LALS Major Requirements

A minimum of 11 courses is required for the major (2 lower-division + 9 upper-division courses). Students may find it useful to download and complete the LALS Major Worksheet as they map out their course requirements.


Lower-Division Course Requirements (courses numbered 1-99)

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


Upper-Division Course Requirements (courses numbered 100-199)

All majors must complete NINE upper-division courses.

  • Three Upper-Division Courses (must be taken at UCSC)
    • LALS 100: Concepts and Theories in LALS - offered only Fall quarter
    • LALS 100A: Social Science Analytics - offered only Winter quarter
      • 100A and 100B must be taken in sequence
    • LALS 100B: Cultural Theory in the Americas - offered only Spring quarter
      • LALS 100A + LALS 100B = the DC general education requirement for the major and combined majors
  • Six Additional Upper-Division Courses
    • 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 departments 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)


Using Courses from Other Programs/Departments Toward LALS Requirements

A maximum of two courses* may come from another program or 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 section below. Courses from another department that are already on our pre-approved list do not need to be petitioned. 

*Up to three education abroad courses may be applied towards the major (this includes internships or field studies abroad), once approved. These also must be petitioned.


Language Requirement

All LALS majors are expected to learn to speak, read, and write in Spanish or Portuguese, and to make use of these skills in their upper-division academic work.

Majors must take at least two upper-division courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese. These courses may be:

  • Pre-approved courses taught by another program/department on campus
  • Petitioned courses taken during education abroad
  • Petitioned courses taken elsewhere or at UCSC (and not yet pre-approved by LALS)
  • Internship or field-study opportunities with UCSC faculty (in Spanish or Portuguese)
    • at least one of the two required courses must be fulfilled in a classroom setting

Before taking upper-division coursework taught in Spanish or Portuguese, students' fluency should allow them to read, write, and speak the language sufficiently to complete upper-division coursework. Placement exams for UCSC courses may be used to assess students' academic preparedness and to place them into series for second-language acquisition OR in the heritage speakers' series. If students are unsure whether they need to complete additional language study before taking courses in Spanish or Portuguese, please see the undergraduate advisor.

  • 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.
      • Students must have completed SPAN 6, SPHS 6, PORT 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.


Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy that major's upper-division (DC) requirement. The DC requirement in LALS and the combined majors with Politics and Sociology are met by completing LALS courses 100A and 100B.


Senior Exit Requirement

Most students complete the senior exit requirement by taking LALS 194, the senior seminar. See our Senior Exit Requirement page for a full list and explanation of exit requirement options.



  • A maximum of two courses are allowed for substitution of LALS major requirements*
  • Substitutions by written petition and upon approval of the LALS Department's Undergraduate Program Committee
  • There are no substitutions allowed for LALS 1, 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 undergraduate advisor regarding requests for course substitutions

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

For any substitution petition, a detailed syllabus of the course and coursework is required (course descriptions are not sufficient). If you do not have the syllabus, please contact the institution to obtain it.
Coursework 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 education abroad courses toward 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 major requirements