Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

Programs / Graduate


Founded in 1984, the graduate program in Ethnic Studies is the first interdisciplinary PhD program in the U.S. dedicated to the study of comparative race and ethnicity in national, hemispheric, and global contexts. It continues to be a premiere PhD program that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training as well as critical grounding in comparative, relational, and intersectional analysis made possible by the core subfields of the department—Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, Native American Studies, and Comparative Ethnic Studies.

The graduate program draws on faculty strength in a wide range of fields, including studies of race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, and sexuality; citizenship, migration, and borders; diaspora and transnationalism; sovereignty and decoloniality; representation and performance; social movements and cultural politics; religion, food, museums, labor, and war. Students learn social science and humanities methodologies, including archival research, ethnography, oral history, and textual and visual analysis. Students also have the opportunity to pursue a “Designated Emphasis” in such areas as Critical Theory, Film Studies, New Media, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. For more information on program requirements, please refer to the Ethnic Studies Graduate Handbook.

Our graduate program has trained generations of award-winning scholars,  dedicated teachers and social-cultural critics who now work in a wide range of academic, cultural, private, and public institutions. Our graduate students continually receive the most prestigious national fellowships and awards, such as those granted by the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and have one of the highest placement rates (78.6%) among all UC Berkeley doctoral programs (57.2%).