Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies


Admission to the Major

To be admitted to the CRES program, students must obtain signatures of their home department adviser and a CRES committee member on their declaration of major form. Students should use this opportunity to discuss their proposed course of study with a CRES committee member, ensuring that CRES courses will be offered in the semesters proposed and that all of the major requirements will be met. Note that in some departments only certain pairs of courses may be combined to satisfy CRES major requirements; please see the list of CRES courses and qualifying pairs.

Junior Qualifying Examination

CRES students are required to pass a junior qualifying exam, which consists of passing the qual in their home department and passing CRES 300. If CRES 300 is not passed but the home department qual is passed, the student may either redeclare as a major in their home department (anthropology, dance, English, history, music, religion, sociology, or theatre) and start thesis in that department in the next semester or they may retake CRES 300 the following year. If CRES 300 is failed twice, the student may no longer major in CRES. If CRES 300 is passed but the home department qual is not, the student is not considered to have passed the CRES qual until the home department qual is passed. Students going on terms abroad must make early arrangements to complete the requirements of the junior qualifying examination. This is their responsibility. Standard accommodations can be made for students on terms abroad; however, if at all possible, students who plan to be abroad in their second semester of their junior year should take the Junior Seminar prior to departing.


Students must complete a thesis with a focus on comparative race and/or ethnicity. A research proposal for the thesis should be turned in to the committee by noon of Monday of the fourth week of the first semester of the senior year. For CRES-HSS majors, this will be turned in to the HSS moodle; for other majors, to the CRES administrator. The home department will assign an advisor. Based on the proposal and the advisor’s recommendation, the committee will assign a CRES reader from a different discipline than the home department for the thesis. The CRES reader may also be the first draft reader.

It is normally at least two double-spaced, typewritten pages. In the proposal, the student defines the thesis topic, discusses its significance, explains the approach to be used in researching the topic, and presents a short bibliography of relevant secondary works and/or primary resources. Thesis assessment is done via the procedures of the home departments.

Major Planners

The Registrar's Office has prepared major planners for each CRES major:

Sample plans for CRES majors starting as first-year or second-year students are also available.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies (CRES) major, students will have developed the skills and knowledge required for successful completion of the major in their home department (anthropology, dance, history, music, sociology, or theatre) as well as a range of analytical skills to study race and ethnicity.

For the learning outcomes for the home departments, see:

Additional CRES learning outcomes:

  • Ability to explore the way race and ethnicity can be analyzed from interdisciplinary perspectives
  • Ability to interrogate the categories of 'race' and 'ethnicity' a) both together and in relation to each other, and b) as designating or emerging out of separate politics of difference and otherness.

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis; the junior qualifying examination, which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a second assessment tool. CRES majors take the junior qualifying examination in their home department. See more information on the CRES junior qualifying examination and thesis.