College of Ethnic Studies

In the fall of 1969 dedicated and concerned students, faculty, and community members established the College of Ethnic Studies. Faculty and students representing four major racial groups—African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific Islander, and Latino—laid the conceptual, institutional foundations for a unique educational program that redefined their particular cultures from their perspectives for the first time. The original four departments of American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Black Studies, and Raza Studies comprised the first College of Ethnic Studies in the nation. Since its founding, the College has expanded to include an additional department focusing on comparative ethnic studies called Race and Resistance Studies and programs in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas. Critical Mixed Race Studies, Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies, and Queer Ethnic Studies. In recent decades, Black Studies and Raza Studies changed their departmental names to Africana Studies and Latina/Latino Studies, respectively.

San Francisco State University's most recent accreditation report praised the College of Ethnic Studies as a national leader in the development of scholarship on race and ethnicity. It also recognized the important role the College plays in creating a campus that embraces racial difference and diversity.

The programs within the College of Ethnic Studies provide a unique educational experience by presenting a curriculum that places a strong emphasis on the historical and philosophical impact of African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific Islander, and Latina/Latino peoples and their many varied contributions to the history and culture of the United States.

Africana Studies majors and minors engage in an integrated liberal arts course of study on the history and development of the African American and global community. By offering a balanced and multidisciplinary curriculum, students will develop self-knowledge and critical skills that will assist them to serve as agents of social change in their communities. The American Indian Studies program offers coursework leading to a major and a minor designed to give students knowledge and understanding of the histories, cultures, and perspectives of traditional and contemporary Native American Indians. The Asian American Studies Department offers a major and minor for students who wish to pursue a comprehensive program of study on the Asian American experience. Requirements in Asian American history, literature and the arts, gender, and family and communities will provide students with a broad range of knowledge of the diverse Asian American population. Latina/Latino Studies majors and minors are exposed to classes that provide cultural, historical, and social knowledge relevant to the Latino/a experience. They provide students with a better understanding of Latino/a economic, cultural, and social heritage and prepares students for careers and professions requiring expertise on different aspects of the Latino/a experience. Race and Resistance Studies (RRS) provides students with a critical and comparative approach to the study of race, examining both how societal institutions—from education and healthcare to penal systems and popular culture—oppress diverse racialized communities and how these same communities engage in individual and collective forms of resistance in the pursuit of social justice. RRS produces cohorts of highly motivated, critical thinkers and socially engaged students—able to speak with informed insight to the complexities of interracial tension and possibilities for progressive cross-racial solidarities—and who will ultimately go on to occupy important positions in civic society, committing to a lifetime of learning from and organizing alongside disenfranchised communities of color in the US and abroad.

In addition to the five degree-granting departments of Africana Studies, American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, and Race and Resistance Studies, the College has developed an extensive college-wide curriculum designed to meet the needs of students who wish to complete their General Education. The courses also provide crucial content for teachers who will be teaching Ethnic Studies subjects in elementary, secondary, community, and college level institutions, as well as those who wish to gain a comparative understanding of people of color and their communities in business, social welfare, law, medicine, and the arts.

The Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies established in 1988, increases students' knowledge and understanding of communities of color through scholarly training in the analysis of historical and contemporary social issues. The program provides students with a sound capacity to plan and evaluate policies aimed at the resolution of racial and economic inequality. The curriculum focuses on African American, American Indian, Asian American, and Latina/Latino people, cultures, and societies. Theoretical and conceptual tools of numerous disciplines are critically utilized to assess the "Third World" experience. The program applies this approach to instruction, research, and community involvement in the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area communities of color and with students throughout the program. The program prepares individuals for advanced graduate work leading to the doctorate, for professional roles in teaching, research, and administration within both the public and private sectors. It is the only terminal master's degree program in ethnic studies in the nation.

The Master of Arts in Asian American Studies established in 1999, provides students with advanced, critical knowledge of the diverse Asian American population through disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiries and analyses of Asian American history, literature and the arts, gender, and family studies, as well as community studies.

The Certificate in Ethnic Studies, established in 2016, provides post-baccalaureate training on inequality, activism, and self-determination relevant to communities of color and indigenous peoples to empower professionals in social services, urban planning, public health, education, law enforcement, and related fields to better serve racially marginalized populations.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Arts

  • Africana Studies 22111
  • American Indian Studies 22121
  • Asian American Studies 22996
  • Latina/Latino Studies 22131
  • Race and Resistance Studies 22161
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Health 22991

Minor Programs

The college also offers the following minors which may be taken in conjunction with any major.

  • Africana Studies
  • American Indian Studies
  • Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies
  • Asian American Studies
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies
  • Critical Pacific Islands & Oceania Studies
  • Latina/Latino Studies
  • Queer and Trans Ethnic Studies
  • Race and Resistance Studies

Undergraduate Certificate

  • Conflict Resolution (offered jointly by the Colleges of Business, Ethnic Studies, Health & Social Sciences, and Liberal & Creative Arts)
  • Ethnic Studies Empowerment

Master of Arts

  • Asian American Studies 22996
  • Ethnic Studies 22991

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

  • Ethnic Studies

College Administrative Offices

Title Officer Office Telephone
Dean Dr. Grace Yoo EP 121 405-3765
Interim Associate Dean Dr. Mai-Nhung Le EP 121 338-1661

College Directory

Department/Program Chair/Director Office Telephone
Africana StudiesDr. Abul PitreEP 103338-2352
American Indian StudiesDr. Joanne BarkerEP 107338-1664
Asian American StudiesDr. Wesley UeuntenEP 107338-6161
Latina/Latino StudiesDr. Jeffrey Duncan-AndradeEP 103338-6160
Race and Resistance StudiesDr. Falu BakraniaEP 103405-0389
Ethnic Studies Graduate ProgramsDr. Katynka MartinezEP 416338-6804