LALS Major Requirements

Nayarit, Mexico (photo courtesy of Nikhol Esterás Roberts)

A minimum of 11 courses is required for the major.

All students are required to take LALS 1, Introduction to Latin American and Latino Studies, and one additional lower-division Latin American and Latino studies course. These courses are normally taken during the student’s first year.

All majors must complete NINE upper division courses

THREE UPPER DIVISION CORE COURSES (must be taken in sequence and at UCSC)
LALS 100: Concepts and Theories in LALS - offered only Fall quarter
LALS 100A: Social Science Analytics - offered only Winter quarter
LALS 100B: Cultural Theory in the Americas - offered only Spring quarter

Two of these upper-division courses must be courses conducted in Spanish or Portuguese. Students can fulfill this language requirement through taking courses offered by the LALS Department, by other units at UC Santa Cruz, or an appropriate course taken while participating in a study abroad program. See the section "Language Requirements" below for more information.

One LALS course may satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement (described below)

A list of courses with the requirements they fulfill can be found on our course page.

A maximum of TWO courses may come from another department, independent study, internship (such as UCDC), or another institution. This includes courses that are on our pre-approved course list. Courses from other institutions must appear in the student record on the UCSC Transfer Credit Summary, and must be petitioned. For more information on this process, see "substitutions" below. Courses from another department that are already on our pre-approved list do not need to be petitioned. 

Up to THREE abroad courses may be applied towards the major (this includes internships or field studies abroad). These also must be petitioned.


All Latin American and Latino studies majors are expected to learn to speak, read, and write Spanish or Portuguese and to make use of these skills on a regular basis in their upper-division academic work.

As stated above in the upper-division course requirements, majors must take at least two upper-division courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese. Courses that satisfy this requirement offered in the current year (both Latin American and Latino Studies Department courses and affiliated department course offerings) are indicated on the LALS website. In addition, the required two upper-division courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese may be taken during study abroad with approval from the LALS Department. Students may also pursue internship or field-study opportunities to satisfy one of the two required upper-division courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese; however, at least one of the two courses must be fulfilled in a classroom setting.

Before taking upper-division coursework taught in the language, students must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish equivalent to the completion of Spanish 6 or Spanish for Heritage Speakers 6. Students who wish to pursue Portuguese may take the Portuguese 1A/1B or 60A/60B series. Students who have achieved fluency in Spanish or Portuguese through life experience may be exempt from this recommended preparatory coursework after demonstration of their proficiency.


Language Requirement Waiver

Students who have shown good faith in attempting to fulfill the language requirement but were not able to complete the two LALS upper-division courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese might qualify for a language requirement waiver as long as they have completed Spanish 6 or Spanish for Heritage Speakers 6, Portuguese 1A/1B or 60A/60B series (or equivalent). Students will be asked to explain their good faith effort in attempting to acquire language fluency and their rationale for the waiver request. Note that speaking Spanish or Portuguese at home does not qualify for a language waiver. Please contact the Undergraduate Advisor for details.

Check our FAQ page for common questions and answers regarding the language requirement


Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in Latin American and Latino Studies and the combined majors with politics and sociology are met by completing courses 100A and 100B.


See our Senior Exit Requirement Page for more details

Substitutions can be obtained only by written petition and upon approval of the LALS Department's Undergraduate Program Committee. A maximum of two courses are allowed for substitution of LALS major requirements. However, there are no substitutions allowed for LALS 01, 100, 100A and 100B. Courses from other institutions must appear in the student record on the UCSC Transfer Credit Summary. Students must consult with the student adviser regarding requests for course substitutions. Forms for this purpose may be obtained outside of the LALS Office, or here.

Petitions for substitutions of transfer work must be submitted prior to declaring the major. 

For any substitution, the complete detailed syllabus of the course and coursework is needed. Course descriptions only do not suffice. If you do not have the syllabus, please contact the institution to obtain it.
Course work can consist of papers, exams, quizzes and any material produced in the class. Substitution is only possible with a complete package: substitution form, syllabus and coursework.

Four-year UCSC students may apply no more than three abroad courses towards fulfillment of the LALS major requirements. Transfer students may apply four courses from another institution towards the major.

Check our FAQ page for common questions and answers regarding substitutions