LALS Frequently Asked Questions

Street kid - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo courtesy of Alessandra Álvares)

LALS Frequently Asked Questions

 

Here you will find a lot of answers to common questions, separated in specific areas for your convenience. Please check this page before contacting the department if you have any questions.

 

Combined Majors

EAP, Study Abroad and UCDC

Faculty Advising

Language Requirement

Major Declaration

Substitutions

 

COMBINED MAJOR

- I am interested in combining LALS major with "x" major on campus. Is that possible?
LALS has combined majors with Politics and Sociology. You can read more about them HERE. Any other major that you wish to pursue along with LALS would have to be completed as a double major.

- I want to take a Sociology or Politics class but I am not sure if I can use it towards my combined major. Where do I find that information?
Please contact your advisor in Sociology and Politics. The LALS advisor can only help you with the LALS side of the combined major.

- I have to declare my combined major by the end of the upcoming quarter, but I am still missing a course from the other side of the combined major to be able to declare. Is there any way to extend the declaration process until the following quarter?
Yes. If you are not eligible to declare yet, check with your College Advisor what is needed in the meantime so that a hold is not put on your account. Most likely you need an Academic Plan signed by the LALS advisor. If that is the case, you can download the Academic Plan Form fill it out to the best of your knowledge, and make an appointment to see the LALS Advisor.

 

EAP, STUDY ABROAD and UCDC

- Can I use a course I took abroad or during UCDC program to count towards my major?
Yes. As long as it is an upper division course, university level, equivalent to at least 5 quarter units and has LALS content, it can potentially count towards your major, after an approval process. However, you may only use a total of 3 courses from outside the department.

- What is the approval process?
In order to get LALS major/minor credit for a class you took (or will take) abroad, you will need to completely fill out a "petition for waiver/substitution of major requirement" form (incomplete forms will not be processed), attach the syllabus from the class you took or will take (and any other material you find relevant), then submit these materials to the UPC (Undergraduate Program Committee) for approval. Bring the materials to the LALS advisor. Blank petition forms are available outside of the LALS office (Merrill 32). If you are not able to bring the materials in person, you can also send them via mail. The process takes about two to six weeks and you will receive an email from the advisor with the results.

- Where do I find the form I need?
The "petition for waiver/substitution of major requirement" form that you need is available at the LALS office, outside of the door in one of the dispensers, or you can download it HERE.

- I am out of the country or at DC and can't bring the materials in person. What do I do?
You can wait until you are back on campus to bring the materials, or you can send them via regular mail.

- I submitted the petitions already, but haven't heard back. Does that mean it got denied?
No. If you haven't heard from us in a few weeks, most likely it has not been decided yet. You will receive an email with the results (approval or denial). 

- I want to use the course I took when abroad to fulfill an upper division requirement AND the language requirement since the course was taught in Spanish. Is it possible?
Yes. Just make sure you indicate on the form each requirement you want to fulfill.

- Do I have to get approval from Admissions for courses taken abroad as well?
Admissions and department approval are two separate processes. Admissions has to accept courses so they can be approved for course credit. Without approval from Admissions, we can pre-approve for the major, but we can only count it toward the major after (1) it has been approved by Admissions (and shows up on your summary) and after (2) it has been approved by the department via the approval process described above.

FACULTY ADVISING

- I don't have a faculty advisor yet. What do I do?

Feel free to choose one if you like. It is not mandatory, but recommended to have a faculty advisor. Please see their profiles on the faculty page.  If you wish, select a faculty member you would like to work with, and then let the undergraduate advisor know whom you have selected. It is recommended that you choose an advisor whose research is in an area that interests you, but you are welcome to work with any available faculty.

LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

- I am fluent in Spanish (or Portuguese). Do I still need to take a class to fulfill the language requirement?
Yes. In order to fulfill the language requirement you have to take two upper division (university level if abroad), LALS classes taught in Spanish or Portuguese, one of which has to be taught in a classroom setting. Courses can be taken at UCSC or abroad. Language learning courses DO NOT COUNT.

- I took Spanish in high school. Do I still need to take Spanish?
Yes. In order to get to the level of Spanish needed to take the upper division courses in Spanish required for the major, students have to work on their language preparation on their own. This means either completing Spanish 6 or the Spanish for Heritage Speakers series. Please take the Spanish Placement Exam to find out what your current level is.

