Ethnic Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The major in Ethnic Studies  provides a core curriculum designed to develop a comparative and multidisciplinary understanding of the experiences and communities of African Americans, Asian Americans, Chicano/Latinos, and Native Americans.

Students majoring in Ethnic Studies study the history, culture, politics, and sociology of Third World communities in the United States within the general context of American society and institutions. Thus, they pursue knowledge vital for a critical understanding of contemporary society and for social changes to improve the lives and communities of racial minorities. Ethnic Studies majors also prepare themselves for advanced graduate study in either academic or professional fields.

Honors Program

The Ethnic Studies program provides a program leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree with honors. A student must have senior standing; a 3.5 GPA overall; and 3.5 GPA in the major. To complete the degree with honors, the student will be required to undertake a 6-unit research project (ETH STD H196A and ETH STD H196B) and will be graded according to standards determined by the faculty adviser as being of honors quality.

Minor Program

The department offers a minor in Ethnic Studies. For further information regarding declaring the minor, please see the department's website.

Other Majors and Minors Offered by the Department of Ethnic Studies

Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies (Major and Minor)
Chicano Studies (Major and Minor)
Native American Studies (Major and Minor)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Lower Division Major Requirements

ETH STD 10ACA History of Race and Ethnicity in Western North America, 1598-Present4
ETH STD 11ACTheories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies An Introduction4
Two lower division electives selected from: African American Studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Chicano Studies, Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, or an ethnic studies-related course from another department (e.g., English, Gender and Women's Studies, Geography, Sociology)

Upper Division Major Requirements 

ETH STD 101ASocial Science Methods in Ethnic Studies4
ETH STD 101BHumanities Methods in Ethnic Studies4
ETH STD 190Advanced Seminar in Comparative Ethnic Studies4
Select two of the following:
Comparative Ethnic Literature in America [4]
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization and Empire [4]
ETH STD 103BProseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Ethnicity and the Narrative4
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization and Contemporary Communities [4]
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization, Gender, and Popular Culture [4]
Ethnicity and Race in Contemporary American Films [4]
Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality [4]
The Making of Multicultural America: A Comparative Historical Perspective [4]
Contemporary U.S. Immigration [4]
Immigrant Women [4]
Racial Politics in America [4]
Racism and the U.S. Law: Historical Treatment of Peoples of Color [4]
Religion and Ethnicity [4]
Women of Color in the United States [4]
People of Mixed Racial Descent [4]
The Southern Border [4]
Indigenous Peoples in Global Inequality [4]
Existential Panic in American Ethnic Literature [4]
Literature from Ethnic Movements [4]
Against the Grain: Ethnic American Art and Artists [4]
Selected Topics in Comparative Ethnic Studies [1-4]
ETH STD 180LSelected Topics in Race and the Law3
Selected Topics in Comparative Ethnic Studies - Study Abroad [6]
Prison [4]
Race, Rights, and Citizenship [4]
Advanced Seminar in Comparative Ethnic Studies [4]
Advanced Seminar in Ethnic Studies [3-4]
Two additional upper division elective courses, selected from: African American Studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Chicano Studies, Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, ethnic studies-related courses from other departments, or approved EAP courses. Electives do not have to be selected from the same program/department.
ETH STD 197Field Study in Communities of Color (4 units total)1-3
Total Units20-22

Minor Requirements

Students who have a strong interest in an area of study outside their major often decide to complete a minor program. These programs have set requirements and are noted officially on the transcript in the memoranda section, but they are not noted on diplomas.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements below must be taken for graded credit.
  2. A minimum of three of the upper division courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements must be completed at UC Berkeley.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 is required for courses used to fulfill the minor requirements.
  4. Courses used to fulfill the minor requirements may be applied toward the Seven-Course Breadth requirement, for Letters & Science students.
  5. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  6. All minor requirements must be completed prior to the last day of finals during the semester in which you plan to graduate. If you cannot finish all courses required for the minor by that time, please see a College of Letters & Science adviser.
  7. All minor requirements must be completed within the unit ceiling. (For further information regarding the unit ceiling, please see the College Requirements tab.)

