The Hmong Diaspora Studies undergraduate certificate program provides students with a multidisciplinary perspective on Hmong history, culture, and contemporary life.

Wisconsin and the upper Midwest are home to large concentrations of Hmong Americans, making this area of study particularly relevant to UWM students. Political unrest and international wars forced many Hmong from Laos to leave their native land during the last quarter of the twentieth century and seek refuge in foreign nations. Hmong populations can now be found throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. Each area has its own distinct social, cultural, economic, and political conditions.

The certificate program includes courses about Hmong history, language, and culture, as well as classes that discuss the societal differences encountered by Hmong people. The certificate complements many different types of majors and is valuable for individuals who intend to work with the Hmong population in careers such as social work, education, public administration, law, journalism, international affairs, travel and hospitality, and global business.

UWM students have in recent years traveled to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam to complement their classroom experience with a study abroad trip.

Certificates are similar to minors in terms of credit requirements but draw on coursework from multiple fields of study rather than from a single department.


The Hmong Diaspora Studies Undergraduate Certificate is open to all students seeking a bachelor’s degree from UWM, to students who previously received a bachelor’s degree from UWM or any other accredited college or university, and to those who do not plan to pursue a college or university degree (non-degree students) but who have a strong interest in this subject. To be admitted as a non-degree student, the individual must meet regular UWM admission requirements. Students currently involved in baccalaureate studies who successfully complete the requirements of the program will be awarded the certificate at the time of graduation. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree and non-degree students will receive the certificate upon completion of the program requirements.


To obtain the certificate, the student must complete, with a minimum grade point average of 2.500, at least 18 credits in approved Hmong diaspora studies courses as indicated below. Of the 18 required credits, 12 must be taken in the College of Letters and Science, and at least six of them should be at the 300 level or above. No more than nine credits from any one curricular area may count toward the certificate. Twelve of the 18 required credits must be earned in residence at UWM. Of these 12 credits, nine must be taken at the 300 level or above. A maximum of six credits in independent study may count toward program requirements. Courses for the certificate may not be taken on a credit/no credit basis.

Independent study courses focusing on Hmong cultural groups may be accepted with the approval of the certificate program committee. Other courses that are not on the lists below but relevant to the study of Hmong people in the US and other parts of the world may be accepted with the approval of the certificate program committee.

Credits earned at other institutions equivalent to courses in the certificate program may be accepted in partial fulfillment of the program requirements with the approval of the certificate program committee. Students currently enrolled at UWM who have fulfilled some of the program’s requirements prior to the creation of the program may have their credits applied retroactively to the certificate program.

ETHNIC/HMONG 265Hmong Americans: History, Culture, and Contemporary Life3
Select 1 semester of Hmong language and/or literacy3
Select one of the following:3
The Vietnam War
Topics in Asian History: (with appropriate subtitle; consult Program Coordinator)
Select 9 credits from the list of approved courses 19
Total Credits18

At least 6 of which must be selected from courses with a primary focus on Hmong cultural groups.

Approved Elective Courses

Primary Focus on Hmong Cultural Groups

AMLLC 103First Semester of an Uncommonly-Taught Language: (Hmong)1-4
AMLLC 104Second Semester of an Uncommonly Taught Language: (Hmong)3-4
AMLLC 203Third Semester of an Uncommonly Taught Language: (Hmong)3-4
AMLLC 204Fourth Semester of an Uncommonly Taught Language: (Hmong)3-4
ENGLISH 192First-Year Seminar: (Hmong American Life Stories)3
ENGLISH 277Introduction to Ethnic Minority Literature: (Hmong-American Literature)3
ETHNIC 265Hmong Americans: History, Culture, and Contemporary Life3
ETHNIC 350Advanced Topics in Comparative Ethnic Studies: (Hmong Diasporic Communities)3
ETHNIC 299Ad Hoc: (with Hmong-related subtitle)1-6
ETHNIC 499Ad Hoc: (with Hmong-related subtitle)1-6
ETHNIC 699Advanced Independent Work1-3
HIST 297Study Abroad: (Exploring Laos – History and Culture)1-12
HIST 377Modern China (Exploring Laos – History and Culture)3
HMONG XXXAll courses in the Hmong curricular area

Secondary Focus on Hmong Cultural Groups

ANTHRO 150Multicultural America 13
ANTHRO 250Women's Roles in Cross-Cultural Perspective3
ARTHIST 386Art, Ritual, and Ethnicity of China3
ENGLISH 150Multicultural America 13
ENGLISH 192First-Year Seminar: (Southeast Asian American Life Stories)3
ETHNIC 102Transnational Migrations: People on the Move3
ETHNIC 250Selected Topics in Ethnic Studies: (with appropriate subtitle)3
HIST 150Multicultural America 13
HIST 269Asian Americans in Historical Perspective3
HIST 287The Vietnam War (if not selected above)3
HIST 372Topics in Global History: (with appropriate subtitle)3
HIST 402Topics in Asian History: (with appropriate subtitle) (if not selected above)3
HIST 436Immigrant America Since 18803
WGS 150Multicultural America 13

Students may count credits in just one of these courses toward the certificate.