The Ethnic Studies Department prepares students for careers and graduate education by providing them with the skills and knowledge they need to navigate social contexts marked by racial, gender, economic and national diversity and complexity. We aim to equip students with the confidence and experience they need to identify their own visions for social change, and to become leaders and change agents in their chosen field. Our graduates are thoughtful, responsible individuals who engage capably with communities beyond the campus, are comfortable with collaborative work, and maintain a high standard of ethics in their relationships with others.
The department's curriculum promotes critical thinking and creative analysis through comparative study of the social, economic, cultural, and environmental concerns and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives, African Americans, Latinas/os and Chicanas/os, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Arab Americans. At Mills, we examine racial dynamics as they intersect with gender, sexuality, class, and nation, and many of our courses focus on the unique experiences of women of color. Our curriculum also explores the transnational and diasporic dimensions of racial identities.
Our faculty enable students to become involved in research and activism in local communities of color, thus making exciting connections with the vibrant diversity of the Bay Area. Recent student research interests include gangs and anti-violence strategies in the city of Oakland, food access for low-income African American mothers, the emerging Latino vote, experiences of multiracial Filipinas/os, and race and disability in contemporary fantasy fiction. In addition, many of our courses include a service learning component that offers students an opportunity to learn through hands-on engagements with local, community-based organizations. Courses with a service learning component offer a .25 credit for volunteer work with an organization working on social justice issues related to communities of color. Students may take one service learning course per semester.
Students also help organize a variety of activities that showcase and celebrate the contributions of people of color, including Latina/o Heritage Month; Native American Heritage Month; Black History Month; South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Pacific Islander Awareness Now! Month; and the Mills College Pow Wow. Ethnic studies students and faculty have also participated in delegations to local and international conferences.
The ethnic studies major at Mills combines academic excellence with a commitment to social justice. The degree provides a strong foundation for a career in city and urban planning, communications, community arts, community development, education policy, environmental justice, film, media and artistic performance, human resources, immigrant rights advocacy, K-12 and higher education, journalism, legal advocacy, marketing, museum curating, non-profit management, public health, policy analysis, union organizing and youth work, as well as graduate school in a number of disciplines.
With Mills' unique Bachelor's to Master's 4+1 Degree Programs you can earn two academic degrees in five years—increasing your career options after college. Click a link below for courses you can be taking now to prepare for your Bachelor's to Master's 4+1 Degree.
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