Requirements

Five courses

Upper Division
Select three of the following:
Comparative Ethnic Literature in America [4]
Social Science Methods in Ethnic Studies [4]
Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies [4]
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization and Empire [4]
ETH STD 103BProseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Ethnicity and the Narrative4
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization and Contemporary Communities [4]
Proseminar: Issues in the Fields of Ethnic Studies: Racialization, Gender, and Popular Culture [4]
Ethnicity and Race in Contemporary American Films [4]
Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality [4]
The Making of Multicultural America: A Comparative Historical Perspective [4]
Contemporary U.S. Immigration [4]
Immigrant Women [4]
Racial Politics in America [4]
Racism and the U.S. Law: Historical Treatment of Peoples of Color [4]
Religion and Ethnicity [4]
Women of Color in the United States [4]
People of Mixed Racial Descent [4]
The Southern Border [4]
Indigenous Peoples in Global Inequality [4]
Existential Panic in American Ethnic Literature [4]
Literature from Ethnic Movements [4]
Against the Grain: Ethnic American Art and Artists [4]
Selected Topics in Comparative Ethnic Studies [1-4]
Selected Topics in Comparative Ethnic Studies - Study Abroad [6]
Prison [4]
Race, Rights, and Citizenship [4]
Advanced Seminar in Comparative Ethnic Studies [4]
Advanced Seminar in Ethnic Studies [3-4]
Two additional elective courses, selected from: African American Studies, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Chicano Studies, Ethnic Studies, Native American Studies, ethnic studies-related courses from other departments, or approved EAP courses. Both courses do not have to be selected from the same department/program.

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Mission

The Ethnic studies major provides a core curriculum designed to develop a comparative and multidisciplinary understanding of racialized communities in the modern world, with an emphasis on the history and contemporary forms of modern colonization and racial slavery, as well as the multiple responses, unearthed histories, and alternative practices, theories, and imaginaries found in communities of color, their artists, theoreticians, activists, and intellectuals. It is different from the other majors offered in the Department of Ethnic Studies in that it is specifically comparative and aims to provide students the possibility of focusing on one or more issues, problems, intellectual approaches, or themes and exploring them in relation to two or more ethno-racial groups nationally or internationally. Most central among these issues and themes stand sexuality, gender, migration, policy, education, literature, culture, spirituality, religion, comparative racial formations, and law. They are often connected with different histories of colonization, segregation, slavery, genocide, persecution, internment, and other forms of systematic dehumanization, on the one hand, and with struggles for social justice, liberation, and decolonization on the other.

Learning Goals for the Major

Undergraduates are expected to obtain the following skills by the time they graduate. These skills belong to five different general areas: historical knowledge, empirical knowledge and quantitative methods, interpretation and qualitative analysis, theory and critique, and community service. They are:

  1. Historical Knowledge
    • Familiarity with the history of modern Western civilization, including European expansion, conquest, and enslavement.
    • Specific knowledge of the modern history of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
    • Acquaintance with debates in historiography, particularly as they relate to the use of history in relation to the understanding of people of color.
    • For students who specialize in history, proper use of primary and secondary historical sources, as well as the writing of scholarly historical work.
  2. Empirical Knowledge and Quantitative Methods
    • Familiarity with different methods of gathering empirical data about human communities (anthropological, sociological, etc.).
    • Knowledge of critical debates about the use and implications of traditional methods of gathering empirical data to obtain knowledge about communities of color.
    • Identification of proper methods to conduct research and awareness of the limits and possibilities of such methods.
    • Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of empirical and quantitative study based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
  3. Interpretation and Qualitative Analysis
    • Acquaintance with major methods and debates in the humanities.
    • Familiarity with the art, film, literature, or music of at least three different ethno-racial groups.
    • Identification of proper methods to conduct research about the creative products of human communities, and ethno-racial communities in particular.
    • Creative use, delimitation, and expansion of methods of qualitative analysis based on the nature of the problems and questions addressed in the research as well as the object of study.
  4. Theory and Critique
    • Familiarity with major theories of race and ethnicity and their intersections and constitutive relations with class, gender, and sexuality.
    • Acquaintance with theories of space and place, including indigeneity, diaspora, migration, and nation, as well as their use in determining the unit of analysis.
    • Use of comparison and contrast for evaluating and producing theory as well as for critical analysis.
    • Creative use of philosophies and theories that are relevant to the understanding and critical analysis of the social contexts, interpersonal dynamics, and multiple creative productions of ethno-racial communities.
  5. Community Service
    • Further refinement and enrichment of the above listed skills in settings where the students interact with communities of color and/or their productions.

