Mission and Vision

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

The 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.

Marco Cervantes, Ph.D.


Marco Cervantes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality Studies


MAS Programs

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 groom college students toward pursuing graduate degrees. If you are interested in pursuing a Master's or Doctoral degree, a MAS major readies you for the reading, writing, and theoretical challenges of graduate school.

The Bachelor of Arts in Mexican American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that integrates foundational methodologies and theoretical frameworks in the field. Our MAS program is community-centered and grounded in the local, regional, and diasporic histories and cultural knowledge of Mexican American communities in Yanawana/San Antonio, South Texas, and beyond. Majors are required in:

  • History
  • Music
  • Cultural studies
  • Social justice

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, over 100 majors, and 80 double majors. The program has graduated close to 100 students.

MAS Teachers Academy

About Mexican American Studies Teachers' Academy

Scholar Activist response to prepare teachers

As part of the statewide movement to bring MAS into Texas public schools, UTSA MAS faculty Dr. Marie “Keta” Miranda created the MAS Teachers' Academy with the support of Dr. Marco Cervantes and graduate students. The academy is a community-powered, teacher-scholar-led effort that provides educators with foundational content and curricular support to teach MAS in PreK-12 public schools.

Since 2015, the MAS Teachers’ Academy has organized an annual, week-long professional development institute. Initially, it was designed for secondary social studies teachers who wanted to teach the Special Topics in Social Studies course, approved by the SBOE in 2014, and the Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies course, approved in 2018. It has since expanded to include primary and secondary education teachers who want to center MAS in their social studies, ELAR (English, Language Arts, and Reading), Spanish, mathematics, fine arts, science, and dual-language curricula.

Vision and Praxis

In 2020, the academy shifted to an online platform to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of moving the academy online, we have been able to increase attendance by providing access to participants state-wide.

Over the past few years, the academy has been able to count on the generous support of community partners like MACRI (Mexican American Civil Rights Institute) and IDRA (Intercultural Development Research Association), as well as expert MAS teachers. We also rely on the support of past and present MAS undergraduate students, graduate students, and community advocates.

As the only academy of its kind in the state, the MAS Teachers’ Academy introduces teachers to Chicana/x/o Studies liberatory pedagogies and teaching/learning approaches that speak to MAS' commitment to student empowerment, community self-determination, and social transformation.

Teachers who participate in our summer academy receive professional development credits and have access to readings, scholar lectures, curriculum building workshops, pláticas, as well as archives and special exhibits like Los Tejanos at the Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC).

In addition to our one-week summer academy, the MAS Teachers’ Academy offers Cafecito y MAS pláticas and teacher-led MAS workshops during the Fall and Spring semesters. Co-organized with Aurelio Montemayor of IDRA, these community gatherings and workshops provide educators with access to decolonial, Chicana feminist, and anti-racist pedagogies rooted in MAS.

Land Acknowledgement  

We acknowledge the Payaya – the people of Yanawana and the Tap Pilam Cuahuiltecans who are native to the South Texas and Northeast Mexico region, who live in occupied territory known as San Antonio. We also acknowledge the Carrizo/Comecrudo Nation, whose traditional territory we are living on. You are the past, present, and future caretakers and knowledge keepers of this land. We also acknowledge the Lipan Apache, Tonkawa, Kickapoo, Comanche, and other Native nations who were displaced from their territories and migrated to these lands – who continue to care for Mother Earth and maintain their traditional ways. 

As a Hispanic Serving Institution built on Coahuiltecan land, we’d like for us to reflect on the words of Indigenous scholar Clelia Rodriguez who reminds us that “It is important that we acknowledge that we are working, teaching and learning on these lands and consider what responsibilities we carry and how we can engage in meaningful commitments/expressions of relationship, reciprocity and responsibility to land and water.”  

Black Lives Matter solidarity statement   

As MAS educators, we acknowledge that white supremacy has been an insidious system of domination that has assaulted Black communities on this continent and globally for centuries. As a program, we are committed to transdisciplinary frameworks that center the knowledge production and contributions of people of the African diaspora in our curricula as a way of creating greater consciousness around our shared histories of resistance, political struggles, and movements for collective liberation. We also commit to dismantling anti-Blackness in our curricula by centering the histories and realities of Black, Afro-Chicana/x, and Afro-Indigenous people who have, for too long, been erased in white supremacist and settler colonial narratives.


June 17-21, 2024

We are excited to announce that this year’s theme is In Xochitl In Cuicatl or Floricanto. In Nahuatl, “in xochitl in cuicatl” translates to “flor y canto” and metaphorically represents poetry, art, and truth-making through the integration of poetry, music, self-reflection, and movement. Nahua poets wrote “floricanto” as a way of dialoguing with the heart and seeking the root of the truth. During the Chicano movement, Alberto Baltazar Urista Heredia, also known as Alurista, introduced floricanto as a way to affirm Chicano collective identity and pride, and instill political consciousness in our communities' struggles for liberation and social change. Today, Chicanx artists continue to engage floricanto as a way of sustaining our ancestral tradition of poetic expression with political purpose. 

This year, MAS teachers are invited to share a 250-word abstract that addresses how you’ve integrated floricanto in your MAS curriculum through Chicanx poetic language, Chicanx literature---including but not limited to Young Adult Literature, poetry, cuentos, short stories---teatro, performance, and other creative expressions in the classroom to:

  • Celebrate heritage and cultivate political consciousness.  
  • Recover lost histories, preserve ancestral knowledge, and inspire social justice.
  • Engender self-reflection (dialogue with the heart) with students as a way of deepening knowledge of the self in relation to community, the world and all our relations.
  • Cultivate a sense of belonging and sacred purpose
  • Create spaces of collective joy, dreaming, and beauty as “resistance/creation” (to borrow from Dr. Roberto “Cintli” Rodriguez).

Registration Form

Call for Proposals 

For questions, please contact Dr. Gloria Vásquez Gonzáles at gloria.gonzales@utsa.edu and Dr. Lilliana P. Saldaña at lilliana.saldana@utsa.edu


Watch the video to learn more about the MAS Academy:


Visions of Education Podcast:

Episode 113: Building Up Mexican American Studies with Lilliana Saldaña and Vanessa Sandoval

(April 25, 2019) In this podcast, Dr. Lilliana Saldaña and Vanessa Sandoval discuss efforts to create a Mexican American Studies course approved by the Texas State Board of Education with Dan Daniel G. Krutka, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at UNT.

For more information:

Email mas.ssacademy@gmail.com