UCLA Will Finally Offer Pilipino Studies as a Minor in 2020, After 30 Years in the Making

The program will cover all the bases, from the Filipino language to its relationship with colonization.

The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) will finally be launching its Pilipino Studies Minor Program this school year in the fall of 2020. Through the Asian American Studies Department (AASD), UCLA’s latest program will focus on educating undergraduates on the Filipino language, history, diaspora, anthropology, geography, as well as the Filipino’s relationship with capitalism, racism, politics, colonialism, and more.

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It’s a project 30 years in the making, and finally, in 2020, the efforts of Filipino UCLA alumni will become a reality. In a statement, UCLA acknowledged the work of faculty and alumni to formulate the curriculum, garner support, and “keep and expand culture and language classes in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, [as well as] the groundwork in establishing the Pilipino concentration in Asian American Studies.”

The idea for a Pilipino Studies program first took root in the early 90s by a group of undergraduate and graduate students who were part of the Asian American Studies Center and the Committee for Pilipino Studies (CPS).

“A training in Pilipino Studies gives students the historical knowledge and critical thinking skills to imagine how to serve Pilipin[o] communities and fill the gaps in the existing literature, where the history, culture, and contributions of Pilipinos in America is sorely lacking,” said Melany De La Cruz-Viesca, associate director for the Asian American Studies Center (AASC), in the Asian Journal.

The AASD currently offers a concentration in Pilipino Studies for those majoring in Asian American Studies. The new offering of Pilipino Studies as a minor expands UCLA’s already diverse set of courses, and give the Filipino diaspora in the U.S.A. an opportunity to further explore their roots.


The timely announcement of UCLA’s new program coincides with UCLA’s call to support the Black Lives Matter Movement. CPS was guided by the theme of “relevant education,” which follows the same line of the reforms demanded by the movement, to reeducate America on the trials and experiences of minority groups.  

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Anri Ichimura
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