Latin American Studies Major, B.A.

The five main goals of the Curriculum in Latin American Studies are

  1. to enhance students’ knowledge of a world region of vital importance to the national interest of the United States;
  2. to encourage the development of Carolina students as global citizens;
  3. to promote critical language competencies and cultural skills as a way to prepare students to succeed in public and private sector careers;
  4. for students to acquire multi-disciplinary forms of knowledge as a way to understand the array of forces that have shaped modern Latin America; 
  5. to foster an understanding of the historical and cultural origins of the Latin American communities in the United States.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Latin American studies program, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the political, geographical, and social complexities of the region
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the historical and cultural complexities of the region
  • Demonstrate proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese (or other language(s) of the region if approved)
  • Demonstrate an interdisciplinary grasp of Latin American literatures, arts, and ideas
  • Apply basic research methods and skills and synthesize and evaluate scholarly research
  • Gain admission to graduate programs or apply knowledge and skills learned in relevant careers

Requirements 

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements (10 courses)
Introduction to Latin American Studies (recommended) 1
Capstone Seminar (required) 1
Four courses required in the declared primary sequence12
Two courses in each of the other three sequences18
Additional Requirements
Spanish or Portuguese at least through the fifth-semester course 26
Total Hours36
1

both courses may count in any sequence.

2

 The first three levels of Spanish or Portuguese may count toward the General Education Foundations requirements and have not been included as additional hours for the major.

The Curriculum in Latin American Studies is divided into two concentrations: humanities and social sciences. These concentrations are further divided into sequences: humanities, into history and culture-literature sequences; social sciences, into journalism-political science and anthropology-economics-geography sequences. To ensure depth in a single discipline of Latin American and Caribbean studies, four of the 10 courses required for the major must be selected from one of the sequences. To ensure breadth of exposure to other areas of Latin American and Caribbean studies, two courses must be selected from each of the other three sequences.

Listed below are the most commonly offered courses in each sequence. Please note that not all the courses on Latin American and Caribbean topics are listed here, and many other courses may satisfy the major requirements. Special topics courses, first-year seminars, undergraduate seminars, independent studies, and capstone courses taught by Latin Americanist and Caribbeanist faculty members on Latin American and Caribbean topics also may count.

Humanities Concentration–History Sequence

AAAD 260Blacks in Latin America3
AAAD 385Emancipation in the New World3
HIST 142IDEAs in Action General Education logo Latin America under Colonial Rule3
HIST 143IDEAs in Action General Education logo Latin America since Independence3
HIST 240IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Mexico: A Nation in Four Revolutions3
HIST 241History of Latinos in the United States3
HIST 242IDEAs in Action General Education logo United States-Latin American Relations3
HIST 248Guerrillas and Counterinsurgencies in Latin America3
HIST 278IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade H3
HIST 315IDEAs in Action General Education logo Nation-Building in Latin America3
HIST 531History of the Caribbean3
HIST 532History of Cuba3
HIST 534The African Diaspora3
HIST/WGST 280IDEAs in Action General Education logo Women and Gender in Latin American History3
LTAM 291The Latino Experience in the United States3
LTAM 314Law and Society in Latin America3
LTAM 350The United States and Latin America3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Humanities Concentration–Culture-Literature Sequence

Portuguese

PORT 310IDEAs in Action General Education logo Advanced Communication in Portuguese: Media & Entertainment 3
PORT 323IDEAs in Action General Education logo Advanced Communication in Portuguese: History, Nature, and Society3
PORT 370IDEAs in Action General Education logo Modern Brazil through Literature and Film in Translation3
PORT 375IDEAs in Action General Education logo Portuguese and Brazilian Fiction in Translation3
PORT 382Women Writers: Brazil and Beyond3
PORT 388IDEAs in Action General Education logo Portuguese, Brazilian, and African Identity in Film3
PORT 535Brazilian Drama3

