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Latin American Studies: Undergraduate Programs


As an interdisciplinary area study program focusing on Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Latin America, the Latin American Studies (LAS) major does not lend itself to an easily quantifiable set of criteria for assessment of its students. However, as part of a small but growing program (graduating 15 to 20 students a year), LAS majors benefit from in depth advising and monitoring of their progress through the degree program. The major advisor is Raúl Saba, the Associate Director of the program. Pursuing coursework largely in the social sciences and humanities (but with increasing options opening up in business, education and the environmental sciences), LAS students most often do not fit into the typical disciplinary mold. Nevertheless, the following areas of content knowledge, intellectual skills, and attitudinal development are basic to the undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies. For specific information on and requirements for the undergraduate major and minor, see


Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Content Knowledge

  • Appreciation of the cultural, historical and sociopolitical realities of Latin America
  • Awareness and understanding of the diversity in the social, cultural, environmental and demographic milieu of Latin America and a general knowledge of the overarching factors that tenuously bind the region together as well as create its complexity, such as its indigenous roots, Ibero-Catholic heritage, economic and political development, and conditions of inequality and poverty
  • Knowledge of several of the themes or issues (cultural development, environment, socioeconomic progress, political change, democracy, etc.) which are important to understanding contemporary Latin America and also reflect the concerns of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities

Intellectual Skills

  • Proficiency at the upper intermediate level in speaking, reading, and writing Spanish or Portuguese
  • Proficiency in one of the social science or humanities disciplines offering an area focus on Latin America with competency in two others (each student is required to take four courses in one area of concentration, e.g., history, Spanish, geography, etc. and 2 courses each in two other disciplines; the area of concentration may be multidisciplinary itself with a geographic focus on Mexico or Brazil)
  • Proficiency in writing, computer literacy, and library research Practical experience through an internship and/or study abroad (recently formalized in the “Latin American Immersion Experience” requirement)

Attitudinal Development

  • Appreciation of and even affinity for the cultural manifestations of the region, especially in terms of language, literature, music, dance, food and popular culture, including an attitude that might facilitate travel, volunteer work or business interactions with the region
  • Ability to better relate to Latino populations in the United States
  • Capacity to critically evaluate US foreign policy and press coverage of Latin America in ways that promote informed voting and/or advocacy
Updated date: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 10:20