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Study the critical intersections of race, ethnicity and power in American society.

In the Department of American Ethnic Studies, you’ll explore how race, ethnicity, difference and power have shaped our society. Our academic philosophy is grounded in social justice values and practices that seek to eliminate systems of racism and other systemic inequities. Learning in the department actively combines theory and practice; students engage in internships and practicum courses in local organizations, actively applying their coursework. Our students, faculty, staff and curriculum are among the most culturally diverse at the UW, contributing to our ability to engage difference and participate in dialogues about multiple subjects from varied points of view.

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Undergraduate Programs

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Filler Type
3 AES majors recently named to the prestigious Husky 100


Our alumni thrive in roles that require the ability to connect with diverse groups of people — a skill increasingly in demand in our growing multicultural society. The cultural competency and hands-on experience our students gain enable them to create respectful, productive and effective working relationships in a variety of organizations. Alumni are employed at some of the nation’s most well-known and competitive companies and organizations, including Amazon, Boeing, Nike, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Career Paths

A degree in American Ethnic Studies can lead to a career as a(n):

  • Community affairs specialist
  • Director of equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Educator
  • Human resources professional 
  • Marketing director
  • Youth counselor 
  • Civil rights director 
  • Attorney
  • Elected official 
  • Public administrator 
  • Policy analyst
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A community of communities

Our department is distinguished by the engagement that our faculty and students maintain with multiple communities — civic, cultural, artistic, social justice, and academic. Faculty hold leadership positions in national organizations and are active board members of local nonprofits and community organizations. Through the department’s strong regional connections, students have access to internships and practicums that expand awareness, build experience, and develop professional networks.

More About Our Communities

Find Yourself and Your Communities in American Ethnic Studies

Gain the knowledge and skills to promote social justice and eradicate systems of racism and other inequalities.

Department of American Ethnic Studies Stories

Oliver Rollins on the UW campus.

Questioning the Violent Brain

Generations of scientists have tried to identify biological predictors of violence. Professor Oliver Rollins has concerns about their research.

Dustin Abrahamson headshot

A Deep Dive into History & Race

In his academic work and community involvement, Dustin Abrahamson is committed to addressing racism.

Alina Aleaga on campus

A Strong Voice for Pacific Islander Students

Anthropology major Alina Aleaga developed curricula that encourage Pacific Islander students to explore their heritage—and the Burke Museum.