Latin American Studies

The major in Latin American Studies is designed to provide a balanced curriculum in the history, culture, and society of Latin America for students wishing a broader perspective than is usually available through a departmental major. From the rich variety of offerings within and across departments, there is a wide range of possibilities to suit the interests of students. The program may be of particular interest to students who:

  • desire a balanced education that focuses on the Latin American cultural regions,
  • plan to enter business, government, or international agency service,
  • wish to teach social science or language,
  • are preparing for graduate and professional schools.

Spanish and Portuguese are required for the major. Students must gain an intermediate level of proficiency in one language and an elementary knowledge of the other. In addition, students pursue a multidisciplinary course of study that includes the history and literature of Latin America.

Major Requirements
Lower Division: 

2 courses

  • LAS 10 (Offered in Fall semester only. You must earn a C or better to declare. This course can only be repeated once.)
  • History 8A or 8B
Foreign Language: 

LAS majors must demonstrate an intermediate level of proficiency in a primary language (either Spanish or Portuguese) and an elementary level of proficiency in the secondary language. Intermediate proficiency is equivalent to four college-level semesters of instruction, and elementary proficiency is equivalent to two college-level semesters of instruction. Equivalency can be achieved through coursework, AP credit, examination and/or study abroad. For more information on how to complete the language requirement, see the LAS Handbook.

Upper Division: 

9 courses totaling no less than 30 units

  • Latin American Literature and Culture: (2 courses) Students must complete one of two course sequences, depending on the choice of primary language. All courses must be taught in Spanish or Portuguese. See the LAS Handbook for approved courses.
  • Latin American History: (2 courses) See the LAS Handbook for the list of approved courses.
  • Methodology: (1 course) See Appendix A in the LAS Handbook for the approved list of courses.
  • Upper Division Electives: (4 courses) Electives are chosen from at least two disciplines other than literature and history. At least 50% of the course content must be devoted to Latin America. Students may focus all four courses around a central theme (e.g., gender and society, religion and society, popular culture, or development) or a geographical region (e.g., Mexico, Central America, or the Caribbean), although this is not required. See Appendix B in the LAS Handbook for course lists.
How To Declare
Declaring: 

Applications are accepted during the fall and spring semesters from the third week of instruction until the last day of instruction (not the last day of finals). Applications are accepted during the summer from the last week in May until the beginning of the fall semester (not the beginning of classes).

To declare, you must:

  • have completed LAS 10 (You must earn a C or better to declare. This course can only be repeated once.)
  • have a major and cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher; and
  • not be in your final semester of undergraduate work
  • .

Additionally, students are encouraged - but not required - to complete two semesters of Spanish or Portuguese or the equivalent before applying to the major.

To get declared, students must both:

  • attend a Major Declaration Workshop (check the Teaching Program Calendar for dates) and
  • meet with an advisor to submit the LAS Application materials.

Bring a completed LAS Application including all materials and transcripts listed below to the Workshop. Application materials may be submitted after attending the Major Declaration Workshop. However, students will not be officially declared until they have both attended a Workshop and submitted all declaration papers.