The Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program offers a major for undergraduate students enrolled at UTSA. The mission of the MAS is to draw on the legacy of Mexican American and Chicano activism and history in San Antonio and the Texas-Mexico borderlands to teach, research and analyze the experiences, history, and culture of Mexican-origin, Chicano and Latina/o populations. MAS recognizes UTSA students as agents of conocimiento, preparing them to critically interrogate the sociopolitical, legal, economic, and social conditions that foster the structural marginalization Mexican American, Chicana/o and Latina/o communities are subject to, as well as study and appreciate the mechanisms of resistance, perseverance, and cultural traditions and expressions that challenge that oppression. To do so, MAS cultivates transformative experiences, spaces and relationships that allow students to draw on their conocimiento to produce salient applied research to effect positive social change in their comunidades (communities).
The MAS curricula addresses structural and historical context of the life, history, and culture of Mexican-origin people in the United States. Indeed, this content is grounded in research that recognizes that the positive affirmation of a racial, ethnic, and/or cultural identity role ethnic studies courses provide function to increase the retention, persistence, and graduation rates of students of color. As such, MAS courses helped to cultivate a new generation of educated public citizens empowered to improve the quality of life of Mexican-American and Chicana/o communities in San Antonio, Texas, and across the nation.
In addition, a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Mexican American Studies (MAS) enhances all fields of study and professions by providing cultural affirmation, appreciation for diversity, and an understanding of systemic inequities. MAS majors can choose from eight areas of concentration:
• literary and cultural studies
• families, communities, and children
• non-profit management
• political science
Approximately 80% of MAS majors graduate with dual degrees—one in MAS and the second in the field of their choice.
MAS graduates are valued as bilingual and culturally aware professionals. By offering a range of concentrations from history to public policy, MAS majors gain skills that are invaluable for professions such as education, business, law, public policy, health care, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. In addition, the critical analytic tools, theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches used in MAS prepares undergraduate students to pursue graduate education. Current MAS alumni working in the following areas:
• work in health, non-profit
and administrative careers;
• are business-owners and entrepreneurs;
• serve as teachers/educators in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities; and
• completed or are pursuing professional degrees, graduate degrees, or law degrees.
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