Spanish

SPAN 270Contemporary Spanish American Prose Fiction in Translation3
SPAN 344Latin@ American Cultural Topics3
SPAN 361IDEAs in Action General Education logo Hispanic Film3
SPAN 373IDEAs in Action General Education logo Studies in Latin American Literature3
SPAN 374Mesoamerica through Its Native Literatures3
SPAN 381Studies in Spanish and Spanish American Poetry3
SPAN 385Contemporary Spanish American Prose Fiction3
SPAN 387Eroticism in Contemporary Latin American Literature3
SPAN 389Outside Cuba: Diasporic Literature and Culture3
SPAN 613Colonial and 19th-Century Spanish American Literature3
SPAN 614Modernist and Contemporary Spanish American Literature3
SPAN 625Indigenous Literatures and Cultures of the Américas3
SPAN/WGST 620Women in Hispanic Literature3

Other Courses

ARTH 157Introduction to Latin American Visual Culture3
ARTH 160IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to the Art and Architecture of Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica H3
ARTH 267IDEAs in Action General Education logo Latin American Modernisms3
ARTH 277IDEAs in Action General Education logo Art and Architecture of Viceregal Latin America3
ARTH 352Religious Architecture and Visual Culture in Latin America3
CMPL 133Great Books II: Imaging the Americas from the Late 18th Century to the Present3
DRAM 288IDEAs in Action General Education logo Theatre for Social Change3
DRAM 486IDEAs in Action General Education logo Latin American Theatre3
ENGL 685IDEAs in Action General Education logo Literature of the Americas3
LING 558Ancient Mayan Hieroglyphs3
LING 560Mesoamerican Languages and Linguistics3
LING 561Native Languages of the Americas3
LTAM 411Summer Intensive Introductory Course in Yucatec Maya6
LTAM 512Summer Intensive Continuing Course in Yucatec Maya6
MAYA 401Introduction to Yucatec Maya3
MUSC 147IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to the Music of the Américas3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Social Sciences Concentration–Journalism-Political Science Sequence

MEJO 443Latino Media Studies3
MEJO 446IDEAs in Action General Education logo Global Communication and Comparative Journalism3
MEJO 490Special Topics in Mass Communication H1-3
PLCY 349Immigration Policy in the 21st Century3
POLI 231Latin America and the United States in World Politics3
POLI 238IDEAs in Action General Education logo Politics of the Global South: Latin America H3
POLI 434Politics of Mexico3
POLI 435IDEAs in Action General Education logo Democracy and Development in Latin America H3
POLI 450Contemporary Inter-American Relations H3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Social Sciences Concentration–Anthropology-Economics-Geography Sequence

Anthropology

ANTH 142IDEAs in Action General Education logo Local Cultures, Global Forces H3
ANTH 231IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Inca and Their Ancestors: The Archaeology of Andean South America3
ANTH 232IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancestral Maya Civilizations H3
ANTH 320Anthropology of Development3
ANTH 360Latin American Economy and Society3
ANTH 439IDEAs in Action General Education logo Political Ecology3
ANTH 453Field School in South American Archaeology H6
ANTH/FOLK 130Anthropology of the Caribbean3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Economics

ECON 450Health Economics: Problems and Policy3
ECON 454Economics of Population3
ECON 465IDEAs in Action General Education logo Economic Development3
ECON 560IDEAs in Action General Education logo Advanced International Economics3
ECON/EURO/PWAD 460IDEAs in Action General Education logo International Economics3

Geography

GEOG 130IDEAs in Action General Education logo Development and Inequality: Global Perspectives F3
GEOG 259IDEAs in Action General Education logo Society and Environment in Latin America3
GEOG 430Global Migrations, Local Impacts: Urbanization and Migration in the United States3
GEOG 452Mobile Geographies: The Political Economy of Migration3
GEOG 457IDEAs in Action General Education logo Rural Latin America: Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources H3
GEOG 458Urban Latin America: Politics, Economy, and Society3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

F

FY-Launch class sections may be available. A FY-Launch section fulfills the same requirements as a standard section of that course, but also fulfills the FY-SEMINAR/FY-LAUNCH First-Year Foundations requirement. Students can search for FY-Launch sections in ConnectCarolina using the FY-LAUNCH attribute.

