New Students

Welcome to LALS!

Start here if you are a:

Have you decided which of our majors you are interested in? You can review all of the options here. Some things you might consider:

  • Would your educational and/or career goals include bilingualism as an asset or necessity?
  • Do you have an interest in political theory or sociology that you could explore in one of our combined majors?

We encourage you to reach out to if you would like to talk over the options with a program advisor.


All of our majors are required to experience our introductory LALS course:

  • LALS 1: Introduction to Latin American and Latino Studies
    Interdisciplinary introduction presenting the elements for studying Latin American politics and economics, culture, and society as well as the dynamics of Latino communities in the U.S. Special attention paid to issues of colonialism, human rights, U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America, racism, capitalist globalization, migration, to emerging political and economic shifts in the Americas, and to new local and transnational efforts for social change on the part of Latin America's peoples and Latinos in the U.S.

Students tell us they love this course because it changes how they view the world! LALS 1 is offered in fall, winter, and summer, and we recommend jumping in as soon as you decide to major in LALS.


More Requirements and Opportunities

Our Undergraduate and Advising pages are full of information for LALS students. Are you curious about Undergraduate Research? Or Major Requirements? Maybe you want to get a jump on thinking about your Academic Success at UCSC, or the Scholarships and Awards available to you.

If you'd like to learn more about our Faculty and program in the media, check out the News page, and then get ready to attend faculty Office Hours so you can make a connection.


Language Requirement

Attention: changes to the 2022-2023 General Catalog offer students enrolled in the 2022-23 academic year the following options:

  • An LALS BA with no language requirement
  • LALS/Politics and LALS/Sociology combined BAs with no language requirement
  • An LALS Language Intensive BA with at least 2 language electives

In the catalog year 2021-2022 (and years prior), majors in LALS were required to complete two courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese. One course was required for combined majors with Politics and Sociology).

For students with catalog years of 2021-22 or before, read on for Language Requirement Information:

  • Students assess their language preparation through the Language Studies Program. Placement exams may be used to enroll in the appropriate language-instruction courses, or to help direct self-study, to prepare for enrollment in a required course(s):
  • Contact the LALS Undergraduate Program Coordinator for more information.
  • When possible, we strongly encourage students to consider study in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country or community; in fact, study abroad may be necessary to complete two LALS courses taught in Portuguese depending on when students begin the major. Explore your study abroad options, and be sure to look at deadlines, which come up many months before departure. In many cases you can use your Financial Aid to study abroad.
  • It is also never too soon to explore the many support services UCSC provides to its students.
  • LALS students can take 2 pre-approved electives outside of our program, including courses taught in Spanish or another approved langauge; transfer students can take up to 4 courses including transfer work. Students who study abroad may take up to 3 courses outside of LALS.