Master of Arts in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

  • Exterior view of Oak Hall.

Earn a degree in a one-of-a-kind program that focuses on the intersections of identity, place, and politics.

Countries across the globe are witnessing dramatic, transformational social and economic changes. Governments and citizens are polarized over how to respond to conflicts over immigration and border control, the rights and treatment of refugees, or violent encounters between law enforcement and racialized and colonized communities.

UConn’s Master of Arts (MA) in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (IIREP) offers you the chance to critically explore the historical and structural factors behind these changes.

It is one of the first programs of its kind in the U.S. that focuses on the relationships among politics, race, ethnicity, and indigeneity. IIREP scholars at UConn study the political identities forged through historical and ongoing struggle by nations of people for whom the Americas were home prior to the 15th century. These struggles, while involving responses to being racialized, focus foremost on interrupted and forcibly severed relations to land.

In this program, you will...

  • Gain experience that will increase your competitiveness on the job market, whether you work in academia, industry, or the public sector.
  • Be mentored by strong faculty researchers.
  • Join a community of graduate students from across the University.
  • Develop the ability to think, write, and teach about the relationships between indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics in the U.S. and globally.
  • Craft dissertation projects compatible with contemporary demands of academic book publishing markets.

Degree Outcomes

UConn’s MA in IIREP is especially valuable for current UConn undergraduates, recent graduates, or current professionals working in the public sector.

Our academic rigor and methods training prepare graduates to move at an accelerated rate through Ph.D. programs in the social sciences or the humanities.

Our alumni are well-positioned for careers in public policy, community development, non-profit work, lobbying and advocacy, law, think tanks, social work, and counseling.

Graduates will increase their professional competitiveness, potential earnings, and likelihood for leadership positions.

Program Details

Courses and Requirements

The Master of Arts in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics plan of study requires a minimum of 30 credits, including POLS 5000 (3 credits), POLS 5605, POLS 5615, POLS 5620, POLS 5625, ANTH/LLAS/PHIL/POLS 5800, and four elective three-credit 5000/6000-level courses with significant IIREP content. At least two, but no more than three, of the IIREP electives must be taken in the Department of Political Science (POLS). At least one of the four elective courses must have a U.S. focus while at least one must be global in scope.

Students are required to maintain an overall GPA of B or higher.

In each year that they are enrolled, all IIREP MA students must participate in one reading group session in which all core IIREP POLS faculty, IIREP Graduate Certificate, and enrolled IIREP MA students read and discuss one non-course book of relevance to IIREP.

Students must also participate in either a spring UCONN-based graduate student IIREP conference or one state, regional, or national conference, sharing research undertaken in their 3-credit POLS 5000 Independent Study course. For their Independent Study, MA students can elect to undertake a traditional research paper or projects related to their larger career goals and trajectory.

Sample Plan of Study

Students who are enrolled full-time may complete the MA program over three or four semesters or one and a half or two years in a plan of study resembling the one below. To create offerings that are amenable to the schedules of working professionals, we plan to offer some hybrid (online and in-person) and evening courses and some that meet in Hartford rather than in Storrs. Such courses are open to all students.

Semester 1
POLS 5620. Master's Project I
ANTH/LLAS/PHIL/POLS 5800. Proseminar on Race and Human Sciences

Semester 2
POLS 5605: Quantitative Methods
First IIREP Elective (for instance, POLS 5515. Critical Race Theory or POLS 5410. Black Feminist Theory and Politics)
Second IREP Elective

Semester 3
POLS 5615. Qualitative Methods
Third IIREP Elective (for instance, GERM 6480. German(y)-Africa(n): Dialogic Constructions of Self and Other in German Literature or LLAS 5610. Comparative Transnational Latinx American History or PSYCH 5170. Cross-Cultural Psychology)
POLS 5000. Independent Study

Semester 4
Fourth and Fifth IIREP Elective (for instance, POLS 5407. Politics of Inequality or POLS 5505. Race and the Critical Traditions of U.S. Law in Latin America)

The MA program director may approve additional classes, however, the following 3-credit courses have been pre-approved for the MA in IIREP: AMST 6000, ANTH 5035, EDCI 5875, EDCI 5830, ENGL 5530, ENGL 6400, ENGL 6450, ENGL 6540, GEO 5840, GERM 6480, HIST 5235, HIST 5525, HIST 5543, HIST 5565, HIST 5610, HIST 5622, HIST 5630, LAW 7529, LAW 7655, LAW 7703, LAW 7810, LLAS 5105, LLAS 5610, PHIL 5310, POLS 5105, POLS 5409, POLS 5410, PSYCH 6750, PSYCH 5170, PSYC 5370, SOCI 5501, SOCI/WGSS 5613, SOCI 6505, SWEL 5377, SWEL 5385.

