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Latin American Studies Program Overview

Latin American Studies (LAS) offers an interdisciplinary approach to learning about the politics, economics, cultures, and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. LAS uses this region as a framework for exploring thematic issues in such disciplines as anthropology, art, history, political science, Spanish and Portuguese, and communication studies.  Courses are offered in departments from every school and college, and our affiliated faculty research diverse topics from development economics to immigrant healthcare, from Latin American music to colonial literature. Our students become true experts who can speak to a wide range of issues confronting Latin America: experts who can contribute proactively to development and cooperation, as well as to business and political analysis in a way that their peers with a more traditional disciplinary focus cannot.


Degrees and Programs of Study

Latin American Studies MajorThe Latin American Studies Major is an interdisciplinary program with a focus on the study of social problems of Latin America. Latin America’s art, literature and religious thought have been universally recognized for their high quality and contribution to world civilization. At the same time, extreme social inequality persists in Latin America in addition to rapid urban growth, dramatic ecological change and political upheavals with powerful local and global implications. The Latin American Studies major offers a variety of courses that examine these issues. To complete the major, students must take twelve 3-credit courses in Latin American Studies, and demonstrate a reading and speaking knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese.

Latin American Studies MinorThe Latin American Studies Minor enables students to combine the requirements of their majors with the study of Latin America. It is designed to be of particular value to students who intend to engage in technical, professional, business, or government work involving Latin America. To earn the minor, students must complete six 3 credit courses in subjects with a Latin American emphasis, and demonstrate a reading knowledge and speaking facility of Spanish or Portuguese.


Students majoring or minoring in Latin American Studies:

  • Study the culture, geography, history, politics, and society of Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Gain an understanding of the background of the Latino population in the United States.
  • Understand economic development and underdevelopment from a comparative perspective.
  • Gain insight into interdisciplinary work in the social sciences from a variety of methodological perspectives.
  • Improve their writing and critical thinking skills.
  • Combine in-depth training in Spanish and/or Portuguese with the lived experience of speakers of these languages.



Internships have been available to students majoring in Latin American Studies through community organizations like the Taller Puertorriqueño, Congreso de Latinos Unidos and the Latin American Economic Development Association.

Many of our graduates go onto further study in graduate or law school. Potential careers include:

  • Anthropologist
  • Cultural officer
  • Interpreter
  • Lawyer
  • Public administrator
  • Police officer
  • Social worker
  • Teacher


Knudson Journalism Latin American Studies Award: This scholarship is distributed annually via faculty nomination and is available to students interested in Latin American studies, Latin America or Hispanic culture.


Faculty members from throughout the University devote considerable time to teaching and/or research related to Latin America. Below the list of our affiliated faculty in alphabetical order. 


Hiram Aldarondo, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Norma Corrales Martin, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Rosario Espinal, Department of Sociology

Kevin J. Fandl, Department Legal Studies in Business, FOX

Sergio R. Franco, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Victor Hugo Gutierrez-Velez, Department of Geography and Urban Studies

Allison Hayes-Conroy, Department of Geography and Urban Studies

Michael Hesson, Department of Anthropology

Jonathan Holmquist, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Heather Levi, Department of Anthropology

Augusto Lorenzino, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Patricia Moore-Martinez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Hortensia Morell, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Nancy Morris, Department of Media Studies and Production

Patrick Murphy, Department of Media Studies and Production

Harvey Neptune, Department of History

Pepón Osorio, Community Arts Practices, Tyler School of Arts

Marcela Pardes, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Hamil Pearsall, Department of Geography and Urban Studies

Joshua Pongan, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Rafael Porrata-Doria, Law School

Terry Rey, Department of Religion

Monica Ricketts, Department of History

Clemencia Rodriguez, Department of Media Studies and Production

Christina Rosan, Department Geography & Urban Studies

Adam Shellhorse, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Hillel Soifer, Department of Political Science

Merián Soto, Department of Dance

Sandra Suarez, Department of Political Science

Elizabeth Sweet, Department of Geography & Urban Studies

Paul Toth, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Pablo Vila, Department of Sociology

Ronald Webb, LAS/Spanish and Portuguese


TU Press Books on Latin American and Caribbean Studies

TU Press Books on Latino/a Studies