Ethnic Studies Departments & Programs


Africana Studies 

The mission of Africana Studies is to advance academic excellence, social responsibility and cultural grounding.  Africana Studies focuses on the study of people of African descent from a core paradigm, which seeks human liberation and higher level human functioning. As a discipline, Africana Studies draws its philosophical and intellectual foundation from African culture. The discipline of Africana studies is concerned with investigating the thought and practice of people of African descent using theories, concepts, and perspectives that emerge from the unique heritage, and contemporary experiences of people of African descent.  Key to Africana Studies is how our curricular strategies can foster liberatory knowledge that can be used to improve and transform conditions in urban Black communities and global settings. This discipline encourages students to think about how to use the knowledge and skills they acquire to address the needs and concerns of Africana peoples in particular as well as larger society in general.

For more information, visit the Africana Studies website.

American Indian Studies  

The department's educational mission and objectives has a special responsibility to Native peoples of California and the United States. California is the land on which the university and department rests; CSU is a public institution in the United States education system. Therefore, significant aspects of the program and curriculum are focused on Natives of California, US-Native politics, and North American Indian cultures with the aim of preparing students to work with Native groups and urban communities in California and the United States. The program also includes an international, comparative perspective and coalitional politics with Native peoples of U.S. occupied territories and more broadly within the Americas and the Pacific. It balances classroom education with an active community participatory learning component. Therefore, it best prepares students for going on to do graduate work or a number of different careers with Native peoples in not only California but internationally.

For more information, visit the American Indian Studies website.

Asian American Studies

Since Fall 1969, the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University has furthered the understanding of the histories and cultures of Asian Americans and the various identities and experiences of our communities. Through teaching, community service, and research, we use interdisciplinary approaches to address the structural and ideological forces that shape the lives of Asian Americans. We support self-determination by developing the creative expressions, voices, critical pedagogies, and analyses of our communities. Social justice, equity, and activism within Asian American communities, and respect for differences, especially ethnic diversity, are fundamental principles that guide our work.

For more information, visit the Asian American Studies website.

Latina/Latino Studies

It is the mission of the Department of Latina/Latino Studies to prepare students with the comprehensive knowledge base, critical skills and social consciousness necessary to function as effective leaders in an increasingly complex and diverse society. It is our intent to promote understanding, tolerance and appreciation of cultural difference and to advance the understanding and interests of Latino populations in the United States.

For more information, visit the Latina/Latino Studies website.

Race and Resistance Studies

The program in Race and Resistance Studies offers coursework that examines how institutions such as education, healthcare, penal systems, and popular culture affect and oppress communities of color and Native peoples. More importantly, students examine the creative and complex ways in communities of color and Native peoples respond and resist institutional and social inequality. In doing so, program curriculum explores how domestic issues are shaped by transnational processes and how oppressions and resistances are shaped by intersections of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. The Race and Resistance Studies Program offers a minor undergraduate degree. Additionally, the program houses new areas of study that may become free-standing units. Currently, we are in the midst of implementing our newest initiative in Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diaspora (AMED) Studies



Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) Studies

Housed in the historic College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University alongside the studies of Indigenous communities and other communities of color, the AMED Studies program is framed within a justice centered perspective that is grounded in the need for accountability and service to multiple publics, including those within and outside of the academic community. AMED generates and advances a counter narrative that views Arab and Muslim communities as communities of color within the US, in the Americas, and transnationally across other diasporas. AMEDs intellectual focus and framing will complement and build on the Comparative Ethnic Studies approach that is central to the Race and Resistance Studies Program in the College of Ethnic Studies.

For more information, visit the Arab and Muslim Ethnicites and Diasporar Studies website.

César E. Chávez Institute

Inspired by César E. Chávez’ commitment to social justice action, CCI is dedicated to examining, documenting, and providing strategies to address the impact of social oppression on communities of color in the United States. The Institute focuses on processes that empower communities and individuals in their struggles for inclusion, equality and self-determination, highlighting already-present sources of resiliency and strength. We seek to serve as a bridge between academic research and community empowerment: Community partners are not merely the objects of research and intervention, but also active participants in the formulation of the research question itself, in the processes of investigation, and/or in the meaningful documentation of findings. Our intention is to quickly generate accessible and useful results to policy makers, service providers, educators, and community advocates. We support the missions of the College of Ethnic Studies and of San Francisco State University through innovative projects and programs that strengthen scholarly research, community engagement and non-violent social action.

For more information, visit the César E. Chávez Institute website.

Clínica Martín-Baró

Clínica Martín-Baró is a student-organized free clinic operating Saturdays out of the Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. It is a collaboration between medical students and faculty from the UCSF School of Medicine, and undergraduates from the SFSU Latin@ Studies Department. We work together to serve while learning about the social and medical conditions facing immigrants. We provide a space for student volunteers to develop and strengthen a socio-economic analysis of the state of healthcare in the U.S, and an educational environment to create life-long advocates for underserved communities. We encourage, support and empower low-income students of color to pursue higher education (including but not limited to medical school) and a career that will benefit the needs of such communities. 

For more information, visit the Clínica Martín-Baró website.


Graduate Degrees 

Masters of Arts in Asian American Studies

The Master of Arts degree in Asian American Studies is designed, through disciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiries and analyses of Asian American history, literature and the arts, gender and family studies, as well as community studies, to provide students with a critical knowledge of the diverse Asian American population. Students in Asian American Studies are encouraged to study a modern Asian language other than English.

For more information, visit the MA in Asian American Studies page.

Masters of Arts in Ethnic Studies

The Master of Arts in Ethnic Studies is collectively administered by the College of Ethnic Studies at-large. It is designed to increase students' knowledge and understanding of the experiences of people of color and Native peoples. The program provides training in techniques for the analysis of historical and contemporary social problems related to these experiences, and the curriculum develops students' capacity to structurally assess, plan, and evaluate social policies aimed at the resolution of these problems. Although the focus remains primarily on the condition of Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and American Indians, the program is increasingly concerned with mixed race studies, sexuality studies, diaspora studies, transnationalism, the experiences of other communities of color, and theory/practice of resistance and social movements.

The program is designed to prepare individuals for advanced graduate work leading to the doctorate or 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 and analyzed. The program applies cutting edge analyses, such as cultural studies, postcolonial, feminist, and queer perspectives, to instruction, research, and community involvement. Both scholarly and activist engagements with the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area communities of color are encouraged and expected.

For more information, visit the MA in Ethnic Studies page.


Associated Requirements

Community Service Learning Program


Complementary Studies