Advising

Departmental Major Advising

The department strives to deliver personalized advising services of the highest quality by seeking to continuously educate themselves on developments in the ethnic studies field and to evaluate, improve, and streamline their services to support students in obtaining the best education and experience possible.

Advising Staff and Advising Hours

Dewey St. Germaine: Monday through Friday, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m., or by appointment
deweystg@berkeley.edu
530 Barrows Hall
510-643-6420

Laura Jimenez-Olvera: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m., and Friday, 1:30 to 5 p.m., or by appointment
lauraj@berkeley.edu
532 Barrows Hall
510-642-0243

Mailing Address

Department of Ethnic Studies
506 Barrows Hall
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-2570

Academic Opportunities

Berkeley Connect in Ethnic Studies

Berkeley Connect in Ethnic Studies matches interested students with ethnic studies graduate student mentors in a semester-long, 1-unit program that includes individual advising, small-group discussions, special events and excursions. Through this program, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect helps students make the most of their time at the University as they learn more about the majors offered through the Department of Ethnic Studies. For further information, please see the Berkeley Connect website.

Study Abroad

The ethnic studies program encourages all undergraduate majors to consider study abroad opportunities. Whether students are interested in fulfilling major and/or general education requirements, taking courses related to a future career, improving or learning language skills, or simply living and studying in a country that is of interest to them, the program will work with students to make it happen. For information about study abroad programs, please see the Berkeley Study Abroad website.

Prizes and Awards

The Department of Ethnic Studies offers the Dr. Carlos Munoz Jr. Scholar/Activist Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded each spring semester and recognizes students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, leadership and activism in their community on and off campus.

Courses

Ethnic Studies

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Thomas J. Biolsi, Professor. Native Americans, American Indians, governmentality.
Research Profile

Carolyn Chen, Associate Professor. Religion, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration.

Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor. Asian American history, Filipino American studies, immigration history, adoption studies, nursing history.
Research Profile

Raul Coronado, Associate Professor. The comparative history of writing in the colonial and 19th century Americas; Latina/o intellectual & literary history; theories of modernity & postcolonialism; histories of sexuality & of the academic disciplines.

Keith Feldman, Assistant Professor. Critical theory, US cultural studies, Israel-Palestine, theories of race and ethnicity, comparative diaspora studies, public humanities.
Research Profile

Ramon Grosfoguel, Associate Professor. Global cities, international migration, ethnic studies, race/ethnicity, latino studies, Caribbean Studies, Latin American Studies, international comparative development, political-economy of the world-systems, urban sociology.
Research Profile

Shari Huhndorf, Professor. Interdisciplinary Native American studies, cultural studies, gender studies, American studies, literary and visual culture.
Research Profile

+ Michael Omi, Associate Professor. Racial politics, racial theory, racial stratification, racial and ethnic categories and the US Census, racist and anti-racist social movements.
Research Profile

Christian Paiz, Assistant Professor. Comparative Latino Studies, United States History, Social Movement History, Historical Methods.

