Ethnic Studies

College of Ethnic Studies
Dean: Tomás Almaguer
PSY 115
Director: Tomás Almaguer

Graduate Coordinator: James Okutsu


M.A. in Ethnic Studies

Program Scope

The Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies is designed to increase a student's knowledge and understanding of the experiences of people of color. The program provides training in techniques for the analysis of contemporary social problems which impinge on these experiences; and the program develops in the student a sound capacity to plan and evaluate policies aimed at the resolution of these problems. The focus is upon Asian Americans, African Americans, Raza, and American Indian people, cultures, and societies.

The program is designed to prepare individuals for advanced graduate work leading to the doctorate, for professional roles in teaching, research, and administration within both the public and private sectors. The theoretical and conceptual tools of several disciplines are critically utilized within the framework of a third world perspective. The program applies this approach to instruction, research, and community involvement. Interaction occurs with the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area communities of color and with students throughout the program.

Career Outlook

The Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies is designed to be a very versatile degree; one that is inclusive rather than exclusive of employment opportunities. These possibilities range from ethnic oriented teaching and research, or community and multicultural resource development to practical application in the business and technical fields. Program graduates are also eligible to apply for teaching positions at the California community colleges in ethnic studies and related fields.

The career outlook of graduates of this emerging field of study is very promising and reveals broad areas of employability. About half of the graduates proceed on to doctoral studies in a wide range of subject areas including ethnic studies, anthropology, sociology, American studies, health education, multicultural education, communication studies, and African American studies. Approximately one quarter have gone directly into teaching at the community colleges or four year institutions, and another quarter are in various fields including community research, K-12 teaching, and youth-related projects, for example.

San Francisco State University is the only higher education institution in the nation to offer the Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies. Thus, the campus is clearly in the forefront of colleges and universities in the area of ethnic and multicultural studies. Although the graduate program only has been in existence since 1988, alumni of the M.A. in Ethnic Studies have gone on to doctoral programs at such institutions as various University of California campuses, Temple University, the University of San Francisco, Stanford, Yale, Purdue, the University of Michigan, and Harvard, for example.


Admission to the Program

A student must meet the general university requirements, along with the College of Ethnic Studies requirements:

Applicants interested in the graduate program in ethnic studies must file a California State University graduate application with the university graduate admissions office. In addition, a separate program application form must be completed and returned to the Ethnic Studies graduate program office. Applicants must submit to the graduate coordinator of the College of Ethnic Studies (on behalf of the College of Ethnic Studies Graduate Admissions Committee) the following information:

Applications are accepted for fall semester admissions only. The application deadline is March 31. Contact the Ethnic Studies Graduate Office for program information and application form. A program application also is available at the College of Ethnic Studies web site:

A student who does not meet the program admission requirements may be admitted on a conditionally classified status (space permitting) whereby he/she would have to make-up deficiencies within a prescribed time period.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: this first level must be met through satisfactorily meeting the writing requirements in ETHS 710. Level Two: in addition, students must indicate a method of demonstrating their further competency in English at the time of filing the Graduate Approved Program. The latter assessment of competence is evidenced by the writing of a field study or a master's thesis.

Advancement to Candidacy

In addition to fulfilling all the university requirements, the student must file a Graduate Approved Program after having completed twenty-four units, but no more than twenty-four units, of work applicable to the M.A. in Ethnic Studies, with a grade point average of 3.0 or better. Before filing the Graduate Approved Program, the student must demonstrate proficiency in written English and complete any other program pre-candidacy requirements. The proposed course of study when approved by the dean of the Graduate Division means the student has been advanced to candidacy.

On-line course descriptions are available.

Program Units
ETHS 710 Theories and Concepts in Ethnic Studies 3
AIS 701 Seminar in American Indian Studies 3
AAS 710 Critical Approaches to Asian American Studies 3
BL S 705 Seminar in Africana (Black) Studies 3
RAZA 707 Seminar in La Raza Studies 3
ETHS 720 Research Methods in Ethnic Studies 3
ETHS 750 Community Practicum or 3
  ETHS 885   Graduate Projects in the Teaching of Ethnic Studies
ETHS 895 Field Study or 3
  ETHS 898   Thesis
Area Emphasis—units on advisement 6
Minimum total 30

Area Emphasis

Students are required to focus on an area of emphasis in Black Studies, Raza Studies, Asian American Studies, American Indian Studies, or Ethnic Studies. Courses selected to fulfill the emphasis will provide a student with the subject matter foundation to complete the culminating research project field study or thesis. Upon advisement, upper division/graduate course work in the College of Ethnic Studies and other departments on campus may be used.

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by