UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Chicana and Chicano Studies

Division of Social Sciences,
South Hall 1713
Telephone (805) 893-8880
Website: www.chicst.ucsb.edu  
Department Chair: Aida Hurtado

Graduate Program

The Chicana and Chicano Studies M.A./Ph.D program engages students in the interdisciplinary study of Chicana and Chicano history, culture, and politics.  Our students explore Chicana and Chicano experiences in their most broad, comprehensive sense, informed by several philosophical and theoretical schools, historical and political scholarship, literary and religious traditions, artistic movements, mass media, and video and film.  In partnership with affiliated faculty in Sociology, History, Anthropology, Feminist Studies, Religious Studies, Education, Black Studies, English, Theater and Dance, Film and Media Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese, our department trains scholars as interdisciplinary researchers equipped to work with a broad range of perspectives, approaches, and methodologies. The program benefits from the university’s Chicano Studies Institute (CSI), the California Ethnic and Multicultural Archive (CEMA), and Colección Tloque Nahuaque, a library collection specializing in Chicana and Chicano and Latina and Latino Studies. The M.A./Ph.D in Chicana and Chicano Studies challenges students to understand social justice issues by linking theory, teaching, and scholarship in the academy and larger community.

The Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies graduate curriculum implements interdisciplinary study under the understanding that all social phenomena are produced by a complex interplay of three factors:  1) historical forces and developments, 2) social structures and processes, and 3) cultural production.  The interrelationship of these three factors produces the outcomes and experiences that are of central interest in Chicana and Chicano Studies.  The three subfields of the graduate program thus correspond to these three areas and represent an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates understanding from all three areas – historical, social/political, and cultural.  In this sense, the three subfields are a grounding representation of the interdisciplinary mission of the department’s graduate program.

History and Narratives Subfield:
This subfield focuses on a wide variety of critical approaches, perspectives, and methods on the writing and construction of Chicana and Chicano history, for its origins to the present.  It addresses how historians have themselves conceptualized Chicana and Chicano historiography, including the pivotal influence of the Chicano Movement from the writing of historical narratives.  Exploring historicity, narrativity, and the historical imagination, the subfield investigates how history-writing and historical research in Chicana and Chicano communities have engaged new subjectivities, bodies, and voices, informed by a new generation of scholars in Chicana Studies, LGBT/Queer Studies, Literary Studies, and Urban Studies that incorporate new approaches and sources alongside traditional tools.

Cultural Production Subfield:
Cultural Studies revolutionized the humanities and social sciences by placing culture at the center of inquiry.  Like Chicana and Chicano Studies, the field has working-class origins and questions socially constructed truths through Queer, feminist, and other critical lenses.  Cultural production refers to social products, practices, and aesthetics that emerge from economic and political exchanges.  Specific forms can include literature, music, art, and religion, among others.  Like written and spoken language, culture has a structure, syntax and hierarchy that can be read as a text.  Chicana and Chicano cultural production challenges hegemonic systems of power and/or as a vehicle of decolonization, challenging U.S. and transnational social systems.

Social Processes Subfield:
The social processes subfield applies social scientific approaches and various social and cultural theories to the study of empirical factors that impact Chicana and Chicano lives, including law, public policy, economic practices, and informal norms and discourses.  Disciplinary approaches from various social sciences are studies alongside interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches and diverse theoretical frameworks including Marxism, poststructuralism, and other constructivisms, as well as Queer and feminist theories.  Emphasis is given to interrelating the three subfields by highlighting how social processes can shape both historical outcomes and cultural forms, and vice-versa.


All applicants must fulfill the general university requirements as described in the “Graduate Education” section of the UCSB online catalog for admission to graduate status.  To be considered for admission, a student must show a strong aptitude for scholarly work and demonstrate intellectual maturity.  Students admitted to the graduate program would normally have completed an undergraduate major in Chicana and Chicano Studies or a closely related discipline.  Admission to the program is based on (1) academic transcripts, (2) statement of purpose, (3) statement of achievements and contribution, (4) curriculum vitae (5) letters of recommendation, (6) Graduate Record Examination scores, and (7) a writing sample.

Applications are accepted for Fall Quarter admission only. The deadline for financial support and admission is December 15.

Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy—Chicana and Chicano Studies (Requirements - PDF

Doctor of Philosophy—Chicana and Chicano Studies (Requirements - PDF)

Optional Interdisciplinary Emphases

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies may petition to add the following Optional Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Emphases: Black Studies, Environment and Society, Feminist Studies.

Requirement sheets for each emphasis may be found on this page.