20 Best Deals on Colleges for Ethnic Studies

Welcome to our ranking of the 20 best deals on colleges for ethnic studies.

Ethnic studies is a highly valuable background to have while pursuing a career after graduation day. This interdisciplinary field originated during the civil-rights era and has since expanded to explore culture, race, ethnicity, nationality, and other elements of identity on a global scale. The following ranking profiles colleges with ethnic studies departments and degree options. The corresponding descriptions include details that a student will value in pursuing a career in this field.

We awarded points based on the presence of the following: a comprehensive ethnic studies curriculum; scholar-level faculty; ethnic studies extracurricular activity; organizations; related scholarships; high levels of cultural diversity among both faculty and student body; and any additional offerings that would be of particular value for ethnic studies students. The 20 colleges profiled here scored the highest among a pool of 70 schools with a net price (per College Navigator) of $34,000 USD or less.

The schools profiled below are ranked in order of points earned. In the event of a tie in points, the schools with the lower net price are ranked higher.

Rating the Top Ethnic Studies Degree Programs

#20 – Eastern Washington University

Cheney, Washington



Points: 10
Enrollment: 13,453
Net Price: $11,954

Just outside central Spokane, Eastern Washington University is a 300-acre campus with a student body of over 13,000. EWU has a growing, diverse community that maintains a wide range of special interest activities and clubs. For the incoming student interested in learning more about ethnic studies, the race and culture major is made up of courses encompassing concepts in multiculturalism, gender, class, and how these identities intersect. The ethnic studies curriculum instructs students to broaden their examination of issues facing local and global minority populations.

#19 – Boise State University

Boise, Idaho



Points: 11
Enrollment: 22,227
Net Price: $15,847

Recently ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges,” Boise State University is a liberal arts school that welcomes a wide range of interests among its students. Among BSU’s more than 190 available areas of study is ethnic studies; this program is affiliated with the sociology department, and teaches students to become informed, enlightened community members. Boise State has also established a “Cultural and Ethnic Diversity Board,” which sponsors guest speakers, educational programs, special events, community service, and other initiatives related to diversity.

#18 – University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon



Points: 11
Enrollment: 24,096
Net Price: $14,179

Eugene’s University of Oregon is a progressive, liberal institution ideal for students looking for an urban campus setting. One of the college’s primary points of pride is its celebration of diversity and inclusion of all cultures, beliefs and perspectives. The ethnic studies department is a crossover study of ethnicity, race, social justice, identity, and issues facing people of color now and throughout history. The University of Oregon’s ethnic studies curriculum encourages critical thinking and informed analysis of what continues to be a complex field.

#17 – Minnesota State University – Mankato

Mankato, Minnesota



Points: 11
Enrollment: 15,387
Net Price: $12,464

Minnesota State University in the city of Mankato was founded in 1868 just outside the twin cities. There is a large, vibrant campus community that is inclusive of a diverse range of college-sponsored activities. The ethnic studies department is a popular program that promotes a multicultural understanding of global identities. MSU’s faculty itself is from a broad range of backgrounds, adding depth and perspective to the curriculum. Minnesota State also has a “Multicultural Center,” which is a hub for events and small student gatherings.

#16 – Marlboro College

Marlboro, Vermont



Points: 12
Enrollment: 230
Net Price: $28,854

Averaging just over 200 students, Marlboro College is an unusually small academic community in scenic, countryside Vermont. The faculty of this college is committed to a personalized learning environment that celebrates different cultures and backgrounds. Students who wish to enroll in ethnic studies education will find several courses in Marlboro’s sociology department. In this path of study, the classes are exposed to concepts in gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and how all of these human identities co-exist globally. Marlboro College follows an interdisciplinary education model to produce well-rounded graduates.

