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School of Languages, Cultures, and Race College of Arts and Sciences

Comparative Ethnic Studies

Bachelor of Arts

Comparative ethnic studies offers a unique opportunity to study the social, economic, and political forces that have shaped the historic experience of diverse ethnic communities in the United States over the last 500 years and that continue to determine our future.

CES embraces interdisciplinary, comparative, and transnational approaches to studying race relations and the intersectionality of race, gender, class, sexuality, and globalization.

The course work fosters an in-depth understanding of the complexities of formations of race and culture. The major in comparative ethnic studies prepares students to work and function in the multiracial and multicultural world in which we live.


A minor in comparative ethnic studies requires a minimum of 18 hours of course work in CES, including CES 101 or 201 and 15 additional credits, 9 of which must be 300- or 400-level courses taken in residence at WSU or through WSU-approved education abroad or educational exchange courses.

Popular culture is all around us, influencing how we think, how we feel, how we vote, how we live our lives in countless ways. Television, film, advertising, music, and computer cyberculture are among mass-mediated influences on popular culture while more critical factors, such as ethnicity, race, gender, class, age, region, and sexuality, are shaped by and reshaped in popular culture.

A minor in popular culture requires a minimum of 21 credit hours, 9 of which must be upper-division course work and taken in residence at WSU or through WSU-approved education abroad or educational exchange courses.

Program strengths

  • Central to our consideration of race are the ways class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, age, and ability shape the human experience.
  • CES courses have an interdisciplinary focus on popular culture, sports, media, and social issues and how they relate to race, class, and gender.
  • CES faculty scholars facilitate understanding of how the social constructions of race impact the social fabric of our historical and contemporary world, and prepare community members to actively and critically engage in their civic responsibilities, especially with respect to social justice.
  • The program brings top scholars and activists to campus to promote engaged understanding.
  • The program’s commitment to undergraduate education provides unique opportunities for students to work closely with faculty on independent studies or special projects.
  • The diverse and flexible curriculum allows students to take an in-depth examination of a particular community or prepare for a specific career.
  • The program offers opportunities for seminars, fieldwork, study abroad, and other experiential learning modes.
  • Each student is assigned a faculty mentor who is a resource for majors who are pursuing graduate degrees, undergraduate research, academic publications, and career exploration within the field.

Certification requirements

  • 24 completed semester credits
  • 2.0 minimum grade point average

Suggested first year classes for freshmen

  • CES 101: Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • (does not count toward the CES major requirements but does count as a UCORE and will count toward a minor in CES)
  • CES 201: Foundations of Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • CES 209: Hip Hop Around the Globe
  • CES 260: Race and Racism in US Popular Culture

Suggested classes for incoming transfer students

  • CES 201: Foundations of Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • CES 301: Race and Global Inequality
  • CES 446: Racism and Anti-Racism in Global Context
  • CES 491: Theories of Racism and Ethnic Conflicts

Math requirement

Any UCORE [QUAN] course, most commonly:

  • MATH 105: Exploring Mathematics
  • PHIL 201: Elementary Logic

Core courses

  • CES 201: Foundations of Comparative Ethnic Studies
  • CES 301: Race and Global Inequality
  • W ST/CES 489: Everyday Struggles for Justice and Equality

Major in Comparative Ethnic Studies Checklist


Anna Chow
Daggy Hall 201

Career possibilities

  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Counseling
  • Community development
  • Nonprofits
  • NGOs
  • Local, state, or federal government
  • Human resources
  • Law school
  • Academia