The field of ethnic studies focuses on exploring how race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality play a role in society now, as well as how they have affected the past. For students who are interested in this topic, they may want to consider pursuing a graduate degree in ethnic studies, which is offered at both the master's degree and Ph.D. level.
General Information About Graduate Programs in Ethnic Studies
At the graduate level, students can enroll in both master's degree programs and Ph.D. programs in ethnic studies. Master's degrees generally take two years to complete, while Ph.D. programs usually involve around two years of coursework with several additional years that entail teaching, research, and writing a dissertation. Below we will look at several courses that are common to many ethnic studies graduate degree programs.
Ethnic Studies Theory
In this introductory course, students will gain an understanding of the various theories that exist in the field of ethnic studies. This course may focus on the history and experiences of people of color in America and internationally, what problems have arisen in the past, and what kinds of issues are still present today. You may focus on a specific theory in ethnic studies, like feminism or various other social theories, or ethnic studies theory in a broader capacity.
Research Methods in Ethnic Studies
Programs in ethnic studies often include a course in research methods to prepare students to conduct their own research as well as critically analyze existing research. Students will learn about different research frameworks, different types of methodologies that can be used in the collection of data, and how to interpret findings and draw conclusions. In this field, research methods generally focus on the qualitative forms rather than quantitative.
In this course, students will learn about various social movements that have occurred during a nation's history. The course may focus on social movements that dealt with sexuality, race, gender, and class; what the goals of the movement were; and whether or not success was realized. This course may also focus on social issues at large and how social change occurs in a society.
Comparative Theory Studies and Methods
At the Ph.D. level, students may enroll in a comparative theory course, which will focus on understanding multiple theories in the world of ethnic studies, their premises, and how they differ from one another. From these courses, students gain an introductory level understanding on a plethora of relevant topics like ethnicity, race, sexuality and gender, thereby preparing them for more specific courses and research over the span of their program.
Independent Research Project/Thesis
A number of graduate level programs will either allow or require students to conduct their own research on a relevant ethnic studies topic of their choosing in order to write a thesis or final research paper. Usually a faculty advisor or committee will approve a student's research topic and assist them throughout their research and writing process.
Graduate Degree Programs in Ethnic Studies Admission Requirements
Students applying for admission into graduate level ethnic studies programs should be prepared to submit their undergraduate transcripts, a writing sample, a resume, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement to be considered. All applicants must also hold at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for master's or Ph.D. level programs, though some Ph.D. programs may also require a master's degree. Submitting GRE scores is usually not required, but some programs may encourage or require GRE results.