American Studies

Ethnic Studies Concentration Requirements

The Ethnic Studies undergraduate concentration is based in the Department of American Studies and requires 10 courses (or 12 courses if pursuing Honors).

Summary of requirements:

  1. ETHN 1000 “Introduction to American/Ethnic Studies”
  2. Any two courses from the ETHN 1200 “Topics in Ethnic Studies” or ETHN 1750 “Advanced Topics in Ethnic Studies” sequence, or similar electives listed under AMST (with approval from the concentration advisor).
  3. Five additional courses that address the student’s focus area and that prepare them for the capstone experience.
    • At least two of the five focus area courses must be listed under ETHN and cannot be independent studies. Any non-ETHN courses must be approved by the concentration advisor (see below under Outside Courses).
    • Up to two AMST or ETHN courses below the 1000-level may count toward the focus area (for instance, a first-year seminar and a sophomore seminar).
    • Up to one of the focus area courses may be a Department Independent Study Project (DISP). The DISP must be undertaken with Ethnic Studies core faculty (see the faculty listed with Ethnic Studies affliation here) and offered under an ETHN course number. Please consult the guidelines for designing a DISP. A Department Independent Study Project Form and a draft syllabus will be due to the concentration advisor no later than two weeks into the semester the DISP takes place.
    • If you intend to pursue honors, one of the focus area courses should be the AMST 1800 Honors Seminar (taken during the junior year)
  4. An AMST 1700 Junior Seminar. Courses in this series focus on some aspect of the "public" as a way of engaging with communities near and far. American Studies and Ethnic Studies juniors take this course together.
  5. ETHN 1900 "Senior Seminar in Ethnic Studies". In this spring semester course, senior concentrators collectively reflect on their experience in the concentration and the current state of the field, while also designing/completing a senior capstone project (or completing the honors thesis, if pursuing honors).
  6. Methods courses: Two of your ten courses must be AMST or ETHN courses that have been tagged with a specific scholarly method. Each class must be tagged with a different method. These methods-tagged courses can also count for any other concentration requirement (for instance, your Junior Seminar course might carry a methods tag, depending on the topic and instructor). The concentration advisor will have a current list of methods-tagged courses.

Honors in the concentration: Concentrators planning to pursue honors should take the joint AMST/ETHN Honors Seminar, AMST 1800, in the spring of their junior year. The Honors Seminar counts as one of your focus area courses. If planning to study abroad during your junior spring, you should email your concentration advisor and the current Honors Director to explain your situation and make an alternative plan for developing a thesis proposal. Students pursuing honors are required to take two independent study courses (ETHN 1920) in their senior year in order to complete the honors thesis. These independent study courses raise the total number of required concentration courses to 12.

Course Substitutions/Exceptions

All courses listed here are required unless stated otherwise. Class substitutions are discouraged for the following reasons:

  1. We want our students to have as many common experiences as a cohort as possible. This means, we are actively looking for ways to get more of you in the same class.
  2. We want these common experiences to be in courses taught by professors in our department who have a clearer sense of the entire concentration.
  3. We want our concentrators to prioritize Ethnic Studies.

As always, consult with your advisor, and make an intellectual argument for any exception based on how a particular class is important to your focus area or your proposed capstone project.

If you plan to study abroad, make sure your courses are materially relevant to the concentration and that you do not exceed the maximum of three non-ETHN classes permitted in the focus area. Stay in regular contact with your advisor and seek pre-approval.

Outside Courses

Up to three classes taught outside the ETHN tag can count towards the focus area, assuming they have 50% material relevant to Ethnic Studies. This is at the concentration advisor's discretion, and you should consult the advisor at the moment that you are considering the class, during the shopping period, and present a syllabus at that time so they can pre-approve it. Please do not assume that at the end of the semester, the advisor will automatically approve a class.


To address any questions you may have about where you are in the concentration:

  1. Update your ASK profile so that you have listed all of the classes you wish to count towards the concentration, and so that your brief essay describes what your focus area is, which classes are counting towards it, and what you hope to take soon.
  2. Schedule a meeting with your current concentration advisor (see ASK).

If you have questions that cannot wait for a meeting, update ASK and email your questions to your concentration advisor.