Beginning in 1968, the Black Studies, Chicano Studies and Native American Studies Programs evolved as separate entities in different units at the University of Utah.
By the 1976-1977 academic year, the programs consolidated to form the core of the Ethnic Studies Program. The College of Humanities became the housing, or sponsoring, unit for its minor.
Four programs currently constitute the UUSEDP: The African American, Asian/Pacific American, Chicana/o, and the American Indian Studies Programs. Although a class in the Asian American Experiences had been taught since 1987, the newest program, Asian/Pacific American Studies, has been in place since 1989.
The UUESP regards itself to be a scholarly-academic program with a focus on the distinctive social, political, cultural, linguistic and historical experiences of ethnic minorities in the United States.