/ethnic diversity, indigenous and liberationist epistemologies, community and identity formation, artistic productions, and activism on the social, legal, and public policy front.

The major operates from a comparative approach. The Ethnic Studies core curriculum anchors students intellectually, theoretically, and methodologically. Augmenting the core, upper-division courses support the three themes of the curriculum: 1) Colonialism, Migration and Diasporas; 2) The State, Inequality and Resistance; and, 3) Identities and Representation. Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of ethnic studies via application in a capstone project and/or fieldwork opportunities in racial-ethnic communities.

Program Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs)

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies will be able to:

1.  Recognize and apply theoretical concepts.

2.  Identify social constructions of race.

3.  Identify historical racial-ethnic conflicts and the strategies used by members of diverse racial, ethnic, or national groups to secure justice.

4.  Discuss the production of and responses to social inequities and forms of discrimination experienced by racial and ethnic groups.

5.  Describe a cultural practice as a means to construct or sustain cultural identities.

Careers Opportunities

An Ethnic Studies degree provides students with theoretical understandings in racial and ethnic groups’ histories, experiences, and cultures that are organized by the themes structuring the major. The B.A. prepares students for a variety of occupations where knowledge and understanding of racial and ethnic groups is essential. These may include fields such as:

education; diversity training in the private sector; social services; immigrant rights activism; federal, state, tribal and local government and community service; public health education and policy; union organizing; natural resources development and technology transfer (practices, economics, and law in ethnic contexts); media, archival and museum studies; non-profit agencies; politics; and graduate studies or professional programs.

Degree Requirements 

Students must complete ETST 101 or its equivalent in advance of enrolling in the upper-division core courses. The design of the curriculum encourages students to complete the upper-division core courses, with the exception of the Senior Seminar, prior to registering for courses supporting the three themes. Completion of the major requires a minimum of 48-50 units.

Preparation for the Major

Lower-Division (3 units)

ETST 101                                                                      3

Major Requirements

Upper-Division Core (12 units)

ETST 301                                                                      3

ETST 310                                                                      3

ETST 320                                                                      3

ETST 400                                                                      3


Theme Coursework (27-29 units)


Complete three courses in each of the three themes.

Select two courses in each of the three themes based on the offerings.

Some courses may support one or more theme, those courses are identified

by an asterisk (**). In such cases, the course may only fulfill one theme.   

Colonialism, Migration and Diasporas (select three courses)                           9 units


BRS 300 (3)

ETST 420 (3)

HIST 334 (3)

HIST 337 (3)

HIST 345 (3)

HIST 346 (3)

HIST 347 (3)

HIST 350 (3)

HIST 371 (3)**

HIST 374 (3)

HIST 375 (3)**

HIST 381 (3)

HIST 382 (3)

HIST 383 (3)

LBST 375 (3)**

LTWR 345 (3)

LTWR 410 (3)**

LTWR 420 (3)**

MUSC 423 (3)

MUSC 425 (3)

PSCI 337 (3)

SOC 349 (3)

SOC 469 (2)


The State, Inequality and Resistance (select three courses)                             9 units

BRS 430 (3)

COMM 330 (3)

COMM 430 (3)

COMM 454 (3)

EDUC 364 (3)

ETST 420 (3)

HIST 335 (3)

HIST 338A (3)

HIST 352 (3)

HIST 371 (3)**

HIST 375 (3)**

ID 340 (3)

LBST 375 (3)**

LING 341 (3)

PSCI 305 (3)

PSCI 338 (3)

PSCI 341 (3)

PSCI 348 (3)

PSCI 361 (3)

PSYC 341 (3)

SOC 313 (4)

SOC 322 (4)**

SOC 339 (4)

SOC 373 (4)

SOC 442 (4)

SOC 449 (4)

SOC 463 (2)

SOC 465 (2)

TA 325 (3)**

TA 410 (3)

WMST 301 (3)

WMST 303 (3)


Identities and Representation (select three courses)                                        9 units


ANTH 200 (3)

ANTH 301 (3)

ANTH 325 (3)

COMM 410 (3)

COMM 455 (3)

COMM 485 (3)

DNCE/WMST 323 (3)

ETST 420 (3)

LING 371 (3)

LING 451 (3)

LTWR 334D (3)

LTWR 410 (3)**

LTWR 420 (3)**

LTWR 450 (3)

MLAN 331 (3)

MUSC 421 (3)

HIST 355 (3)

HIST 356 (3)

HIST 362 (3)

LING 305 (3)

LING 355 (3)

MUSC 427 (3)

SOC 322 (4)**

SOC 375 (3)

SOC 467 (3)

SPAN 350B (3)

TA 323 (3)**

TA 325 (3)

TA 421 (3)

VPA 311 (3)

VSAR 323 (3)


Upper-Division Electives

(6 units)

After completing the upper-division core, students are to select two additional courses from any of the three themes, which are not already used toward one of the themes. Students may also elect to complete an internship or independent study.