Area of Focus
  • Behavioral & Social Sciences
  • Humanities
Degrees Offered
  • B.A.
  • Undergraduate Minor
  • Other
Academic Division
  • Humanities
  • Critical Race and Ethnic Studies

Program overview

The fastest growing major in the Humanities, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) provides a deep understanding of how race and other modalities of power have structured human life and have informed the imagination of social transformation and justice in the past and the present. CRES accordingly offers a study of the dynamic power relations resulting from the cultural and institutional productions of the idea of “race” on a local, national, and global scale. Here, “race” is understood as a major ideological framework through which both practices of power and domination and struggles for liberation and self-determination have been articulated and enacted throughout modern history and in the contemporary moment.

Student in front of indigenous mural

Learning Experience

The study of “race,” as such, is a rigorous project, one which yields critical insights into the social, political, cultural, and economic processes that have defined and shaped the modern era—colonialism and slavery, conquest and displacement, genocide and warfare, migration and creolization, criminalization, imprisonment, and disenfranchisement, globalization and post-9/11 security state policies such as racial profiling. These phenomena orient our attention to particular academic fields with which CRES is necessarily in dialogue. These fields include postcolonial studies, settler colonialism studies, human rights studies, indigenous studies, migration, diaspora and border studies, mixed race studies, legal studies, environmental studies, and science studies.

CRES is a highly interdisciplinary major and an intellectual home to nationally renowned faculty who have contributed significantly to conversations in critical race and ethnic studies for decades, in anthropology, community studies, education, feminist studies, film and digital media, history, history of art and visual culture, Latin American and Latino studies, literature, politics, psychology, sociology, and the sciences.

Study and Research Opportunities

The 4+1 pathway into the M.A./Credential Master’s program allows CRES majors at U.C. Santa Cruz to:

  • Apply to the Education master’s program through a streamlined application process.
  • Earn a master’s degree and teaching credential in just one additional year (5 Quarters July to July)

First-Year (Freshman) Requirements

Prospective majors are strongly encouraged to create a proposed study plan, according to the department requirement list, and schedule a meeting with a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) adviser at Students interested in CRES should submit their study plan no later than the third quarter of their sophomore year and may declare at any time. While specific courses are not required in order to declare, ideally, students will be enrolled in or have completed CRES 10 with a C or better.

Students talking in Oakes field

Transfer Requirements

Transfer students are strongly advised to complete the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) in preparation for transfer to UC Santa Cruz.

The CRES major consists of 10 courses, which allows transfer students to readily complete their major within two years, assuming enrollment in one to two CRES courses and electives per quarter. This also allows flexibility for pursuing other academic interests.

Transfer students are encouraged to meet with the CRES advisor (, declare the major and enroll in CRES 10 as soon as possible.


Internships and Career Opportunities

  • Affirmative action
  • Business
  • Career counseling
  • Community organizing
  • Health care
  • Higher education
  • Human resources
  • K-12 education
  • Law
  • Lobbying
  • Politics
  • Public policy
  • Research
  • Social services
  • Social work
  • Teaching
  • Union organizing

These are only a sample of the field’s many possibilities.



apartment Humanities 1, Room 403 
phone (831) 459-2757

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