Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies

Students in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies (IRES) examine the lived experiences, philosophies, and histories of BIPOC communities; generate scholarship and creative expression; foster community; and develop the interdisciplinary tools to fulfill their potential as historical actors in creating a more just world.

IRES scholarship remains as urgent as ever, and our faculty, students, and staff work together to generate knowledge and form bold strategies for a better, more just future.

IRES is for everybody. We don’t just help you understand the world—we help you shape it.



Our Degree Programs

Undergraduate students can earn either a major or a minor in ethnic studies. Incoming graduate students can take classes toward either a graduate certificate or a PhD in Indigenous, race, and ethnic studies.

What You Can Do with a Degree from the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies

Students in our program learn to recognize and challenge systems of power, explore opportunities to create meaningful social change, and foster relationships across ethnic, racial, and gender lines. IRES education is world-changing, and it is often through their jobs that IRES alumni are able to do their most transformative work. There is no field where IRES training would be irrelevant, especially as so many institutions reevaluate their practices to plan for more just futures. IRES alumni go on to find employment in a variety of roles and capacities, including as:

  • Teachers
  • Tribal council members
  • Professors, educational administrators
  • Nonprofit directors
  • Organizers
  • Media producers
  • Social workers
  • Lawyers

Affiliated Programs

IRES houses affiliated majors and minors in the fields of Native American and Indigenous Studies, Black Studies, and Latinx Studies.

IRES alum Iton Udosenata

How IRES Can Enrich Your Career

“I initially chose ethnic studies as my major because I was a first-generation college student who was grappling with race, identity, and sense of belonging as I navigated public education institutions. My curiosity soon turned into a heightened sense of consciousness and purpose to serve the communities I lived in. I’ve dedicated the last 20 years of my life to public education in urban and rural settings, and I have often drawn on my experiences to improve conditions for underrepresented and underserved students and serve as voice of advocacy for positive change. I’m grateful for my undergraduate experiences with IRES because it has shaped the educator I’ve become today.”

—Iton Udosenata, deputy superintendent of Salem-Keizer Public Schools. '03

Composite image of IRES faculty members

Learn from Experts in the Field

Our department’s program of study pays close attention to gender and sexuality, heteropatriarchy, sexism, classism, settler colonialism, and genocide as they relate to race and ethnicity. Professors in IRES have multidisciplinary backgrounds and provide mentorship as students reflect on their histories, navigate difficult questions about dominant systems of oppression and war, and consider their roles in transforming violence in our communities.

IRES faculty member Lana Lopesi

Get Real-World Experience

Students in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies extend their learning beyond the classroom by engaging with communities, advocating for justice, and working to build a better future. They apply their skills in internships, foster community through creative expression, and connect with people around the world through study abroad programs.

Our History

Ethnic studies originated in the interdisciplinary and comparative study of ethnicity, indigeneity, race, and racism in the United States. Since its beginnings in the late 1960s, ethnic studies scholars have studied issues of social justice, identity, and resistance, highlighting the perspectives and experiences of people of color.

The research and teaching of the UO Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies examines the way race, as a system of domination, is intimately tied to issues of gender, class, sexuality, migration, indigeneity, and colonialism. With our students, we interrogate historical and contemporary manifestations of white supremacy and explain how systems of domination and acts of resistance create and recreate racial subjects.

And while ethnic studies traditionally centers the social construction of race in the US, it also pays significant attention to transnational migrations and diasporas resulting from the slave trade, indentured labor, colonialism, imperialism, and globalization.

Scholarships & Funding

Undergraduate students can seek funding through the College of Arts & Sciences and apply for scholarships through the department. PhD students are guaranteed support for five years via a paid graduate employee position. 

Undergraduate Scholarships Graduate Funding

Academic Support

Students in the Department of Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies can seek academic support, career counseling, and other advising services through Tykeson Hall or by consulting their program advisors. 

Undergraduate Advising
Support for Graduate Students

Honoring Native Peoples and Lands

The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional Indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their Indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, Kalapuya descendants are primarily citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and they continue to make important contributions to their communities, to the UO, to Oregon, and to the world.

In following the Indigenous protocol of acknowledging the original people of the land we occupy, we also extend our respect to the nine federally recognized Indigenous Nations of Oregon: the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and the Klamath Tribes. We express our respect to the many more tribes who have ancestral connections to this territory, as well as to all other displaced Indigenous peoples who call Oregon home. Hayu masi.

Indigenous, Race, and Ethnic Studies News and Events

June 25, 2024
INDIGENOUS, RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES, PHILOSOPHY - Sensors collect data on all sorts of information, including gait consistency, body temperature, heart rate, and more. But where is the ethical line between using sensor data to help an athlete improve their performance—and even avoid injury—and that same data being used to sideline them or used as surveillance of behavior?
June 18, 2024
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES, INDIGENOUS, RACE, ETHNIC STUDIES, - Staff and faculty members came together for the inaugural College of Arts and Sciences Awards and Hallmark Achievement Reception, which celebrated some of the achievements of faculty and staff. In addition to celebrating some of the college’s faculty members who have received accolades outside of the university, the ceremony featured the college’s first-ever awards that recognize the work of faculty and staff.
May 1, 2024
INDIGENOUS, RACE AND ETHNIC STUDIES - Associate Professor Lynn Fujiwara is one of three winners of the Tykeson Teaching Award, an annual prize given to one outstanding faculty member in each division of the College of Arts and Sciences who goes above and beyond in the classroom.

All news »

University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants
University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants Jul 30 Oracle Park
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles Aug 25 Everson Royce Bar
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair Oct 16
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture Apr 24 William W. Knight Law Center

All events »