Undergraduate Certificate Program and Minor in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

 Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Certificate and Minor
The Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies certificate and minor, provides a comprehensive view of Latin America and Latinas/os in the US from the perspectives of anthropology, art history, communication, economics, education, geography, history, politi­cal science, Spanish and Portuguese literatures, sociology, theater, and other fields. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the university's Education Abroad programs in Latin America and to spend a summer, semester, or year abroad.

The Certificate
The undergraduate Certificate Program constitutes the heart of Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies offerings, enabling students, regardless of their major, to develop a concentration in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies as a supplement to their regular disciplinary studies. Students entering the Certificate Program have an opportunity to study Latin America, the Caribbean and Latinas/os in the United States from the perspective of diverse disciplines and points of view. Those students who fulfill the requirements of the program are awarded a Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies attesting to their achievements in language and area studies. In addition, for students whose primary major is in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, completion of the Certificate fulfills the Global Education requirement.

Requirements may be satisfied by both regular cour se offerings and special topics and seminars. A list of available courses that may be used to fulfill the requirements is compiled every semester, and may be obtained at the Program office. It typically includes offerings in Anthropology, Art History, Communication, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Political Science, Portuguese, Sociology, Spanish, Theater, and Women's Studies. Appropriate courses from the Five College offerings may also be used to fulfill requirements, as noted below.

The two tracks within the Certificate Program emphasize either language proficiency or area studies. Students wishing further information or intending to enroll in the program should see the chief adviser, Dr. Gloria Bernabe-Ramos, Associate Director of the Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Program, 520 Thompson Hall, tel. 545-4868, to sign up and for advising.

Track A: Language Emphasis

  1. Languages
    1. Students must demonstrate a practical working knowledge, defined as the ability to engage in ordinary conversations and to read mature but nontechnical material, in Spanish or Portuguese. This knowledge may be demonstrated by examination or by satisfactory performance in either Spanish 311 or 312; or either Portuguese 311 or 312.
    2. Successful completion of the two beginning semesters of the other language (Spanish or Portuguese) or demonstration of equivalent competency by examination.
  2. Area Studies
    1. Successful completion of at least one of the following three introductory courses: History 120, History 121, History 297M, or Sociology 291L.
    2. Successful completion of at least two of the following courses: Anthropology 382, Communication 497F, English 491A, Geosciences 320, History 354, History 355, History 356, History 359, Political Science 245, Political Science 340, Political Science 345, Sociology 390XX, Spanish 322, Spanish 323, Spanish 417, and Spanish 497LL.
    3. Successful completion of two other courses with at least 25 percent Latin American, Caribbean and/or Latino studies content chosen from a variety of offerings across the curriculum. A list of available courses approved by the Program to fulfill requirements is compiled every semester and may be obtained at the Program office.

Track B: Area Studies Emphasis

  1. Languages - Students must demonstrate a practical working knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese. For details see above under Track A (1) (a). In addition, at least one of the area studies courses chosen to fulfill the area studies requirements below must be taught entirely in Spanish or Portuguese.
  2. Area Studies
    1. Successful completion of at least one of the following three introductory courses: History 120, History 121, History 297M, or Sociology 291L.
    2. Successful completion of at least two of the following courses: Anthropology 382, Communication 497F, English 491A, Geosciences 320, History 354, History 355, History 356, History 359, Political Science 245, Political Science 340, Political Science 345, Sociology 390XX, Spanish 322, Spanish 323, Spanish 417, and Spanish 497LL.
    3. Successful completion of three other courses with at least 25 percent Latin American, Caribbean and/or Latino studies content chosen from a variety of offerings across the curriculum. A list of available courses approved by the Program to fulfill requirements is compiled every semester and may be obtained at the Program office.

The Minor
The Minor in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies, which does not replace the Certificate, is intended for those students who do not have the degree of language competence required for the Certificate, but who are interested in developing an area specialization for their majors. Requirements include a minimum of six 3-credit courses selected as specified above under Certificate Track B (2). Note that the requirement that a course be taught entirely in Spanish or Portuguese does not apply for the Minor.

Students certain of their career goals may wish to concentrate on earning an interdisciplinary baccalaureate degree in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies instead of a regular discipline. For the student whose future work will be entirely in these areas or who intends to enter an interdisciplinary postgraduate Latin American Studies program, it is possible to major in Latin American Studies through the University's Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) Program.

Notes on Requirements:

  1. All courses used to fulfill the requirements of the Certificate and the Minor must be completed with grades of C or better.
  2. No more than three courses may come from the same discipline.
  3. At least one course must address the experiences of peoples of Latin American descent outside the Latin American and Caribbean region (e.g., Latinos in the United States).
  4. At least one half of the courses for the Certificate and Minor must be completed on the University's Amherst campus.
  5. Courses completed at other institutions, including the Five Colleges, must be approved by petition to the chief adviser of the program.
  6. The Certificate or Minor is awarded at the time of graduation, and will not be awarded if bachelor's degree requirements are not completed.

Career Opportunities
The main goal of the Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies Certificate and Minor Programs is to enable students, regardless of their major, to develop a concentration in the area as a supplement to their regular disciplinary studies. This concen­tration has proven very helpful in preparing students for the following types of occupa­tions: non-profit development and advocacy organizations working with Latin American and Latina/o communities; international development orga­nizations (Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank); U.S. government agencies (State Department, foreign service, U.S. Information Service, Agency for International Develop­ment, and so on.); multina­tional corporations with branches in Latin America; and national, state and local agen­cies serving Latinas/os and Latin American immigrant populations. For some jobs, addi­tional graduate work in either Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies or a traditional discipline may be nec­essary. Many students go on to pursue M.A. or Ph.D. degrees.

Five College Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

As an alternative to the University of Massachusetts Certificate, students may opt to take the Five College Certificate. Details are available from the chief adviser.

Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies

Thompson Hall
522 200 Hicks Way
UMass Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9277

tel (413) 545-4648
fax (413) 545-1244

las@econs.umass.edu