Ethnic Studies

The Ethnic Studies Department and Mānoa Career Center have partnered to create this spotlight to highlight career paths in ethnic studies.


Choosing a major and career planning complement each other. Mānoa Career Center staff and resources help students to identify and prepare for a wide range of career fields.

Ethnic Studies majors have chosen to pursue an interdisciplinary field that provides a broad-reaching curriculum with a critical emphasis on the intersections of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and class through the combined lenses of various fields such as history, women’s studies, art and sociology.

The UHM Ethnic Studies curriculum provides students with excellent experiential opportunities through service learning and community outreach opportunity projects that help students build upon their academic experience and practical knowledge.

Mānoa Career Center Counselors help Ethnic Studies students to reflect on skills such as critical thinking, research and analysis, writing, and problem solving that they develop through the coursework and service learning projects, and assist them as they explore and prepare for their career paths.

Learn more about Ethnic Studies

Student Testimonials

Photo of Kuʻulani Miyashiro Ku’ulani Miyashiro, Alumni 2004 Ethnic Studies cultivated in me skills such as critical thinking, verbal communication, writing, formulating logical arguments, reading, retaining information, understanding social structures, and understanding new perspectives.

Photo of Paris Watson Paris Watson, Alumni 2009 It has helped me [develop] the skill of keeping an open mind and heart. It has also helped me to learn about my own ignorance and how to overcome certain obstacles by handling the situations in a more productive and positive way.

Photo of Julie Luck Julie Luck, Alumni, 2010 I believe that my experiences, readings, teachers and peers have helped me cultivate an active mind and appreciation/ dedication to improving the conditions of minority communities. I am a better person, academically and personally, because of the knowledge and skills learned over the past few years.

This project was done as a collaboration between Professor Rod Labrador and the Ethnic Studies Department.

Question and Answer:

What kinds of skills can I develop as an Ethnic Studies major? Show Answer

Ethnic Studies helps students to develop these transferable skills that are valued in the workforce:

  • Ability to work effectively within a global, multicultural community
  • Knowledge of issues relevant to culture and society
  • Ability to effectively discuss controversial topics
  • Ability to think logically and critically
  • Excellent skills in oral and written (including artistic) expression
  • Strong research skills
  • Proficiency in reading, speaking and writing
  • Compiling reports,
  • Awareness and understanding of popular mainstream culture and trends

What can I do with my Ethnic Studies degree? Show Answer

The multi-disciplinary nature of program is also characteristic of the career fields that those who major or earn a certificate in ethnic studies can choose to pursue. A few of the areas that ethnic studies majors have pursued are listed below.

  • Analyst*
  • Advertising agent
  • Art educator*
  • Banking officer*
  • Bilingual education consultant*
  • Claims adjuster
  • Community organization worker
  • Counselor (career, educational, behavioral, group, rehabilitation)*
  • Homeland Security/customs/immigration officer
  • Grant proposal writer*
  • Insurance agent
  • Lecturer/Professor*
  • Museum staff*
  • Personal analyst
  • Probation officer
  • Public administrator*
  • Researcher
  • Sales Associate
  • Social/Human Service Worker*
  • Teacher (Preschool-12th Grade)*
  • Writer/editor
(*some fields may require special training or advanced degrees)

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