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The Humanitarian Side of Ethnic Studies

There are many jobs available for you in the world of academia if you study Ethnic Studies at a high level, but if you can’t wait to get your hands dirty abroad working for an NGO in the field, you won’t be disappointed either. Since Ethnic Studies is inherently interdisciplinary, the variety of options available to you is quite astounding.


If you’ve just finished your Bachelor’s degree or don’t have a lot of work experience yet, choosing to complete an internship abroad raises your chances of getting a similar paid job in the future and being accepted onto a Master’s program.

Here’s a good example of a program that would fit you perfectly if you are in this position: The intern post at The Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP). The organization works on improving health, income generation, governance, social monitoring, food security and resilience to the effects of climate change. They offer interns a 6-month contract in Hanoi.

If you’re further along in your career, the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society, Kowloon, Hong Kong is looking for a full-time Program Assistant. Ethnic Minority workers are welcome, and will assist in organizing Ethnic Minority Programs. Experience in social community services preferred. Contact for more details.

The Minority Rights Group International campaigns worldwide alongside 130 partner organization in more than 60 countries to ensure recognition of their rights, by doing advocacy and lobbying governments and the UN on behalf of minorities and indigenous groups; producing documentary films on a range of issues and countries and delivering projects in many countries around the world. To get involved, go to


It’s easier to get a job in the humanitarian world if you have a master’s. Why? Because it gives you specialized knowledge that others don’t have, and it sends a strong message of commitment and capability to employers, who may be looking to hire you from across the globe.

There are a lot of fascinating programs out there. Don’t limit yourself to studying in your own country. Have a look at the universities in the UK, Europe and beyond – they may run courses that are tailored to your specific interest and allow you to learn a new language (note that many programs are in English, however), which shouldn’t hurt your career prospects, either.

The M.A. in Ethnic and Minority Policy at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, deals with minority issues and ethnic diversity in the region of Eastern and Central Europe, so if that’s a topic that interests you personally, it could be a great option for you. It costs 1500 EUR per semester for non-EEA students, lasts for 2 years, full time and covers Nationalism and Ethnicity; Social Psychology of Inter-group Relations; Theory of Migration; Minority Policy, Public Policy; plus a number of other modules.  

The University of California, San Diego, USA, offers a Master’s in Ethnic Studies, which emphasizes comparative, analytic and relational study of ethnicity and race in the United States. It’s a 2-year, full-time program that focuses on intercultural communication and conflict, population histories of the Americas, ethnicity and identity, immigration and assimilation, race and racism, gender and ethnicity, sexuality, cultural pluralism, plus many other interesting topics within its four modules.

If London is more your jam, the London School of Economics and Political Science runs a M.Sc. in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies, which is a one-year, full-time course costing nearly 18,000 EUR with a variety of compulsory and optional courses. Compulsory courses include Topics in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies and a dissertation. Optional topics include Anthropology of South Africa; Anthropology and Human Rights; Globalization, Gender and Development; Nationalism; Racial Formations of Modernity; Political Reconciliation; Globalization: Economy, Politics and Power; and Race, Violence and Colonial Rule in Africa.

If you don’t want to focus on any region specifically, Malmö University in Sweden runs a M.A. in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, which focuses on current international developments and research perspectives in migration and ethnic relations; the effects of globalization and human mobility on societies, groups and individuals; the social and political adaptation and integration of ethnic minorities in different societies; plus many other fascinating, globally-focuses topics. The tuition fees are 8400 EUR, and this is a full-time, 2-year course with four semesters. 

If you are fascinated by migration law and want a more secure career path, you could study the Master’s in International Migration and Refugee Law at VU University Amsterdam, if you have studied at least one year (60 ECT credits) of law subjects, including some international and European Law or some other background in law. This is a one-year, full-time course and costs 9600 EUR for international students and 1951 EUR for EEA students. You’ll study Migration and Refugee Law, as well as a course on Legal Remedies for Migrants.

There are a lot of jobs for Social Workers across the globe in the field of migration and ethnicity. The University of Haifa, Israel offers students an M.A. in Social Work with a focus on Multiculturalism, which explores the vantage points of marginalized and minority populations in the context of mainstream society. This is a one-year, full-time program costing 9000 USD for international students. Core modules include Theories of Multiculturalism and Social Work; Conflict and Negotiation of Normalcy and Deviance in Various Cultures; Migration, Immigration and Being a Refugee; Social Policy in Multicultural Contexts; and elective courses like Children and Youths; Working with Violence in Intimate Relationships among Immigrants and Minorities, as well as other courses.

Although work experience is hugely important when getting a job in the humanitarian field, delaying your entry into the world of work and studying a specialization may be one of the best moves you can make. It will allow you to do more good, help more people in a tangible way and get paid more for doing it.

If you’d like some help applying for master’s programs, please do let us know. We’re constantly helping students get into the program of their dreams, and we’d love to make the process easier for you, too.

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PHD in African Studies Sample 1st Paragraph

I obtained my LLB in my home country, Ethiopia and completed my LLM at Howard University. It is perhaps ironic that I have come to truly love Africa the most, and to have profound hope for her, only as a result of coming to America and completing my LLM at Howard. My short term professional dream is to be a university professor in my home country. I see your particularly distinguished PHD program in African Studies at XXXX University as the best fit for my interests given your thoroughgoing and interdisciplinary focus on development and public policy. My heart is back in Ethiopia and I want to return well prepared for my maximum contribution. Development Studies are still in their infancy in Africa and there is much work to be done. After teaching in Ethiopia for a few years, I hope to move on and become engaged with a regional organization such as the African Union, always working on development issues and making good use of my legal background.

Ethnic Studies: Saving Lives, Sacred Spaces & Solidarity

Statements of Excellence for Admission to Graduate School in Ethnic Studies

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Campus strikes beginning in the 1960s, driven by the demands of students of color and others in the Third World Liberation Front demanded an increase of students of color, faculty of color, and a more comprehensive curriculum that spoke the concerns and needs of marginalized communities of color. This resulted in the School of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

 Today, we continue to support Interdisciplinary Studies for Native-American, Black, Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Asian Americans, supporting student actions and working to foster interdisciplinary discussion for scholars, activities, and community members concerned with the national and international aspects of ethnicity.  We continue to examine the interlocking forces of domination that are rooted in socially constructed categories of gender, sexuality, class, and race and committed to challenging paradigms that systematically marginalize the experiences of diverse national and international populations.  As scholars and researchers we are also committed to nurturing civic-minded and culturally informed students who strive to strengthen their communities.

Why ethnic studies matters

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