Laura E. Perez, Professor. Chicano studies, US Latina and Latin American women's writing, Chicana/o literature, visual arts, contemporary cultural theory, Latin American women's oppositional writings.
Research Profile

Beth Piatote, Associate Professor. Native American literature, history, law and culture; Native American/Aboriginal literature and federal Indian law in the United States and Canada; American literature and cultural studies; Ni:mi:pu: (Nez Perce) language and literature.
Research Profile

John Powell, Professor Emeritus. Civil rights and civil liberties, structural racialization, racial justice and regionalism, concentrated poverty and urban sprawl, opportunity based housing, voting rights, affirmative action in the United States, South Africa and Brazil, racial and ethnic identity, spirituality and social justice, and the needs of citizens in a democratic society.
Research Profile

Lok Siu, Associate Professor. Transnationalism; Migration; Cultural Citizenship; Un/Belonging; Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Formation; Asians in the Americas; Cultural Politics of Food; Ethnography.

Raymond Telles, Associate Adjunct Professor. .

Khatharya Um, Associate Professor. Education, memory, Southeast Asian Studies, Asian American histories and communities, Southeast Asian diaspora, refugees, international migration, transnational and diaspora studies, genocide studies.
Research Profile

Chris Zepeda-Millan, Assistant Professor. Immigration, social movements, race, ethnic studies, Latino Politics, research methods.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Hatem A. Bazian, Lecturer. Near Eastern studies.
Research Profile

Francisco Casique, Lecturer.

Gregory P. Choy, Lecturer.

Christopher Chua, Lecturer.

Harvey C. Dong, Lecturer.

Pablo Gonzalez, Lecturer.

Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Lecturer.

Anna P. Leong, Lecturer.

Enrique E. Lima, Lecturer.

Hannah B. Michell, Lecturer.

Joseph A. Myers, Lecturer.

Fae M. Ng, Lecturer.

Diane J. Pearson, Lecturer.

Victoria E. Robinson, Lecturer.

Celia H. Rodriguez, Lecturer.

Jane K. Singh, Lecturer.

Winston Tseng, Lecturer.

Keiko Yamanaka, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Norma Alarcon, Professor Emeritus.

Robert Allen, Professor Emeritus.

Mario Barrera, Professor Emeritus. Theories of ethnicity, ethnic minority films.
Research Profile

Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Professor Emeritus. Labor, citizenship, undocumented students, caring work, settler colonialism, skin color bias.
Research Profile

Patricia Penn Hilden, Professor Emeritus. Ethnicity, gender, museums, race, North America, Native Americans, slavery in the Caribbean, feminist studies.
Research Profile

Elaine H. Kim, Professor Emeritus. Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies.
Research Profile

Beatriz Manz, Professor Emeritus. Latin America, human rights, peasantry, migrations, social movements, political conflict, Mayan communities in Guatemala, issues of memory, grief.
Research Profile

David Montejano, Professor Emeritus. Social change, historical sociology, political sociology, community studies, race and ethnic relations.
Research Profile

Carlos Jr. Munoz, Professor Emeritus. Immigration, Mexican American politics, ethnic and racial politics, multiculturalism, affirmative action.
Research Profile

Jose D. Saldivar, Professor Emeritus.

Alex M. Saragoza, Professor Emeritus. Ideology, modern Mexico, Latin American history, structural origins of Mexican migration, cultural formations in Mexico, Mexican cinema, radio, television.
Research Profile

L. Ling-Chi Wang, Professor Emeritus.

Sau-Ling Cynthia Wong, Professor Emeritus. Ethnicity, sexuality, telecommunications, Asian Americans, demographic transformation, fragmentation, globalization, transportation, internet technology, international conference, construction of gender.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Ethnic Studies

506 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-0796

Fax: 510-642-6456

ethnicst@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Catherine Ceniza Choy, PhD

506 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-0796

ceniza@berkeley.edu

Academic Adviser

Laura Jimenez-Olvera

532 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-642-0243

lauraj@berkeley.edu

Academic Adviser

Dewey St. Germaine

530 Barrows Hall

Phone: 510-643-6420

deweystg@berkeley.edu

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