Jun 15, 2024  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Ethnic Studies, B.A.

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Ethnic Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences Building, Fourth Floor


(760) 750-4154

Program Coordinators:

Jule Gómez de García, Ph.D.
Michelle A. Holling, Ph. D.
Laurette McGuire, Ph.D. (contact person)
Dreama Moon, Ph.D.

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Program of Study

The Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies focuses on the study of the histories, experiences, cultures, and issues of racial-ethnic groups in the United States. The B.A. degree emphasizes the social and historical study of race and racism in the United States and explores systemic power relations that arise from institutional, cultural, and global productions of “race.” In this major, students gain both breadth and depth of study. Through the three thematic areas, students will engage a variety of issues that cut across various racial/ethnic communities. In so doing, students obtain insight on how issues play out both similarly and uniquely within and across racial/ethnic communities. In addition, students acquire deeper understanding of a specific historically marginalized community in the United States and/or of a thematic area by focusing electives in a particular area. The degree is structured in three themes:

Colonialism, Migration and Diasporas: This theme examines colonialism in domestic and/or international contexts, and the waves of (im)migration and resulting diasporas produced from exile. Students explore the political, economic, cultural and/or social forces that produce unequal relations (e.g., colonizer/colonized, propertied or dominant/dispossessed, and citizen/immigrant). Also considered are affected racial-ethnic communities’ responses to colonization or (im)migration.

The State, Inequality and Resistance: This theme explores the ways that the nation-state deploys power that unfairly and inequitably impact racial-ethnic relations, individual or cultural identities, and opportunities for advancement. Students examine institutional systems, discourses, and/or mechanisms of the state (e.g., legal, political, educational, criminal justice, bureaus and reservations, segregation and/or policies) that seek to control and contain populations. Along with the forms of resistance aggrieved groups undertake to challenge, resist and self-empower, consequences such as discrimination and inequalities produced by the state are considered.

Identities and Representation: This theme focuses on questions of identity, its construction for and by historically marginalized populations, and how representations and cultural practices are means to construct or sustain empowering and affirming cultural identities. Students will study modes of representation (e.g., media, artistic, or performative) adopted or created by marginalized groups as well as dominant representations of racial-ethnic communities.

Students’ required capstone projects must demonstrate proficiency in a selected theme (Colonialism, Migration and Diasporas; The State, Inequality and Resistance; or Identities and Representation). In so doing, students obtain insight on how issues play out both similarly and uniquely within and across racial/ethnic communities. Students acquire deeper understanding of a specific historically marginalized community in the United States and/or of a thematic area by focusing electives in a particular area. The capstone projects provide students a chance to demonstrate thematic depth and breadth of understanding and provides faculty an opportunity to assess program learning outcomes.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

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.

Career 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.

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies

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.

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.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Major

Lower-Division (3 Units)

Language Proficiency (0-9 Units)

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  .

Breadth Requirement (3 Units)

Additional course in Upper Division Social Sciences (DD designated) outside the major. This requirement can also count as the DD requirement in Upper Division General Education, but it must be taken in a Social Science or Interdisciplinary program other than Ethnic Studies. Any course carrying the DD designation outside of Ethnic Studies can be used to fulfill this requirement. If students choose to satisfy their UDGE DD with a course outside the major, the breadth requirement will become 3 free elective units.

Major Requirements (48-50 Units)

Theme Coursework (27-29 Units)

Complete three courses in each of the three themes.

Select three courses in each of the three themes based on the offerings. Some courses may support one or more themes. Those courses are identified by an asterisk (**). In such cases, the course may fulfill only one theme.

The State, Inequality and Resistance (select three courses) 7-9 units

Identities and Representation (select three courses) 9-10 units

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.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total number of units to a minimum of 120

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