Hmong & Hmong-American Studies Certificate program

Undergrad certificate

Learn about the rich history, heritage and culture of Hmong Americans.

Hmong history reaches thousands of years into the past, and the story of Hmong people today extends around the globe.  In the U.S., Hmong Americans bring diverse backgrounds, experiences and service to their communities. 

Learn about the rich story of Hmong people that begins long before settlement in the U.S. and the Vietnam War. UW-La Crosse’s Hmong American Studies Certificate addresses the complexity of Hmong American developing identities in locations throughout the world, and is Informed by interdisciplinary approaches and rooted in UWL’s Race Gender and Sexuality Studies Department.

Career opportunities with a Hmong American Studies Certificate

Employers nationally are looking for employees with broad skills, including an understanding and experience working with people from diverse backgrounds. They expect the ability to think critically, appreciate multiple perspectives and participate in society as a conscious global citizen. Read more about employer expectations.

Studying another culture will cultivate awareness of your own identity and that of others. It will prepare you for your future by making you more employable and a more informed citizen. You’ll begin to understand how Hmong culture and other cultures are living, adapting and changing. 

What distinguishes UWL's Hmong American Studies Certificate program?

Well-researched, evidence-based tradition

A home in Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies Department grounds Hmong and Hmong-American Studies certificate in a well-researched, evidence-based tradition of scholarly inquiry. This foundation provides a strong starting point for exploring peoples’ experiences.

Strong community connection

The program has a strong connection to the community, supporting local events and conferences that promote Hmong culture and heritage. Courses may involve research with local Hmong organizations. La Crosse, Wisconsin is home to the Hmoob Cultural and Community Agency: HCCA; the La Crosse Hmong Faith Alliance, and other local and regional institutions and organizations.

Student organization

UWL has a student organization, Hmong Organization Promoting Education (HOPE). This group is an outlet for students outside of class. HOPE builds community, education, and family within the organization. They also support Hmong culture through the events throughout the year including: biannual Bridging the Gap conference, Building Our Future, and HOPE's annual dance.

Learn from diverse instructors

The Hmong American Studies Certificate is housed in the Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, a diverse department with instructors from a variety of cultural and teaching backgrounds. Program Head Shuma Iwai brings expertise in areas of World History, Asian History, Asian American Studies, Religion, Intercultural Studies, Race and Media.

Sample courses

RGS 362 Hmong Americans This is an introductory course to Hmong American history, culture, and contemporary life. The course reviews Hmong history within the context of U.S. foreign policy in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1975 and examines the sociocultural transformations that have been taking place in Hmong American communities across the U.S. since 1976. (Cross-listed with ANT/RGS; may only earn credit in one department.) Offered Occasionally.

RGS 100 Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Class This course provides an introduction to how race, gender, sexuality, and class have been intertwined and coexisted over time to produce and reproduce social inequalities in the US, in the context of a globally connected world. It explores the key concepts, theories, and historical experiences that form the basis of scholarly work in comparative race, gender, sexuality, and class studies. The creation, transmittal, interpretation and institutionalization of racial, gender, sexual, and class identities are examined through a human rights framework. Offered Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer.

RGS 490 RGSS Senior Capstone This senior capstone course is designed as a culminating experience for students completing a major in race, gender, and sexuality studies or a Hmong and Hmong-American studies certificate. This course has three content foci: 1) Students apply what they have learned throughout their major in RGSS. Alone or in groups, students research, explain, and develop a means for addressing a social phenomenon through application of the material acquired in their courses - particularly those in RGSS. This culminates in a presentation and paper to be given before an audience that may include RGSS faculty, CASSH faculty, and UWL students. 2) Students analyze the ways race, ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality have played and continued to play in liberating oppressive roles in social, political, or cultural institutions. 3) Students identify and learn about careers such as journalism, marketing, community and housing development, media, health and medicine, community and union organizing, social work, and a wide variety of positions in federal, state, county, and local governments. Prerequisite: RGS 100; concurrent enrollment in one of the following: RGS 335, RGS 336, RGS 340, or RGS 377. Offered Spring.