Graduate Program

The Ethnic Studies Ph.D. program, established in 1996, is designed to admit students for the Ph.D. degree; additionally, students earn an M.A. after completing the Comprehensive Examination by the end of their second year in the program.  The normative time to degree is 6-years. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and two other faculty serve on the Graduate Admissions Committee; and the DGS and two other faculty serve on the Graduate Record Committee, which meets to decide issues of academic progress and policy respecting graduate students. The Graduate Student Handbook is updated annually and is available at here.

Questions regarding the Graduate Program and graduate students should be directed to Christa.


Graduate students should receive the following advising services:

  • Director of Graduate Studies (Shelley Streeby)
    • Advice and information about the Ethnic Studies Graduate Program and graduate student life in general
    • Advice about student academics and Doctoral Committees
    • Information and approvals for petitions, employment as TA, Reader, or GSR, grants, and fellowship applications
  • First Year Faculty Advisor (for each student)
    • Meets at least once each quarter with advisee
    • Available to discuss course enrollment, graduate program and trajectory, and academic and personal goals
    • First Year Faculty Advisors are assigned to each new graduate student before the beginning of the Fall Quarter of the first year
  • Graduate Coordinator (Christa Ludeking)
    • Advice and information on academic procedures and regulations, graduate student petitions, course information, and academic records
    • Student employment information
    • Fellowship and stipend information
    • Advice, information, and referrals regarding student life issues (housing, health care resources, support, etc.)


Students enrolled in the Department’s graduate seminars (required courses and electives) receive credit for participation with a letter grade. The following courses will be taken as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) grade option only (“S” equals B- or better):

  • 230
  • 291A
  • 291B
  • 298
  • 299
  • 500

Directed Readings (ETHN 298 courses)

The Directed Reading course is designed for students who have completed the M.A. and are working towards the Qualifying Exam. Students may enroll in from 1 to 12 units of ETHN 298 coursework with the advice of their committee chair or faculty advisor. Pre-M.A. students are limited to 12 units of ETHN 298 coursework before they have attained the M.A. degree. Students must complete the ETHN 298 application form (available in the Ethnic Studies Department office, facsimile below) each quarter they are enrolled in ETHN 298 units; it must be signed by the instructor and the Graduate Advisor; students then confirm enrollment information with Christa. 

Hiring Students

Graduate students may be employed as Graduate Student Researchers (GSR’s), Readers, Tutors, Teaching Assistants, or Associates in Ethnic Studies. Undergraduate students may be employed in the Student Assistant III or Student Assistant IV title, depending on the level of their duties. Before any student begins work, the proper hiring procedures and forms must be completed and submitted to the appropriate offices. Please notify Christa of your intent to hire a student BEFORE you have them begin working, and please check with Damarys to make sure your funding is appropriately managed. Once Christa has the completed hiring procedures and forms, she can verify the student’s eligibility for employment and identify any potential problems beforehand.

Teaching Assistants

The duties of a TA normally entail grading papers and examinations, conducting discussion sections, holding three hours of office hours and related activities. Each TA is expected to attend the lectures for the course in which he/she assists. An evaluation of the student’s teaching is required of the supervising Professor at the end of each quarter. Please see Christa for details regarding the Union regulations.


The “Reader” title is given to students employed to render services as course assistants, specifically the grading of student papers and/or examinations. Readers may not be given the teaching responsibilities customarily accorded to Teaching Assistants. Readers are paid only to grade papers or exams.

Readers are paid from available funds in the Department’s annual TA allocation. This allocation is based on many factors, but is driven heavily by overall undergraduate course enrollments.

A request for a Reader may be made to the Graduate Coordinator for a class with enrollment of more than fifty students. Approval for hiring a Reader will be made based on availability of appropriate funds. The course instructor alone is expected to teach and grade papers and examinations for a class of ffity students or less.