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Admission to the AES Major

Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time. Preferably, they should:

  • Be in their junior year; this gives them plenty of time to take care of their general education requirements

  • Have taken at least two of the AES introductory courses (AFRAM 101, ASA 101, CHSTU 101)

  • Have at least a 2.0 overall grade point average

  • Have at least a 2.7 overall GPA for all AES course work completed, with no single grade below 2.5

  • Have completed at least 5 credits of English Composition with a minimum grade of 2.5


Undergraduate Major Requirements

A minimum of 60 credits (12 courses total) are required for completion of the AES major:

***30 credits must come from the core courses, 25 credits from the student’s concentration area, and 5 credits from an upper-division course in an area other than the student’s concentration—students who qualify and choose to do so, may comply with the latter 5 credits by taking AES 496 (Honors Thesis)***

  • 5 credits: AAS 101 (I&S)

Introduction to Asian American Cultures
**offered autumn and spring quarters**

  • 5 credits: AFRAM 101 (I&S)

Introduction to African American Studies
**offered autumn and spring quarters**

  • 5 credits: CHSTU 101 (I&S)

Introduction to Chicano/a Studies
**offered autumn and spring quarter**

  • 5 credits: AES 150 (I&S)

Introductory History of American Ethnic Groups
**offered autumn and spring**

  • 5 credits: AES 151 (I&S)

Introduction to the Cultures of American Ethnic Groups
**offered spring quarter**

  • 5 credits: AES 212 (I&S/VLPA)

Comparative American Ethnic Literature
**offered winter quarter**

  • 25 credits in the student’s major concentration area (AA/PIA Studies, African American Studies, Chicano/a Studies, or Comparative AES)
  • 5 credits: one upper-division course in a concentration area other than the one chosen by the student for her/his major focus. Students admitted to the Honors track can satisfy this requirement by taking AES 496 (Honors Thesis). For more information on this option see the section on AES Honors: [link to AES Honors here]

Courses that can be Applied to the Concentration Area

American Ethnic Studies:

AES 250, 322, 333, 335, 487, 498, 499

African American Studies:

[Arts and Humanities Focus] AFRAM 150, 214, 340, 358, 498, 499

[History and Culture Heritage] AFRAM 150, 270, 272, 321, 334, 437, 498, 499

[Social and Political Analysis] AFRAM 315, 498, 499

Asian American/PIA Studies:

[Arts and Humanities Focus] AAS 220, 320, 330, 392, 401, 402, 498, 499

[History, Culture, Social and Political Analysis] AAS 206, 210, 296, 350, 360, 370, 372, 380, 385, 392, 395, 498, 499

Chicano/a Studies:

[Arts and Humanities Focus] CHSTU 330, 332, 340, 465, 466, 498, 499, SPAN 331

[History and Culture Heritage] CHSTU 200, 254, 256, 352, 410, 498, 499, HSTAA/CHSTU 180, HSTAA 181; SPAN 331

[Social and Political Analysis] CHSTU 200, 256, 330, 352, 356, 416, 498, 499.

*Language course, such as Swahili and Tagalog, do not count toward the major. However, they may be used to fulfill the UW foreign language requirement or can be counted as electives.

AES Honors

AES 496 (Honors Thesis) is a supervised individual and independent/tutorial study for seniors who have been admitted to the honors track. It usually involves research, writing, and completion of a thesis of at least 30 pages. Other projects (such as a video production, dramatic play, or other suitable endeavor) may be approved to fulfill the thesis requirement. The student must identify a faculty person willing to act as sponsor for the course. The AES Honors Program Application is available from the AES Academic Adviser, or it can be downloaded here. [link here to AES Senior Thesis Application] For more information, please see the section on the AES Honors Program [link here]

Recommended Courses

After completing the 60 credits required for the AES major and fulfilling the University requirements (English composition, foreign language, quantitative or symbolic reasoning, and areas of knowledge), a student may have to take additional courses to accumulate the 180 credits the University requires for graduation. Thus, AES majors are encouraged to take other AES, AAS, AFRAM, or CHSTU classes beyond the 25 credits required in the concentration area. In addition, they are encouraged to enroll in American Indian Studies courses in order to broaden their ethnic studies knowledge.

Language Courses

Swahili, Tagalog and other language courses do not fulfill AES requirements.

However, these classes can be used to satisfy the University’s foreign language requirement, or may be applied to the electives category.


Objectives, Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: The American Ethnic Studies undergraduate curriculum prepares students to understand the breadth, key content, theories, and research methodologies in the fields of race of ethnic studies. Upon graduation, students should have knowledge of ethnic-specific as well as comparative, interdisciplinary issues surrounding the experience of African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islander Americans, and Chicano/as. The major is designed to help students acquire the skills to think and write critically about race, class, ethnicity, and multiple categories of social diversity in social and historical contexts.

  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: AES majors have the opportunity to become actively engaged in personalized research and discovery through independent study and research courses offered in each program concentration. In addition, motivated students are able to engage in a variety of professional, community-based internships and practicum experiences.

Special Studies


AES in the News


Graduate Studies


Opportunities for Students


AES Graduation 2014 - PHOTOS


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