#15 – Edgewood College

Madison, Wisconsin



Points: 12
Enrollment: 2,980
Net Price: $22,112

Founded in 1927 in the vibrant city of Madison, Edgewood College of Wisconsin is a close-knit college community with an average class size of 15 students. The ethnic studies program is an academic integration of African American, Asian and Pacific American, Native American, and Latino American cultures. Edgewood students from other majors are invited to take ethnic studies as well, as it helps to broaden cultural perspective. Edgewood offers an ethnic studies scholarship to aid incoming or transfer students with tuition.

#14 – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Blacksburg, Virginia



Points: 12
Enrollment: 31,224
Net Price: $18,398

Ranked 38th in the nation for university research, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (commonly known as Virginia Tech) is an institution with a tremendous range of academic opportunities. The college maintains a 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the 2,600-acre campus has over 135 buildings and its own airport. Virginia Tech has multiple courses in ethnic studies, both in the sociology and political science departments. Students in these courses learn ethnic identities spanning Latin American, Asian American, African American and Native American cultures.

#13 – Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas



Points: 12
Enrollment: 24,766
Net Price: $15,784

Found in a quaint town nicknamed “The Little Apple,” Kansas State University is a peppy campus with a wide range of involvement opportunities. The ethnic studies department was established in response to requests made by the student community. This major focuses primarily on the American ethnic experience, primarily including civil rights and underrepresented communities of color. Part of what makes this American ethnic degree so valuable is that it’s taught by a diverse instructor faculty. KSU coordinates exhibits, visiting scholar lectures, film screenings, and other special events themed in ethnic studies.

#12 – University of Vermont

Burlington, Vermont



Points: 13
Enrollment: 12,856
Net Price: $17,075

Located in one of the most progressive, diverse cities in the country, the University of Vermont in Burlington has much to offer the incoming student. This 460-acre campus along Lake Champlain has state-of-the-art educational resources and facilities. The critical race and ethnic studies program is a community of individuals studying ethnicity through the disciplines of art history, global studies, women’s studies, gender, economics, environmental studies, and other areas of academic exploration. The faculty of the University of Vermont consists of scholar professionals, most of whom hold a P.hD. or equivalent in their field.

#11 – University of Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska



Points: 13
Enrollment: 25,006
Net Price: $15,109

The University of Nebraska is a globally respected college with high rankings from publications including the Princeton Review, Forbes, and US News and World Report. One of the university’s best academic features is the Ethnic Studies Institute, which is home to courses in various field specializations. UN students at the Institute explore contemporary social issues facing African American, U.S., Latina / Latino, and Native American cultures. Alumni of the Institute for Ethnic Studies find successful careers in education, business, law, government, non-profit, and more.

#10 – Northern Arizona University

Flagstaff, Arizona



Points: 13
Enrollment: 27,705
Net Price: $12,946

Set on a picturesque campus in the sunny city of Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University is an energetic college experience. Among its many degree tracks is the ethnic studies programs, which is an interdisciplinary study of intellectual, historical, and sociocultural subject areas. Students of ethnic studies are asked to re-examine the world around them and broaden their scope of knowledge of social issues facing minority cultures. Graduates of the NAU ethnic studies program often join efforts in social justice, minority advocacy, and similar paths.

#9 – DePaul University

Chicago, Illinois



Points: 14
Enrollment: 23,799
Net Price: $29,756

Founded in 1898, DePaul University of Chicago, Illinois is the largest Catholic University in the United States. The college has a wide array of academics and activities to engage nearly 24,000 students. The master’s in critical in ethnic studies is one of DePaul’s most competitive programs; students accepted into this track are challenged to analyze race, ethnicity, and society’s isolation of minority cultures. DePaul’s ethnic studies graduates most often go into social justice, mixed race advocacy, community organizing, and many other fields.

#8- Mills College

Oakland, California



Points: 14
Enrollment: 1,542
Net Price: $27,403

Offering bachelor’s and graduate degrees since 1852, Mills College is a small, progressive liberal arts school in Oakland, California. This institution was recently included in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” list generated by U.S. News & World Report. Mills is known in part for its diverse student body, representing 51% individuals of color, 12 countries, and 43 states. The ethnic studies department at Mills College is designed to promote collaboration, critical thinking, and informed analysis. Some of the cultures covered in the ethnic studies program include American Indians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Arab Americans, Latinas/os Americans, and more.

