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Race and Ethnicity in the United States

Throughout history, the United States has been referred to as a melting pot, comprising people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Understanding the roots of this diversity, and appreciating its dynamic nature in contemporary society, is critical to understanding American life.

Courses range from "Race in America" and "Native American Studies" to "Social Theory: The Study of Isms and Phobias."

In this interest area, you will develop vital analytical, critical, and abstract thinking skills, as well as oral and written communication skills.

Future careers, post-grad opportunities

With the well-rounded background provided through the Race and Ethnicity interest area, you may enter the workforce in fields such as foreign relations, policy analysis, and corporate communications. You also will be prepared to go on to graduate school in business, law, government, or the social sciences.


Antoine Joseph, Ph.D.
Professor of History

The United States may be a melting pot, but Joseph highlights the persisting internal racial tensions.

An expert in race relations, economic history, and social inequality, Joseph's contributions to refereed journals and scholarly books include: "The Resurgence of Racial Conflict in Post-Industrial America" in the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, and “Persistent Racial Segregation in US Urban Areas: Frames of Interpretations,” a paper presented at an American Sociological Association conference.

Rich class discussion

Christina Knips ‘12
Assurance Associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

"I had the privilege of taking "Race and Ethnicity" with Professor Judy McDonnell and woke up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday looking forward to her class. Professor McDonnell encouraged rich class discussions, applied the material to real-world scenarios, and made sure that all of her students were comfortable talking about sensitive topics such as stereotypes and discrimination. She was able to bring to life the theories used to understand the treatment of racial and ethnic subpopulations."