Critical Race and Ethnic Studies


Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) majors develop a deep understanding of how race and other modalities of power have structured human life in the past and the present. Students acquire an understanding of the historical production of race and ethnicity in the United States and across the globe. They learn how the contours of race and racism have changed over time and, concomitantly, how individuals and groups have experienced these phenomena in constantly morphing ways. Students examine present-day racial/ethnic ideologies such as multiculturalism, colorblindness, and postracialism as well as contemporary social phenomena such as changing working conditions, new migration patterns, and emergent cultural expressions. Students also explore the ways that race and ethnicity have developed in concert with gender, sexuality, class, indigeneity, citizenship, and other modalities of power and lived identity.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A.
  • Other

Study and Research Opportunities

UC Santa Cruz faculty have contributed significantly to conversations in critical race and ethnic studies for decades, with nationally renowned faculty in American studies, anthropology, community studies, feminist studies, film and digital media, history, history of art and visual culture, history of consciousness, Latin American and Latino studies, literature, politics, psychology, social documentation, sociology, and the sciences working and teaching in the field. Many courses engaging these studies are sponsored by these departments. In addition, courses have been approved specifically under the CRES rubric.

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

Prospective majors complete a proposed study plan, according to the department requirement list, and schedule a meeting with a Critical Race and Ethnic Studies (CRES) adviser at The elective courses selected should represent a coherent plan. Students should submit their study plan no later than the third quarter of their sophomore year and must have completed CRES 10, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies: An Introduction, with a grade of C or better.

Information for Transfers

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 ( to evaluate prior coursework for transfer.

Submission of a study plan should be as soon as possible after completing CRES 10, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies: An Introduction, with a grade of C or better.


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

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


Humanities Building 1, Room 416

Department Website

General Catalog Information

More Information

Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
Humanities 1, Room 416
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
(831) 459-2920