Borderlands and Ethnic Studies - Graduate Certificate

Borderlands and Ethnic Studies (BEST) is a multidisciplinary program that critically explores the social, historical, cultural, and legal ways communities experience and navigate social constructs such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. These constructs permeate life, are entrenched in social structures and institutions, and shift and mutate over place and time in ways that reproduce existing power relations. The program outlines and analyzes the history, cultural production, politics and consequences of racialization and identity formation from an Indigenous, Diasporic and Transnational/Transborder, Decolonizing approach that remains rooted in a place-based, Borderlands imperative.

The graduate certificate advances an understanding of human relationships informed by unequal power and resource distribution to prepare students for service in various fields such as: education, government, law enforcement, health, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, communications, social work, law and policy, public history, business and social entrepreneurship, and others. The certificate addresses a growing need for knowledge and skills in the areas of cultural competency, equity and inclusion, critical thinking an conscientious problem solving, and effectively working with diverse populations.

Within the field of education, currently employed teachers and future teachers will be trained in historical and contemporary knowledge of Borderlands and ethnic Studies through a locally-relevant approach. nationally, Ethnic Studies is part of a burgeoning K-12 and higher education focus because of its potential for creating stronger and healthier communities. This certificate serves a growing cadre of educators as well as others pursuing careers in the public services sector. The certificate is comprised of 15 credits of graduate level work.

The certificate serves:

  • Current NMSU degree seeking graduate students who wish to expand their primary area of study to include a specialization in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies.
  • Non-degree seeking professionals who have completed an undergraduate degree in any major and who wish to invite, refresh, update and extend their knowledge and skill sets in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies.


The Graduate Certificate in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies is offered in the traditional classroom format as well as on-line. The program is designed to be completed in 4 semesters, with a requirement to successfully culminate in completion of BEST 513 Capstone in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies - which will be tailored to the students' trajectory. Students must earn a minimum 3.0 in all 5 courses, including the Elective.

The certificate may be completed as a stand-alone certification or in conjunction with a graduate degree in another field.

If you wish to complete a graduate certificate, you must apply for admission to this program. Even if you already enrolled in a graduate program at NMSU, you will need to complete a separate application to be admitted to the certificate program. Once you have been admitted to the program and have completed all of the necessary coursework, you will need to file a Completion of Graduate Certificate form to be awarded the certificate.

Please contact the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies Advisor to further assist in completion of the application.

Prefix Title Credits
BEST 510Foundations in Borderlands & Ethnic Studies3
BEST 511Decolonial Research Methodologies I3
BEST 512Theories in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies3
BEST 513Capstone in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies3
Elective Course 13
Total Credits15

Student and director selection

A Suggested Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
BEST 510 Foundations in Borderlands & Ethnic Studies 3
BEST 511 Decolonial Research Methodologies I 3
Second Year
BEST 512 Theories in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies 3
Elective Course 1 3
BEST 513 Capstone in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies 3
 Total Credits15

Student and Director selection