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 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 have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of ethnic studies via application in a capstone project and/or fieldwork opportunities in racial-ethnic communities.
Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies will be able to:
Recognize and apply theoretical concepts.
Identify social constructions of race.
Identify historical racial-ethnic conflicts and the strategies used by members of diverse racial, ethnic, or national groups to secure justice.
Discuss the production of and responses to social inequities and forms of discrimination experienced by racial and ethnic groups.
Describe a cultural practice as a means to construct or sustain cultural identities.
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:
diversity training in the private sector
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
and graduate studies or professional programs
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.
All courses taken for the major must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better.
The Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies maintains the same general Undergraduate Admission and Graduation Requirements and/or Transfer Policies/Requirements described in California State University San Marcos’ catalog.
A minimum of eighteen (18) units of upper-division credits must be earned at CSUSM. No more than three (3) hours of independent study and/or internship may be applied toward the major.
All Ethnic Studies majors must meet a second-language proficiency requirement. This is satisfied with a 200-level class or demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English. For details on how to satisfy this requirement, please refer to Language Proficiency Requirement .
*ETST 420 - Special Topics in Ethnic Studies may be repeated as topics change for a total of nine (9) units. May count toward different themes depending on topic. Students should check the Class Schedule for a listing of current topics.