New Students

Welcome to LALS!

Start here if you are a:

Welcome to Fall 2020: Video of LALS Faculty 

Are you feeling overwhelmed? You might enjoy reading another LALS student's experience in undergrad:

Dear Incoming Student, a letter from an LALS alumna


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

Majors in LALS are required to complete two courses taught in Spanish or Portuguese. One course is required for combined majors with Politics or Sociology). Students can 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):

Portuguese Placement: enroll in PORT 1 / Intro to Portuguese or for enrollment in a more advanced level see the placement guidelines.

Spanish Placement: take the online assessment or if you are a fluent heritage speaker, see the guidelines for self-placement.

We want to emphasize that students are not required to take language instruction courses. Students are responsible for placing themselves in LALS courses taught in Spanish and Portuguese. Other departments on campus may use language placement prerequisites for their LALS elective courses.*

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!

You may find it useful to review our major requirements as you prepare to dive into the major. 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; transfer students can take up to 4 courses including transfer work. Students who study abroad may take up to 3 courses outside of LALS. See our major requirements for more information.