Programs / Graduate Program


  1. Application Materials and Deadline
  2. Crieria for Admission
  3. Program Requirements
  4. Financial Aid and Tuition
  5. Step by Step
  6. Questions?

Application Materials and Deadline

The University no longer utilizes a paper-based application system. Follow the link below for accessing the Graduate Division’s website and online application for admissions:

The deadline to submit ALL application materials, including letters of recommendation for Fall 2025 is Tuesday, December 3, 2024, by 8 pm PST; we accept applications for the Fall Semester only. In addition to the university-wide application (there is no departmental application), the department requires a supplemental section, a 20-page writing sample, transcripts for all academic work completed, and a minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation from faculty members. We do not require the GRE examination for consideration for admissions. All applicants will automatically be considered for fellowship nomination.

Applications may be accessed online beginning September 1st. Please visit the Graduate Division website.

International students, please see the Student Information page for more details.

Criteria for Admission

Applicants are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  1. Academic Achievements:
     These include but are not limited to undergraduate (and, if applicable, graduate) GPA, instructors’ written evaluations on performance in coursework, academic honors received, publications, etc. GRE scores are not required. The typical minimum GPA is 3.0. If your GPA falls below 3.0, please provide an explanation in your statement of purpose.                                                                                                                     
  2. Statement of Purpose:                                                                                                                                          The two-page single-spaced statement of purpose is a crucial component of your application.  Unlike traditional academic departments that have pre-determined coursework and methodological training, Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary discipline where graduate students must develop a coherent interdisciplinary project much earlier than other students. To that end, your statement should propose one or two related projects or a series of related questions that you would like to pursue. Why is an interdisciplinary approach necessary to pursue your project? From which disciplinary methods would you like to draw in developing this project? The statement should make clear why Ethnic Studies, specifically, and UC Berkeley, generally, are the ideal places for you to develop your project or pursue your questions. It should describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests, and your future career goals. For more information, visit  
  3. Personal Statement:                                                                                                                                               The two-page single-spaced Personal History Statement is required from all applicants. Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose. Please describe how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. In this section, you may also include any relevant information on the following:   • How you have come to understand the barriers faced by others   • Your research focusing on under-served populations or related issues of inequality
  4.    • Your leadership among such groups                                                   
  5.    • Your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities and     individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education
  6.    • How you have overcome barriers to access higher education
  7. Writing Sample:                                                                                                                                                         The writing sample should be about 20-22 pages in length (not including bibliography) that can showcase the applicant’s ability to conduct research, sustain an intellectual analysis, and make a persuasive argument using the conventions of academic discourse. The sample can be a complete paper, such as a term paper from a course; an excerpt from a longer piece, such as a chapter from a thesis; or an essay written specifically for the purpose of the application. No more than two shorter pieces may be substituted for one 20-22 page piece, but the latter is preferred.                                                                                                                                                                       
  8. Letters of Recommendation:                                                                                                                            Please provide three letters from people familiar with your academic performance, ideally from tenure-track professors. Letters from graduate student instructors (teaching assistants), non-academic supervisors or employers will also be considered but don’t carry as much weight as those from professors. Recent letters are preferred. If you are a re-entry student without recent letters from professors, please explain your situation in your statement of purpose.                                                                                                                                                   .
  9. Match of research interest to faculty expertise and research interests:
    Applicants who are academically superior but whose research interests are a poor match with the expertise and research interests of the faculty will not necessarily be selected.
  10. Promise of extending Ethnic Studies scholarship:
    Preference is given to applicants whose proposed research promises to move Ethnic Studies scholarship in new directions.
  11. Disadvantages overcome:
    The Admissions Committee takes into consideration significant socioeconomic and educational disadvantages overcome by an applicant, with a view to enhancing graduate student diversity.
  12. Record of community service:
    The Admissions Committee takes into consideration an applicant’s track record of serving various communities, such as student populations, disadvantaged groups, ethnic communities, etc., with a view to enhancing graduate student diversity.

Program Requirements

See full information on degree requirements on the Graduate Courses page or consult the Graduate Handbook.

Financial Aid and Tuition:

See information on Financial Aid page.

Step by Step

To learn how best to prepare oneself for study at the graduate level in the humanities and the social sciences, current undergraduates may find useful STEP by Step, a planning tool developed by Josephine Moreno and Gloria Chun, the Graduate Diversity Coordinators in the Arts and Humanities and the Social Sciences.


See FAQ or contact the Ethnic Studies Admissions Office,