#7 – Brown University

Providence, Rhode Island



Points: 14
Enrollment: 9,181
Net Price: $21,193

Since 1764, the highly selective and prestigious Brown University has been a community of scholars from around the world. It is the seventh oldest college in the nation, and its campus is made up of students from all 50 states and over 115 countries. For incoming students looking to pursue ethnic studies, Brown has a department dedicated to the historic exploration of racial groups both in the U.S. and abroad. The ethnic studies degree curriculum is designed to encourage open-minded discourse and provide a broad-based knowledge of existing theories.

#6 – Metropolitan State University

St. Paul, Minnesota



Points: 14
Enrollment: 8,355
Net Price: $13,654

Found in the Twin Cities, Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota is a flexible education opportunity that works with the busy lives of its students. For incoming students seeking a degree in ethnic studies, Metropolitan has a well-respected program that asks students to look deeper into our political, economic, intellectual, and cultural identities in today’s society. At MSU, most of the students pursuing a future in ethnic studies build networks with local communities, partnering advocacy groups, and other organizations working toward social change.

#5 – Albion College

Albion, Michigan



Points: 15
Enrollment: 1,268
Net Price: $24,906

Albion College of Michigan is a small, midwestern college that is based in Christian values, but welcoming of all beliefs and backgrounds. One of the many areas of study at Albion is the ethnic studies major, where students build an intellectual understanding of global ethnic traditions, multicultural history, and more. Albion believes in hands-on experiences, and students in this department are given the opportunity to study in other areas in the U.S. or abroad. Alumni of this college with an ethnic studies degree work in politics, law, psychology, medicine, and many other professions.

#4 – University of San Diego

San Diego, California



Points: 11
Enrollment: 8,349
Net Price: $32,482

Ranked one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation, the University of San Diego is a Catholicism-based school overlooking the Pacific Ocean. For incoming students seeking a future in ethnic studies-related professions, USD has an entire department dedicated to the study of history, identity, spirituality, and ethnicity. Students following this degree are encouraged to explore hands-on work experiences in local communities and abroad; the college works closely with students to provide internship and service opportunities in communities local and abroad.

#3 – Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, Ohio



Points: 15
Enrollment: 16,554
Net Price: $17,042

Established in 1910 a few miles south of Toledo, Bowling Green State University is an inclusive, diverse campus environment. BGSU is recurrently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation’s top public universities. The ethnic studies department at BGSU is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. This interdisciplinary degree track focuses on racial history, the intellectual roots of the field, globalization, immigration, and many other components of cultural studies. Additionally, Bowling Green holds special events on campus that highlight issues facing minority populations.

#2 – Columbia University

New York, NY




Points: 16
Enrollment: 27,589
Net Price: $20,838

New York City’s world-renowned Columbia University is a large, prestigious institution in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Students seeking an education in ethnic studies will find a home at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race (CSER). Founded in 1999, this academic division promotes progressive ideas behind race, ethnicity, culture, and other elements of one’s identity. Beyond the classroom, the CSER produces seminars, film screenings, art exhibits, and other multicultural events that engages both the campus and general public.

#1 – Yale University

New Haven, Connecticut



Points: 16
Enrollment: 12,336
Net Price: $19,317

Recognized worldwide for its scholar-level academics, Yale University continues to develop future leaders and inspiring community members. One of Yale’s interdisciplinary programs is the study of ethnicity, race, and migration. Throughout this degree track, students take on a curriculum that blends racial conflicts, displacement, the reclamation of territories, and many other elements related to these concepts. Yale students enrolled in ethnic studies may opt to engage in a “Community Based Learning” project; this option is a project in partnership with many local community organizations.

The preceding list is a ranking of the 20 best values on colleges for ethnic studies.

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By GCD Staff
August 2016