Mexican American Studies

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/x 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).

About Mexican American Studies 

Dennise_CChavezMarch.jpgThe MAS curricula address the 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 functions 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.



What You Can Achieve!

Approximately 80% of MAS majors graduate with dual degrees; one in MAS and the second in the field of their choice.

MAS majors can choose from four categories:

  • Cultural Studies

  • History

  • Music

  • Social Justice

Graduate with a MAS Degree

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 prepare undergraduate students to pursue graduate education.
Apply today!

MAS alumni work in the following areas

  • Health, non-profit and administrative careers;
  • Business-owners and entrepreneurs;
  • Teachers/educators in K-12 schools, colleges, and universities; and
  • Completed or are pursuing professional degrees, graduate degrees, or law degrees.

Dr. Saldaña studies Latinas and the politics of urban spaces

Mexican American studies associate professor Lilliana Saldaña study how Latinas reclaim and transform political spaces across the country. Their new edited book, Latinas and the Politics of Urban Spaces, is the first volume of its kind to combine case studies by leading scholars to illustrate actionable 21st-century approaches for social and political activism.

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Given the interdisciplinary of Mexican American Studies, a major in Mexican American Studies complements and adds value to all fields of study and professions; including education, business, law, public policy, health care, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Another benefit of pursuing a MAS major comes from research that documents a correlation between ethnic studies curriculum and increased academic performance for students from racial or ethnic communities. As such, a recommended path for many students interested in learning more about Mexican American history, culture, and perspectives, is to double major in MAS and another field. Students can easily complete the 120 credit hours that allow them to earn a degree in Mexican American Studies and a different field. Furthermore, the academic rigor and critical consciousness-raising of the MAS program grooms college students toward pursuing graduate degrees.  If you are interested in pursuing a Masters or Doctoral degree, a MAS major readies you for the reading, writing, and theoretical challenges of graduate school. If you are interested in speaking with someone to learn more about MAS courses or the process for double majoring, contact Dr. Lilliana P. Saldaña, MAS Director,

Mexican American Studies (MAS) is an interdisciplinary academic field focused on the Chicana/o, Mexican American and Latina/o immigrant experience across historical, social, political, educational, and cultural dimensions. For a majority of UTSA's Mexican-American and Chicana/o students, MAS courses help them develop a foundational affirmation of their ethnic and cultural heritage, which, according to recent research, increases retention, persistence, and graduation rates of students of color. However, the MAS program offers all students the opportunity to learn about the Mexican American experience, while focusing on a discipline of their choice, including, but not limited to the following discipline areas:

  • Anthropology  
  • Communities, families and children (BBL)
  • Cultural (literary, media, music) studies
  • History
  • Nonprofit management
  • Political Science
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

Students enrolled in Mexican American Studies obtain theoretical knowledge and practical skills related to working with diverse populations, as well as research skills for developing, analyzing, and evaluating policies and practices impacting the Mexican American community. The program prepares students to become insightful, intellectual, and innovative thinkers and leaders who can work effectively in diverse and challenging contexts, with the following skills: problem solving, interpersonal skills, public speaking, teamwork, leadership abilities, critical thinking, cultural sensitivity/awareness, flexibility and adaptability.

The Bachelor of Arts in Mexican American Studies is an interdisciplinary program integrating Mexican American studies with a specific liberal arts discipline. Majors are required to complete 39 semester credit hours from a prescribed program of study that must include 18 semester credit hours from one of eight concentrations: Anthropology; Communities, Families, and Children; History; Literary and Cultural Studies; Nonprofit Management; Political Science; Sociology; or Spanish. The minimum number of semester credit hours required for this degree (including the 42 semester credit hours of the Core Curriculum requirements) is 120. Thirty-nine of the 120 hours must be upper-division. A maximum of 66 community college semester credit hours may be applied to this program.
Established in 1993, Mexican American Studies (MAS) continues the tradition of the Mexican American Civil Rights struggle by participating in the creation of a college-going culture for San Antonio and South Texas. It is housed in the Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department in the College of Education and Human Development. Currently, there are five full-time MAS faculty members, and over 100 majors and 80 double majors. The program has graduated close to 100 students.
Student Organization  
Mexican American Studies Teachers' Academy  
Activities & Events  

Contact Us

Dr. Lilliana Saldaña
Program Coordinator
Driana Galvan
Senior Administrative Associate

College of Education and Human Development
Main Building | One UTSA Circle | San Antonio, TX 78249
Phone: 210-458-4370 |