About the Department
“A mind placed at the forward edge of events and guided by knowledge uses the past, affects the present and helps form the future…”
Dr. Ernesto Galarza, 1977
The Department of Chicana/o Studies commemorated its 50th Anniversary in 2019-2020, and it continues to work from the premise set forth by Dr. Ernesto Galarza. Originally founded to address the immediate needs of Chicana/o students at CSUN, the department has grown and flourished because and in spite of the different times it has endured. From the political and cultural revolutionary renaissance of the 1960s-1970s, through the conservative and neo-liberal backlash of the 1980s-1990s, through the climate of the 21st Century, Chicana/o Studies at CSUN has committed to contribute to the development of well-rounded critical thinkers, participants of and contributors to society.
The department applies a pedagogical practice of humanization and self-actualization through a dialectical approach that aims to incorporate and synthesize various world views in the name of social justice, fairness and equality.
A primary objective of the department is to assist in the development of analytical and communication skills of students. The curriculum and pedagogical praxis introduce students to subject matter related to the multidimensional experiences of Chicanas/os. Chicana/o Studies offers courses in every academic discipline, except mathematics and science. Moreover, the department’s mission is designed to prepare students for careers in an increasingly competitive labor market and for graduate/professional school opportunities upon graduation from CSUN.
In this spirit, skills development in the areas of critical thinking, substantive research, public speaking, writing, artistic performance and creative expression is intended to prepare students to provide independent analysis and be accountable for their perspectives through methodical, substantive and clear presentation.
In the midst of this, the department and its faculty provide a flourishing artistic, performance and musical kaleidoscope of mentorship and instruction. On a visit to the department, one sees firsthand the murals created by students, and is serenaded by the vibrant sound of son jarocho, guitar and folklorico dance classes.
Graduate and undergraduate academic programs in Chicana/o Studies are particularly suitable for students who are preparing to enter the fields of community service, local government, teaching or social work. It is also preparation for those intending to enter various graduate professional fields, such as history, sociology, psychology, library science, political science, social work, law, urban studies and environmental studies. The Chicana/o Studies Social Science Subject Matter Major Option provides a pathway to teaching Social Science/History to 6th-12th graders, as well as a B.A. in Chicana/o Studies. The program incorporates ethnic studies content and perspectives into state-adopted curriculum. Students successfully completing the program will not be required to take the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET).
For over five decades, the Department of Chicana/o Studies is proud to have worked with students from the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas, as well as students from throughout the country and the world. Indeed, Chicana/o Studies at CSUN continues to be at the forefront in “helping to form the future.”
The Chicana/o Studies department helps students select the program and courses that best satisfy their individual needs and interests. Contact the department at (818) 677-2734 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment. The College of Humanities (COH) Student Services Center/EOP reviews students’ progress to ensure that the requirements of a major or minor in Chicana/o Studies are fulfilled. Call (818) 677-4784 or (818) 677-4767 to schedule an appointment with the COH Student Services Center/EOP.
The interdisciplinary nature of undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chicana/o Studies prepares students for work in a wide range of fields. Students find employment in areas such as education, community and social services, law, government, counseling, the performing arts, probation and business. In addition, Chicana/o Studies provides students with many pathways for graduate work in areas that include education, history, political science, sociology, social work, women’s studies, ethnic studies, urban studies, law, environmental studies and the arts.
Clubs and Societies
The Department of Chicana/o Studies was established through the combined effort of students and faculty in the 1960s. For this reason, it has always shared a special relationship with Chicana/o student organizations at CSUN. The principal student organization that has coexisted and developed parallel to the department is El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA). MEChA is the umbrella organization for various groups, subcommittees and a number of special ad hoc committees, such as Raza Youth Conference. MEChA often serves as an advisory organization to the department, as student input has always been crucial to the planning and implementation of departmental activities.
Chicana/o Studies Writing Program
Students have the opportunity to complete the University’s writing requirements through courses offered by the Department of Chicana/o Studies. The department offers three entry-level writing classes, two of which are “stretched” over two terms, A in the Fall and B in the Spring: CHS 113A and CHS 113B, Stretch Composition; and CHS 114A and CHS 114B, Stretch Composition. The department also offers CHS 115, Approaches to University Writing. Consult with the writing coordinator or department advisors for additional information on placements.
Further development of writing and research skills is provided in CHS 230, Introduction to Research Methods. Students may also complete their oral communication skills requirement in CHS 151, Speech Communication, after passing CHS 115. To support students’ writing needs, the department has a Writing Center open to students daily. A state-of-the-art computer lab and tutorial support are available Monday–Friday in the CHS Writing Center, JR 142.