Course Offerings for Fall 2023-Spring 2024

Fall 2023
Catalog number Course title Instructor Day Time/Place
SWEL5377 Urban Policy Issues Angela Bellas Tu 6:45-9:15 pm Social Work
SOCI5505 Racial and Ethnic Oppression David Embrick Tu 6:30-9:30 pm Storrs
HIST5570 Topics in Black History: Making the Black Atlantic Dexter Gabriel W 2:30-5:30 pm Storrs
POLS5105 Critical Theory Fred Lee W 4:15-6:45 pm Storrs
WGSS5395 Decolonial Feminisms Elva Orozco Mendoza Tu 4:000-6:30 pm Storrs
PHIL5397 Theorizing the Decolonial Turn Nelson Maldonado-Torres Tu 12:00-2:30 pm Storrs
HIST5525 Society and Culture in the Civil War Era Manisha Sinha M 2:30-5:30 pm Storrs
Spring 2024
Catalog number Course title Instructor Day Time/Place
EDLR6468 Critical Race Theory Frank Tuitt W 4:40-7:10 pm Storrs
ENGL6530 African Life Writing (pending syllabus) Eleni Coundouriotis Tu 5:00-7:30 pm Storrs
LAW7777 Race and the American Legal System Nadiyah Humber W 2:00-5:00 pm Law School
LAW7655 Employment Discrimination Law Jon Bauer MTh 5:00-6:30 pm Law School
POLS5409 Special Topics in American: Race, Gender, and Ethnic Politics Evelyn Simien Th 1:30-4:00 pm Storrs
POLS5105 Contemporary Latin American and Latinx Feminist Thought Elva Orozco Mendoza W 4:15-6:45 pm Storrs

Pre-Approved Courses

The following 3-credit courses have been pre-approved by the IIREP graduate certificate program. All instructors have consented to have their courses included. Because some of these courses use generic course numbers, the particular course title and instructor are also listed, along with the frequency of the course offering.