Other Courses

AAAD 260Blacks in Latin America3
AAAD 460IDEAs in Action General Education logo Race, Culture, and Politics in Brazil3
ANTH/LING 303Native Languages of the Americas3
LTAM 411Summer Intensive Introductory Course in Yucatec Maya6
LTAM 512Summer Intensive Continuing Course in Yucatec Maya6
RELI 245Latina/o Religions in the United States-Mexico Borderlands H3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Additional Requirements

Majors are encouraged to work toward proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese. Language across the curriculum (LAC) courses allow students to use their Spanish or Portuguese in select courses. Students taking LAC courses with Spanish or Portuguese recitation sections may receive one hour of additional credit by enrolling in SPAN 308.

All General Education requirements apply. First- and second-year students are strongly encouraged to enroll in LTAM 101, an interdisciplinary introductory course offered each year, usually in the spring.

The following courses are recommended for fulfilling General Education requirements for students interested in majoring in Latin American studies:

Global Language

Spanish or Portuguese should be used to satisfy the global language requirement. The global language 1 through 4 sequence (PORT 101, PORT 102, PORT 203, and PORT 204 or SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 203, and SPAN 204) may be completed in two semesters by enrolling in intensive courses (PORT 111 and PORT 212, or SPAN 111 and SPAN 212).

Special Opportunities in Latin American Studies

Honors in Latin American Studies

Latin American studies majors with an overall grade point average of 3.3 are invited to pursue a degree with honors by writing an honors thesis during the senior year. Each honors thesis is written under the direction of an appropriate faculty advisor; when completed, the thesis must be defended orally before an examining board of faculty members. Honors candidates enroll in the two honors courses (LTAM 691H and LTAM 692H). LTAM 691H counts as a course in the student’s concentration.

Experiential Education

Students who are committed to field experience or experiential education in Latin America may be able to arrange for this through independent study credit. Students wishing to do so should have the academic support of a regular faculty member and contact the institute’s associate director well in advance of the semester in which the experience is to take place.

Intensive Yucatec Maya

Each summer the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina and Duke University offers intensive instruction in modern Yucatec Maya, with a secondary focus on ancient, colonial, and modern Maya culture. The courses include classroom instruction in Chapel Hill (LTAM 411) or in Mérida, Mexico (LTAM 512 and LTAM 690), and a field study experience in Yucatán, Mexico. See the Maya program website for current course information.

Independent Study

Any student may enroll in independent study (LTAM 396) with the permission of the curriculum faculty advisor and the agreement of a Latin American or Caribbean studies faculty member who will supervise the student’s independent study project. This course may be used to fulfill the requirements of the major, and it is often linked to internships or to undergraduate grants for summer research travel.

Study Abroad

Study abroad is not a requirement of the major; however, living and studying in Latin America or the Caribbean is highly recommended as an experience that majors should consider. The UNC–Chapel Hill Study Abroad Office offers a broad range of programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. Visit the Study Abroad Office website. ISA and the Study Abroad Office offer competitive scholarships for majors wishing to undertake study in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Undergraduate Awards

Each year the Latin American Studies major offers funding opportunities for students conducting research or studying abroad in Latin America or the Caribbean. These include the Julia Crane, Halpern, and Mellon Awards. The Federico Gil award recognizes the best undergraduate honors thesis written on a Latin American or Caribbean topic. The LTAM Major Book Fund provides funding to defray the costs for required textbooks in Latin American-content courses. Contact the director of undergraduate studies for information.

Undergraduate Research

Latin American Studies majors are eligible to develop independent and/or senior thesis projects. A small number of grants are available for undergraduate field research related to Latin America or the Caribbean.

Curriculum in Latin American Studies

Visit Program Website

FedEx Global Education Center, CB# 3205

(919) 962-2418

Chair

Louis A. Pérez

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Beatriz Riefkohl-Muñiz

riefkohl@email.unc.edu