- I grew up speaking Spanish (or Portuguese). Do I still need to take the courses to fulfill the major requirement?
Yes. For those who grew up speaking Spanish (or Portuguese) but haven't done any academic work in the language, it is recommended that you take the Spanish for Heritage Speakers series, offered by the Language Program: http://language.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/spanish/spss.php. In the case of Portuguese, contact the Portuguese instructor to find out what is the proper level for you.

You can check your eligibility for the Spanish for Heritage Speakers courses here:
http://language.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/spanish/self_placement.php

- How do I know if I should take Spanish for Heritage Speakers or regular Spanish?
You can check your eligibility for the Spanish for Heritage Speakers courses here:
http://language.ucsc.edu/undergraduate/spanish/self_placement.php

- I finished Spanish 6 or the Spanish for Heritage Speakers Series. Which courses do I take now?
If you have already finished Spanish 6 or the Spanish for Heritage Speakers series and feel you are ready to take the two upper division Spanish courses to fulfill the major requirement, please check the LALS course list for the year, which lists all the courses being offered including the ones taught in Spanish. The list is available on our course page.

MAJOR DECLARATION

- I have not declared my major yet. What do I do?
Check the major declaration page for instructions.

- I have not taken LALS 1 and another lower division course yet. Can I declare the LALS major?
No. You have to take LALS 1 and/or another LALS lower division course (or equivalent) in order to declare the major.

- I am currently taking LALS 1. Can I declare the LALS major?
Maybe. If you have taken any other LALS course already, check with the LALS advisor. Ideally, you have to complete LALS 1 first (and another lower division course). However, you can then attend the major declaration workshop before required course is completed.  

- I already took LALS 1 and another lower division course, but haven't attended the major declaration workshop yet. Can I declare the major?
 No. You have to attend the major declaration workshop in order to declare. Please check this page for dates and this page for instructions.

- I have a hold on my account, and can't enroll for classes because I am not declared yet. I can't take LALS 1 either as it is not offered this quarter. What do I do?
Unfortunately you will have to wait until you can take LALS 1 (offered twice a year) and another lower division course (offered every quarter) as well as attend the major declaration workshop. Check with your College Advisor to find out what you need to turn in to them in the meantime. Most likely you need an Academic Plan signed by the LALS advisor. If that is the case you can download the Academic Plan Form, fill it out to the best of your knowledge, and make an appointment to see the LALS advisor.

I have to declare my combined major by the end of the quarter, but I am still missing a course from the other side of the combined major to be able to declare. Is there any way to extend the declaration process until the following quarter?
Yes. If you are not eligible to declare yet check with your College Advisor what is needed so that a hold is not put on your account. Most likely you will need an Academic Plan signed by the LALS advisor. If that is the case, you can download the Academic Plan Form, fill it out to the best of your knowledge, and make an appointment to see the LALS advisor.

- Should I just go ahead and declare LALS, and then change the declared major?
No. You should declare the major you are going to pursue when you are ready to do so. 


SUBSTITUTION

- I want to substitute a course I took at another college or university.  What is the approval process?
In order to get LALS major/minor credit for a class you took (or will take) elsewhere, you will need to completely fill out a "petition for waiver/substitution of major requirement" form (incomplete forms will not be processed), attach the syllabus from the class you took or will take (and any other material you find relevant), then submit these materials to the UPC (Undergraduate Program Committee) for approval. Bring the materials to the LALS advisor. Blank petition forms are available outside of the LALS office (Merrill 32). If you are not able to bring the materials in person, you can also send them via mail. The process takes about two to six weeks and you will receive an email from the advisor with the results.

- Does this course count towards the LALS major or minor?
Any LALS course and any course in our current pre-approved course list can be taken for credit in the major or minor (except LALS 81A - Mexican Folkloric Dance which needs to be taken three times to count for lower division credit in the major). There is, however, a limit of TWO courses outside the LALS department that can be taken for major credit. The updated course list, color-coded according to the breadth requirements they fulfill, is posted on bulletin boards at the LALS Department and on the course page.