  • AMST 6000. Proseminar in American Studies; Chris Vials, English and American Studies.
  • AMST 6850. Crime, Policing, and Punishment in the US; Melanie Newport, History and American studies.
  • ANTH 5035. Anthropology of Social Justice and Injustice; Sarah Willen, Anthropology and Human Rights.
  • ANTH 5305. Race, Gender, and Science, Deborah Bolnick; Anthropology.
  • BASC 5300. Human Oppression, Miriam Valdovinos; Social Work.
  • COMM 5220. Group Communication, Shardé Davis; Communication.
  • COMM 5895. Cross-Cultural Communication; Diana Rios, Communication.
  • EDCI 5875. Multicultural Education; Mark Kohan, Education.
  • EDCI 5830/5847. Human Rights and Social Justice in Education; Glenn Mitoma, Human Rights and Education.
  • EDLR 6468. Critical Race Theory; Saran Stewart and Frank Tuitt, Education.
  • ENGL 5530. World Literature in English; Eleni Coundouriotis, English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Post-Reconstruction African American Literature; Shawn Salvant, English.
  • ENGL 6450. Special Topics in American Literature: Black Girl Magic; Katherine Capshaw, English.
  • ENGL 6450. Special Topics in American Literature: Black Abolitionists and Print Culture; Mary Ann Duane, English.
  • ENGL 6540. Seminar in Literature and Human Rights: Narratives of the Refugee Experience; Eleni Coundouriotis, English and Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Abolition and Slavery in Literary and Popular Culture; Martha Cutter, English.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: Multi-Ethnic Graphic Narrative and the Idea of History; Martha Cutter, English.
  • ENGL 6400. American Ethnic Literature: African American Literature: Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem; Shawn Salvant, English.
  • ENGL 6530. Cold War Assemblages: Postcolonial Perspectives; Bhakti Shringarpure, English.
  • ENGL 6752. Feminism and Its Discontents; Bhakti Shringarpure, English.
  • GEOG 5840. Advanced Topics in Urban Geography; Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Geography.
  • GERM 6480. German-African Connections; Katharina Von Hammerstein, German.
  • HDFS 5312. Diverse Families: Adaptations Across the Lifespan; Linda Halgunseth, Human Development and Family Studies.
  • HIST 5195. Reconstruction; Manisha Sinha, History.
  • HIST 5235. The Making of the African Diaspora.
  • HIST 5525. Society and Culture in the Civil War Era.
  • HIST 5543. Social Change in 19th Century America.
  • HIST 5565. Topics in the History of Urban America.
  • HIST 5570. Making the Black Atlantic; Dexter Gabriel, History.
  • HIST 5610. Comparative Transnational Latin(o) Am. History.
  • HIST 5622. Historical Literature of Latin America.
  • HIST 5630. Historical Development of the Caribbean.
  • LAW 7380. Critical Identity Theory; Jamelia Morgan, Law.
  • LAW 7529. Immigration and Workplace Rights; Sachin Pandya, Law.
  • LAW 7655. Employment Discrimination; Peter Siegelman, Law and Jon Bauer, Law and Human Rights.
  • LAW 7703. Election Law, Doug Spencer; Law and Public Policy.
  • LAW 7777. Race and the American Legal System; Nadiyah Humber; Law.
  • LAW 7810. Indian Law, Bethany Berger; Law.
  • LAW 7814. Refugee Law; Jon Bauer, Law.
  • LLAS/SOCI 5525. Race, Immigration, and Reproduction; Marysol Asencio, Sociology.
  • LLAS 5105. Race and the Critical Traditions of U.S. Law in Latin America; Charles Venator, political science and Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.
  • LLAS 5610. Comparative Transnational Latin@ American History; Mark Overmyer-Velazquez, History and Latino/a, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies.
  • MENT 5639/MGMT 5639. Diversity and Inclusion. Joelle A. Murchison; School of Business.
  • PHIL 5310/PHIL 5380/POLS5800. Race in the Formation of the Human Sciences; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • PHIL 5325. Africana Philosophy; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • PHIL 5397. Alienation and Freedom OR Global Southern Phenomenology; Lewis Gordon, Philosophy.
  • POLS 5010 Political Bodies and the Body Politic; Sandy Grande, Political Science.
  • POLS 5105. Critical (Race) Theory; Fred Lee, political science and Asian and Asian American Studies.
  • POLS 5105. Settler Colonialism/Indigenous Thought and Practice; Jane Gordon, political science.
  • POLS 5330. International Organization and Law; Jennifer Sterling-Folker
  • POLS 5409. Special Topics in American Race, Gender, and Ethnic Politics, Evelyn Simien, political science and Africana Studies.
  • POLS 5410. Black Feminist Theory and Politics; Evelyn Simien, political science.
  • PSYC 6750. Stigma; Diane Quinn, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5170. Behavioral Sciences of HIV/AIDS; Seth Kalichman, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5170. Cross-Cultural Psychology; Narian Ramirez-Esparza, Psychological Sciences.
  • PSYC 5370. Ethnic Minority Psychology; Monnica Williams, Psychological Sciences.
  • SOC 5501. Racism Theory; Noel Cazenave, Sociology; Simon Cheng, Sociology; Manisha Desai, Sociology; Davita Silfen Glasberg, Sociology; Matthew Hughey, Sociology; Bandana Purkayastha, Sociology.
  • SOC 5501. Racism and Ethnic Oppression; David Embrick.
  • SWEL 5377. Urban Policy Issues; Louise Simmons, Social Work.
  • SWEL 5385. Human Rights and Social Work; Kathryn Libal (Community Organization and Human Rights) and S. Megan Berthold, Casework.
  • WGSS 5395. Decolonial Feminism; Elva Orozco Mendoza, Political Science.


Our core faculty explore the relationships among salient social identities; persistent, structuring inequalities; and the nature of domestic and international politics under the framework of intersectional indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics. These scholars bring their work into their classes, giving students direct access to cutting-edge research.

Our affiliated faculty span a variety of fields, from political science and law to health and public policy, exposing you to a wide range of perspectives.

Access to faculty of color as well as course content focused on questions of indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics will contribute to the diversification of those teaching and what is taught in the university of the future.


Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by the core faculty; however, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible so that they can be considered for the Graduate School’s merit fellowships. Applicants are not required to take the GRE.

