**Now Accepting Applications**

We are thrilled to announce that we are now accepting applications for our PhD program in Critical Ethnic Studies! We look forward to recruiting a dynamic cohort who will begin studies in Fall 2024. Please see the application deadlines and admissions information below. 

Application deadlines for beginning studies during the academic year 2024-2025:

  • December 1, 2023, 10 p.m. MST (international applicants)
  • December 15, 2023, 10 p.m. MST (U.S. citizens)

About Our Program

Our Critical Ethnic Studies PhD program provides flexibility for students to pursue their individual research interests, while ensuring that they are grounded in both foundational and cutting-edge theories in critical ethnic studies. Our department is dedicated to interrogating the relational nature of race and its attendant categories, particularly gender and sexuality, using frameworks that account for the increasingly transnational ways that these categories are constructed, resisted, and inhabited. However, we believe that rigorous relational analyses can only grow out of deep groundings in the particular areas of Africana, Asian American, Chicanx/Latinx, and Native American & Indigenous studies.

Methodologically and theoretically, our award-winning faculty members possess training and expertise in interdisciplinary fields including ethnic studies, women and gender studies, cultural studies, political economy, political ecology, literary and film studies, border studies, and American studies, as well as traditional disciplines including anthropology, religious studies, history, education, English, and sociology.

We seek students who are motivated to map out individualized courses of study and are driven to pursue projects that advance the field of ethnic studies through demonstrated abilities in comprehending, creating, and applying theories, conducting original research, analyzing data, and writing effectively. Examples of our doctoral seminars include: Indigenous Thought and Theory, Decolonial Latinx Borderlands and Migrations, Decolonial/PostColonial Theory, Race and Citizenship, the Carceral State, Critical Race Theory, Colonial Trauma and Decolonial Healing, Race and Sexuality, Queer Biography and Theory, Indigenous Political Ecologies, and Womanist Ethics, among others.

Current Students

Please see the list of our current doctoral students for examples of the types of work that students are pursuing in our program.


We encourage students to articulate in their application materials why they seek to pursue a PhD in our program and with whom they envision working among our faculty. In other words, your application is an opportunity to state how your research interests for graduate school align with the unique approaches and skills of our faculty, as well as how your experiences and future goals might inform the field of critical ethnic studies. See this very useful article from Inside Higher Education for great advice on applying to PhD programs. In our review of applications, we look for strong writing skills, evidence of previous research experience (or the ability to demonstrate promise in research), and a clear idea of how our PhD program will contribute to your future path.

We further require that applicants:

  1. Hold a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  2. Complete the University of Colorado Graduate School Online Application.
  3. Pay a nonrefundable application fee of $60 (either by credit card with your online application or with a check made payable to University of Colorado). The fee for international applicants is $80. Note: We have a limited number of application fee waivers available on a first come, first served basis. Please inquire by email with our Graduate Program Assistant (grad.ethnst@colorado.edu).
  4. Submit one unofficial transcript from each college or university attended. Official transcripts will be required after admission.
  5. GRE – submission of GRE scores is optional for admission considerations into our PhD program. Please note: There are certain merit-based fellowships available through the Graduate School that require we provide GRE scores. If you wish to be considered for such opportunities, you must submit GRE scores with your application.
  6. Submit three Letters of Recommendation.
  7. Submit a scholarly Writing Sample (not to exceed 30 double-spaced pages).
  8. Submit a Statement of Purpose (not to exceed 2000 words) describing your past research or scholarly activities, teaching and community engagement in ethnic studies or affiliated fields, and explaining your current research interests and how they align with the faculty expertise and mission of our department.


The Department of Ethnic Studies prioritizes the funding of our PhD students. This funding typically comes in the form of Graduate Student Assistantships. Exceptional applicants will be nominated for competitive university-wide fellowships. Students are also encouraged to apply for national fellowship opportunities. Please see our Graduate Student Funding page and the CU Boulder Graduate School website for more information on funding and financial aid.