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Latin American Studies

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Interdepartmental undergraduate program

The certificate in Latin American Studies is a cross-disciplinary course of study in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is designed for undergraduates in any major who wish to enhance their degree and employment possibilities by adding expertise in Latin America and competence in the Spanish language.


  • Provide opportunities for students to develop skills and understanding about issues concerning Latin America by bringing them into contact with faculty members from many different academic backgrounds
  • Provide students with an international immersion experience where they gain cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • Prepare students for work or advanced study in Latin America, such as in foreign service, journalism, advocacy organizations, scientific or research institutions
  • Help students acquire proficiency in one of the principal languages of Latin America (Spanish)
  • Guide students in interdisciplinary study leading to an understanding of the multi-faceted picture of the past, present, and future of Latin America

Learning Outcomes

Upon Completion of the Certificate in Latin American Studies, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of key concepts pertaining to Latin American cultural, historical and political events
  • Understand, interpret and articulate the major processes, theories and problems of selected contemporary and historical issues in Latin America
  • Demonstrate oral, aural, and written proficiency in Spanish equivalent to the mid-advanced level
  • Effectively communicate with persons of Latin American cultures
  • Become effective global citizens through knowledge and comparison of the cultures and issues of the United States and Latin American countries
  • Be able to read Latin American cultural, literary, and historical texts in the target language with comprehension and analytical insight
  • Demonstrate awareness of cultural values, beliefs, and ideologies of the various Latin American countries
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the geography of the Latin American countries

General Requirements

Requirements for the Certificate in Latin American Studies are satisfied through formal language instruction and by completing a minimum of 21 credits at the 300 level or above. Students will take coursework in at least three different disciplines and departments (Spanish, Anthropology, and Political Science) with other possible course offerings in LAS, History, Agriculture, and Agronomy.

Course Requirements

Students will complete 6 credits of core courses:

SPAN 322 (Latin American Civilization) or SPAN 324 (Latin America Today)    3

ANTHR 323 (Topics in Latin American Anthropology)    3

Students should consult with their adviser for alternative courses in the event a course is not available.

Other Requirements

Students will complete an additional 15 credits selected from the approved list of courses in Latin American Studies or courses approved by the Latin American Studies Certificate adviser at the 300 level or above.

  • No more than 3 credits may be taken as a 490, independent study, and the topic must deal with Latin America.
  • A minimum of 9 credits applied toward the Certificate cannot be used to meet any other departmental, college, or university requirement.
  • Students may receive credit on a pre-approved basis for internships completed in Latin America. No more than 3 credits from this area may be applied to the Certificate.
  • Courses taken for the Certificate may not be taken on a pass not-pass basis.
  • Credits for a Certificate may be used to satisfy the credit requirement for graduation and to meet the credit requirements for courses numbered 300 and above.
  • A certificate is not awarded if the baccalaureate degree is not finished.
  • For students earning an ISU baccalaureate degree, a certificate is awarded concurrent with or after the ISU baccalaureate degree.
  • After receiving a baccalaureate degree from any accredited institution, a student may enroll at ISU to earn a certificate.
  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 is required in courses taken at ISU for a certificate.

Language Requirement

  • The minimum requirement in formal language instruction is completion of two years or the equivalent of Spanish at the university level. At ISU the completion of Spanish 202 satisfies this requirement.
  • Native speakers, or those with in-field experience of another Latin American language with a level equivalent to 202 or higher can have the language requirement waived. Equivalence will normally be assessed by a faculty member/CLEP exam in the Dept. of World Languages and Cultures.
  • While students are encouraged to enroll in language instruction courses (i.e., conversation and composition) above the 300 level, no more than 6 credits of language study (301,303, 304) may be applied toward fulfilling language requirements for the Certificate. Students should be aware that all 300-level literature and culture/civilization courses in the Dept. of World Languages and Cultures have prerequisites.

Study Abroad

Students are required to participate in an ISU-approved study abroad program in a Latin American country with a minimum duration of 4 consecutive weeks. The Study Abroad Office has a list of ISU-approved programs. Students may elect to participate in other study abroad programs with the approval of the Latin American Studies Advisory Committee.

Approved courses available toward the Certificate:

The decision as to whether or not a course can be counted toward the certificate is based primarily on course title and description as it appears in the current ISU course catalog. Courses which primarily deal with Spain or Portugal and their cultures do not count toward the certificate. Students should consult with the adviser for the Latin American Studies Undergraduate Certificate program before registering to be sure a particular travel course or field school offering can apply toward the certificate.

AGEDS 496Agricultural Travel Course1-3
AGRON 496Agricultural Travel Coursearr †
ANTHR 323Topics in Latin American Anthropology3
ANTHR 445Biological Field School4-6
or ANTHR 545 Biological Field School
HIST 340History of Latin America I3
HIST 341History of Latin America II3
INTST 395Interdisciplinary Study Abroad1-4
POL S 343Latin American Government and Politics3
SPAN 322Latin American Civilization3
SPAN 324Latin America Today3
SPAN 326Studies in Hispanic Art or Film3
SPAN 332Studies in Latin American Literature3
SPAN 370Hispanic Topics in English Translation3
SPAN 395Study Abroad1-10
SPAN 445Seminar on the Literatures and Cultures of Latin America3
SPAN 46321st Century Spanish3
SPAN 499Internship in Spanish1-3
† Arranged with instructor.