About the LALS Department

Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) is an interdisciplinary department grounded in the conceptual bridging of the fields of Latino Studies and Latin American Studies. Our undergraduate and newly constituted graduate program in LALS provide students with unique interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives that investigate the historical, economic, social and cultural processes and forces that are shaping and transforming regions across the Américas. 

The LALS department was founded in 1971 as an undergraduate teaching program in Latin American Studies, and in 1994, the program became one of the first in the country to bridge the fields of Latin American and Latino Studies.  In 2013, we launched the first Latin American and Latino Studies PhD in the country. 

Our curricular offerings focus on four main areas of emphasis; 1.) Transnationalisms, migrations, and displacement 2.) Intersectionality, identities, and inequalities 3.) Collective action, social movements, and social change 4.) Culture, power, and knowledge. Our department offers both an undergraduate major and minor, as well as combined majors with the departments of Politics and Sociology. Many LALS majors choose either the combined or double major pathway, which allows them to combine our interdisciplinary approach with an academic discipline

The major in LALS offers opportunities to pursue careers in education, media, law, social services, health care, public policy, translation, urban planning, and higher education. LALS also encourages community service through faculty sponsored internships or study in Education Abroad and the UCDC program.  

Our department consists of eleven core faculty with expertise in the social sciences, cultural studies, history, ethnic studies, literature, media, public policy, sociology, anthropology, and politics.  Forty-three “participating” and “affiliated” faculty based in other departments are associated with LALS. Most of their courses count automatically towards the LALS major.

We invite you to explore our website and/or visit us during office hours.