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Undergraduate Studies

Major in Latin American Studies

To complete the LAS major, students must complete 36 hours of coursework according to the outline below.

I. Required core courses (6 hrs):

  • LAS 2101- Introduction to Latin America (Fall semester)
  • LAS 4901- Research Seminar (Fall semester)

II. *Area of concentration (12 hrs- one discipline)

  • History
  • Language, Literature, and Art History
  • Social Sciences

III. *Distribution Requirements (12 hrs- complete 6 hrs of coursework in two categories):

  • History
  • Language/Literature/Art History
  • Social Sciences

IV. *Electives (6 hrs. of any additional course with Latin American content)

*Classes eligible for LAS credit are listed in the Undergraduate Course Catalogue

Undergraduate students majoring in LAS must also demonstrate advanced language competence in Spanish or Portuguese. This requirement may be satisfied by completing Spanish 3303, Portuguese 3303 or any course with a higher number taught in either language. Students are expected to acquire intermediate knowledge of another Latin American language may be satisfied by successfully completing Spanish 2203, Portuguese 2203, Haitian Creole 2202, or K’iche’ Maya 2202. Language courses can count toward the distribution requirements of the major.

In addition, students must demonstrate their level of language proficiency at the beginning of the second semester of their senior year by way of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) conducted by a faculty member in that language. This is part of an evaluation of the Center (and not of the individual student) and the results will not affect the fulfillment of student requirements for graduation. Students will be evaluated for proficiency in both their primary and secondary languages. Please contact CLAS Executive Director Avery Dickins de Girón and CLAS Director Ted Fischer with questions.

Minor in Latin American Studies

The Center for Latin American Studies offers a minor in Latin American Studies. Students must complete 15 hours of approved courses with Latin American content, including LAS 2101 (Introduction to Latin America). In addition, students must demonstrate intermediate knowledge of one Latin American language by successfully completing Spanish 2203, Portuguese 2203, Haitian Creole 2202, or K’iche’ Maya 2202. Courses taken to satisfy the language requirement may not be counted toward the 15 hours of coursework. A language evaluation can be used to demonstrate  proficiency.

Minor in Brazilian Studies

The Center for Latin American Studies also offers a minor in Brazilian studies. To minor in Brazilian Studies, students must complete 15 hours of coursework according to the outline below.

I. Required core courses:

  • LAS 2102- Introduction to Brazil (3 hrs)
  • Portuguese 2203- Intermediate Portuguese (3 hrs.)

II. Distribution Requirements (9 hrs- one course in each area)

  • Area I: Portuguese Language and Literature
  • Area II: Brazilian Society, History, and Cultures
  • Area III: Brazil in Regional and Global Context

Proficiency at the intermediate level in Portuguese can also be demonstrated through testing. If this option is exercised, students must take 3 credit hours of course work approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies in lieu of the 3 credit hours of PORT 2203. Other elective courses, including special topics courses, may be counted toward the minor with the approval of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

 **Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary minor so, eligible courses can be found in nearly all departments on campus. For a comprehensive list of courses each semester, click here.** 

Latin American Studies 4 + 1 M.A. Program

The Center for Latin American Studies offers 4+1 program which allows exceptional undergraduate Latin American Studies majors to quickly complete their MA degree through taking an additional year of coursework and completing a Master’s thesis. Students considering the 4 + 1 program should consult with their LAS advisor as early as possible and make formal application to the program by the end of their junior year. An application consists of a letter of intent, a copy of college transcripts, and the names of two Vanderbilt faculty who could be consulted as references. Decisions on admission to the program will be decided by the Center’s Executive Committee. Any questions about the program can be directed to CLAS Executive Director Avery Dickins de Girón and CLAS Director Ted Fischer.

Requirements for Admission into the Program
  1. Must have an undergraduate major in LAS (or in exceptional cases a closely related field with sufficient LAS content)
  2. Must have taken LAS 2101 and LAS 4901 during undergraduate years
  3. Must apply in the student’s junior year
Other requirements for the 4 + 1 MA:
  1. Students must write a M.A. thesis (the non-thesis option is not available for 4 +1 students).
  2. Students must complete 18 hours of formal LAS coursework, the distribution of which will be established by the graduate advisor in consultation with the student.
  3. No independent study hours are allowed (except for thesis hours).
  4. Students must complete 9 hours of work during the summer after their senior year; we encourage students to take 6 hours of thesis research and 3 hours of formal coursework (although all 9 hours may be used for thesis work).
  5. Students must submit a completed thesis for defense and final approval by late March for May graduation.

Honors Program

An honors program is available but acceptance must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Students must have a minimum 3.0 general GPA and a 3.3 GPA in courses that count toward the Latin American studies major to be accepted into the program. The Honors Program requires: completion of 6 hours in LAS 3851 and 3852; the writing of an honors thesis; and passing an oral honors examination. Interested students should consult their academic adviser during their junior year.


*For more detailed information please consult the Undergraduate Course Catalog.*