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Latin American Studies Minor and Certificate

Contact: Gloria Bernabe-Ramos, Associate Director
Office: 520 Thompson
Phone: (413) 545-4648/4868
Website: www.umass.edu/clacls

The Faculty

Director: Sonia E. Alvarez (Political Science); Associate Director/Chief Adviser: Gloria Bernabe-Ramos; Associated Faculty: Joselyn Almeida-Beveridge (English), Theresa Y. Austin (Education), Marisol Barbón (Spanish and Portuguese), Benjamin Bailey (Communication), James Boyce (Economics), Marta Calás (Management), Mari Castañeda (Communication), Leda Cooks (Communication), N.C. Christopher Couch (Spanish and Portuguese), Francesco D’Introno (Spanish and Portuguese), Alexandrina Deschamps (Women’s Studies), Carlene Edie (Political Science), Gerald Epstein (Economics), Harley Erdman (Theater), Martín Espada (English), Francisco C. Fagundes (Spanish and Portuguese), Nancy Folbre (Economics), Manuel Frau-Ramos (Education), Patricia Galvis-Assmus (Art), Henry Geddes (Communication), Melissa González-Brenes (Economics), Patricia Gubitosi (Spanish and Portuguese), José Hernandez (History), Agustín Laó-Montes (Sociology), Luis Marentes (Spanish and Portuguese), Michael Morgan (Communication), Mario Ontiveros (Art History), Leonce Ndikumana (Economics), José N. Ornelas (Spanish and Portuguese), Ellen Pader (Regional Planning), Enoch Page (Anthropology), Priscilla Page (Theater), Daphne Patai (Spanish and Portuguese), Oriol Pi-Sunyer (Anthropology), Robert Pollin (Economics), Mohan Rao (Economics), Jane Rausch (History), Emma Rivera Rábago (Spanish and Portuguese), Rosa Rodriguez-Monguio (Public Health), Miguel A. Romero (Theater), Clara E. Ronderos (Spanish and Portuguese), Margara Russotto (Spanish and Portuguese), Randall G. Stokes (Sociology), Millicent Thayer (Sociology), Idalí Torres (Public Health), Jacqueline L. Urla (Anthropology), Richard Wilkie (Geosciences), Joel Wolfe (History); Library Associates: Isabel Espinal, Peter Stern, Barbara Stewart.

The Program

The Latin American Studies Certificate and Minor provide a comprehensive view of Latin America from the perspectives of anthropology, geography, political science, economics, Spanish and Portuguese literatures, communication, history, sociology, and other fields. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the university’s study abroad programs in Latin America and to spend a summer, semester or year abroad.

The Certificate

The undergraduate Certificate Program constitutes the heart of the Latin American Studies offerings, enabling students, regardless of their major, to develop a concentration in Latin American/Latino Studies as a supplement to their regular disciplinary studies. Students entering the Certificate Program have an opportunity to study the Latin American area from the perspective of diverse disciplines and points of view, culminating in an integrating interdisciplinary seminar in the senior year. Those students who fulfill the requirements of the program are awarded a Certificate in Latin American Studies attesting to their achievements in language and area studies.
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 Studies Program, 520 Thompson Hall, tel. (413) 545-4868, to sign up and for advising.

Requirements may be satisfied by both regular course 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, Communication, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Latin American Studies, Legal Studies, Political Science, Portuguese, Sociology, Spanish, and Women’s Studies. Appropriate courses from the Five College offerings may also be used to fulfill requirements, as noted below.

Track A: Language Emphasis

1. Languages
a. Students must demonstrate a practical working knowledge, defined as the ability to engage in ordinary conversations and to read mature but nontechnical material, of Spanish or Portuguese. This knowledge may be demonstrated by examination or by satisfactory performance in either SPANISH 311 or 312 or either PORTUG 311 or 312.

b. Completion of the two beginning semesters of the other language (Spanish or Portuguese) or demonstration of equivalent competency by examination.

2. Area Studies
Successful completion of four courses with Latin American or Latino studies content selected from at least three distinct disciplines. A list of available courses that may be used to fulfill requirements is compiled every semester and may be obtained at the Program office.

3. Interdisciplinary Course
All Certificate students must complete LATIN-AM 394 Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin America.

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).

2. Area Studies
Successful completion of six courses with Latin American or Latino studies content selected from at least three distinct disciplines with no more than three from any one discipline. A list of available courses that may be used to fulfill the requirements is compiled every semester, and may be obtained at the Center.

3. Interdisciplinary Course
All Certificate students must complete LATIN-AM 394 Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin America.

The Minor

The Minor in Latin American 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 from at least three distinct approved disciplines, with no more than two from any one discipline.

Students certain of their career goals may wish to concentrate on earning an interdisciplinary baccalaureate degree in Latin American Studies instead of a regular discipline. For the student whose future work will be entirely in Latin America 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. At least one half of the courses for the Certificate and the Minor must be completed on the University’s Amherst campus.
3. Courses completed at other institutions, including the Five Colleges, must be approved by petition to the chief adviser of the program.
4. Students may take the Interdisciplinary Seminar, LATIN-AM 394, prior to their senior year. If their majors require many senior-level courses, students are encouraged to fulfill Certificate Program requirements as early as possible.
5. 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 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 proved very helpful in preparing students for the following types of occupations: U.S. Governmental Agencies (State Department, Foreign Service, U.S. Information Service, Agency for International Development, etc.); International Development Organizations (Organization of American States, Inter-American Development Bank); multinational corporations with branches in Latin America; and domestic, state and local agencies serving Hispanics. For some jobs, additional graduate work in either Latin American Studies or a traditional discipline may be necessary. Many students go on to pursue M.A. or Ph.D. degrees.

The Courses

The courses listed below are those administered directly by the Latin American Studies Program. Over 50 additional courses on Latin American/Latino topics are offered on a regular basis by faculty affiliated with the program. Students should consult this catalog, the university’s Schedule of Courses or the Latin American Studies Program Course Description Guide, which is compiled every semester to aid in course selection.

Students should consult with Dr. Gloria Bernabe-Ramos, Associate Director and Chief Adviser, for course selection and approval.

380 Field Research in Latin America 3-12 cr
394 Interdisciplinary Seminar
396 Independent Study 1-6 cr
Five College Certificate in Latin American 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.