In the U.S., Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary study of racial peoples worldwide in direct relation to their ethnicity. A degree in Ethnic Studies centers on the liberal arts/humanities aspect primarily because its creation was a response, in part, to charges that the other disciplines of the liberal arts/humanities degrees were imbued with perspectives that are inherently Eurocentric in nature.
An Ethnic Studies degree provides the student with a core curriculum that has been built on multidisciplinary and comparative studies of communities such as those of Asian-Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, Native Americans, and African-Americans. The degree requires courses in culture, history, sociology, and politics of Third World racial communities in the U.S. within the context of U.S. institutions and American society.
Although the course programs for an Ethnic Studies degree may vary from one institution to another, the skills taught in such programs have the same foundations in comparative analysis, critical thinking, communication, data analysis, and social theory. The emphasis of Ethnic Studies is on developing skills that are not only marketable but transferable in the diversifying and multicultural environment of the 21st century.
Ethnic Studies is one of those majors that may not correlate directly to specific jobs or occupations, but, as mentioned, the courses for the degree’s programs are transferable to a wide array of fields in distinguished careers such as education, public relations, social work, law, public health, counseling, medicine, journalism, and business, among others.
A degree in Ethnic Studies will equip the student with critical thinking, strong oral and written communication skills, cultural competency, knowledge on human behavior, leadership skills, understanding of social theory, critical analysis, and skills in analysis of racial impacts on public policy and law, team building, and social relationships in the context of race, economic, gender, and environment.
An Ethic Studies degree spans the humanities/liberal arts sphere and goes into the social sciences. Often, the graduate will obtain employment in urban and city planning and development, community development, environmental justice, education policy, nonprofit management, immigrant rights advocacy, museum curating, human resources, communications, public health, and legal advocacy, among others.
Schools That Offer Good Ethnic Studies Programs
An Ethnic Studies degree encourages the student to pursue further or advanced studies in education, law, social work, psychology, nonprofit administration, business, public administration, anthropology, creative writing, international relations, and higher education. Most colleges and universities now offer Ethnic Studies as a regular bachelor’s degree program rather than just an elective course.
Two Ivy League institutions – Columbia University in New York and Brown University in Providence – currently offer Ethnic Studies, although the student acceptance rate for both universities is only 10% (Columbia at 7.2% and Brown at 9.4%). The smaller St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania have higher acceptance rates at 59.2% and 65.9%, respectively.
Going farther into the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions of the U.S., Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder, Washington State University in Pullman have acceptance rates of 87.7% and 82.1%, respectively. It is heartening to know that the Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota has a hundred percent student acceptance rate for its Ethnic Studies degree program.