Applicants are required to submit:

  • A graduate application form
  • An official transcript with degree and conferral date (if applicable) displayed, from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions
  • Two letters of recommendation that speak specifically to the applicant’s research potential and interest in/commitment to intersectional indigeneity, race, ethnicity, and politics (when you enter the name and contact information of your letter writer, a prompt link will be sent to them so that they can upload their letter)
  • A personal statement outlining the applicant’s aims for seeking admission in the program
  • A writing sample

Potential applicants should contact the program director to make sure that their interests can be met by the program.

Costs and Fees

You will be asked to provide a valid credit card for a non-refundable payment of the application fee ($75.00).

In some circumstances, your application fee may be waived. Please refer to the UConn Graduate School Fee Waiver Policy.

Tuition and fee schedules for the MA in IIREP can be found on the Office of the Bursar's page for graduate students.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the IIREP master’s degree program begin accepting applications? When is the deadline to apply?

Applications for the IIREP master’s degree program are reviewed on a rolling basis; however, applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure consideration for the Graduate School’s merit fellowships. The application typically opens in September of each academic year. Find the precise dates and deadline for the current application cycle.

How do I apply to the IIREP master’s degree program?

Complete and submit an online application. Note: you will be asked to provide a valid credit card for a non-refundable payment of the application fee ($75). In some circumstances, your application fee may be waived. Please refer to the UConn Graduate School Fee Waiver Policy. Your application is not considered complete or submitted until your application fee payment is fulfilled.

Is the GRE required for admission to the IIREP master’s degree program?

IIREP applicants are not required to take the GRE.

What is the cost of graduate school attendance at UConn?

The total cost of attendance includes estimated direct educational costs and an estimate of indirect costs based on full-time (9-credit) attendance for both fall and spring semesters. Students are billed separately for each semester, and annual amounts are detailed on the Bursar’s Office website.

Is financial aid available?

Determining how to pay for educational expenses can be challenging and overwhelming. The Office of Student Financial Aid Services (OSFAS) is here to assist you in identifying options and provide information that will help you decide what works best for you.

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

To be considered for need based financial aid, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen. However, there are other options for funding such as Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. For more information, contact the Director of the IIREP master’s degree program to ask if these opportunities are available, and peruse the Graduate School’s list of external funding opportunities.

What are the conditions under which students must take the TOEFL exam?

Regardless of visa status, students whose primary language is not English must show evidence of proficiency in the English language by one of the methods detailed on the Graduate School’s website.

Is there a preferred GPA?

While a GPA of 3.5 or higher is preferred, there are no cut-off GPAs below which an application will not be considered for admission. Many people have had to put their academic, professional, and personal plans on hold for several reasons due to circumstances beyond their control, like the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand this and realize that it might be more impactful for you to explain your situation to us via the personal statement or an addendum to your application. There are no computational methods for making our admission decisions. There is no substitute for careful assessment of each applicant based on the totality of available information, including past accomplishments and future promise.

Is an applicant with IIREP coursework viewed differently than other applicants? What is the preferred curriculum?

The admissions committee will consider applications from all majors, every academic discipline. There are no fixed requirements, or preferred curriculum; however, the quality of your academic performance in a field of your choice, will carry significant weight. We look closely at the coursework for evidence of broad, interdisciplinary training to determine your potential for success in the program.

Who should I ask to write my letter of recommendations?

We recommend that at least one letter come from a professor, academic advisor, or other educational contact who can speak to your scholarly abilities. Applicants who have been out of school for several years and struggle to find an academic recommender may solicit letters from employers or others who have collaborated closely with them.

How should I approach the personal statement?

The personal statement should give the admissions committee a better sense of who you are as a person and as a potential graduate student. In many instances, applicants have used the personal statement to tell the admissions committee why they wish to pursue the master’s degree in IIREP, highlighting specific personal and professional experiences that speak to their career goals, and how the degree would better prepare them. Some applicants also identify a prospective mentor with whom they share common intellectual interests—preferably, a member of the IIREP core or affiliate faculty.

What length should my personal statement be?

The personal statement should be limited to two pages, with a minimum of 11-point font, 1-inch margins, and double spacing.

Contact Us

Potential applicants should contact the program director to make sure that their interests can be well met by the program.

Jane Gordon, Ph.D.

Director, Master of Arts in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics
Professor of Political Science, with affiliations in American Studies, El Instituto, Global Affairs, Philosophy, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Email Professor Gordon


Load More