Undergraduate Program

Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS)

LALS integrates the study of Chicano/a and Latino/a communities in the United States with analysis of the histories, politics, cultures, and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. LALS courses deal with changing political, social, economic and cultural realities, including:

  • immigration and transnational communities
  • gender, racial, sexual, and ethnic identities
  • social movements
  • diverse forms of cultural expression
  • ongoing political and economic restructuring in Latin America
  • challenges of political and economic empowerment for Latino/a communities in the United States

We draw from interdisciplinary perspectives to understand these processes, including the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts.


Program Learning Outcomes

Students should expect each of their LALS courses to cover one or more of our program learning outcomes, with all students developing proficiency or competency in the following five areas by the completion of their LALS degree program:

  1. Critical Thinking. Ability to analyze from a transnational/transborder/translocal perspective—to see the interconnections between Latin American and Latino issues, people, ideas, problems, and solutions. This includes key skills, such as understanding sources, comparing arguments, analysis, and historical perspective.
  2. Research Methods. Working knowledge of social scientific and/or humanistic approaches to LALS relevant topics. This includes acquiring qualitative and quantitative skills, gathering or obtaining research data, finding/using primary sources, and other research methods.
  3. Communication. Key communication skills, including written, oral presentation, and digital, including an understanding of media sources and ability to apply media literacy to cross-cultural analysis.
  4. Language. Fluency in Spanish and/or Portuguese, in addition to English.
  5. Lifelong Learning Skills. Acquisition of practical hands-on skills in community engagement, cross-cultural fluency, familiarity with Latin America, and familiarity with Latino experience acquired through experiential learning while working with community and civic organizations.


Career Paths and Graduate School Goals

LALS provides the curriculum for students to develop the transferable skills needed to transition to careers and graduate school. Through internship and field study experiences and research opportunities, students can acquire and strengthen skills in any of the following key areas: community development/advocacy, public policy, education, journalism/media, performance, and research/writing.

Graduates of our program have made careers in a wide variety of fields, including teaching, community organizing, community and government service, journalism and the media, environmental science, global economics, health care, legal services, library science, music, publishing, and research. Many have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in the United States or abroad in fields such as anthropology, bilingual education, communications, cultural studies, ecology, economics, geography, history, law, literature, media, public health, and sociology.

LALS also highly encourages students to participate in off-campus programs, such as UCDC and abroad opportunities. Please see Global Engagement for more details on abroad programs. You can also check out our LALS pages on getting a job after graduation.


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