Undergraduate

Explore the history, cultures, languages, politics, economies, and art of Latin America and the Caribbean through interdisciplinary study that provides a comprehensive foundation for understanding the region and from which to pursue specialized research and work.

About Our Program

The major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies gives undergraduates general mastery of a discipline while also permitting the flexibility to do specialized work in the language, history, and culture of the region. Students take core courses that give them grounding in the language, history, politics, and cultures of Latin America as well as courses in a discipline of choice.

Our renowned faculty represent disciplines from across the University, including: anthropology, art history and archaeology, economics, history, music, political science, sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, and urban studies.

The Institute of Latin American Studies also encourages students to supplement their on-campus coursework by utilizing the many resources that are the advantage of a Columbia undergraduate experience:

  • New York City provides an unparalleled location in which to study and explore
  • Connect with other students through a wide range of cultural and academic organizations
  • New York City is home to world-renowned cultural centers
  • You’ll have access to vast Latin American holdings of the New York Public Library, New York University, and Cornell University

Students can also rely on academic support from our dedicated staff.

Requirements for the Major and Concentration

For the major, a minimum of 31 points (a minimum of 10 courses) is needed to fulfill the requirements for a major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Up to 12 credits for in your discipline of choice can be earned through study abroad.

For a concentration, a minimum of 18 credits (a minimum of 6 courses) is needed to fulfill the requirements. Up to 6 credits for the discipline of choice can be earned through study abroad.

Students are strongly encouraged to explore study abroad options before their junior year. Upon return, students should submit syllabi and all coursework related to each course taken abroad for approval by the director of undergraduate studies.

Students are responsible for tracking their progress toward completing the required coursework:

For the major, students must take five courses from the following twelve core courses; three of the twelve are required for a concentration:

  1. SPAN UN3300 Advanced Language through Content (with Latin American focus)
  2. LACV CC1020 Primary Texts of Latin American Civilization
  3. HIST UN1786 History of the City in Latin America
  4. HIST UN2660 Latin American Civilization I
  5. HIST UN2661 Latin American Civilization II
  6. HIST UN2618 The Modern Caribbean
  7. POLS GU4461 Latin American Politics
  8. POLS UN3560 Political Urban Development in Latin America
  9. HIST BC2664 Reproducing Inequalities: Families in Latin America
  10. HIST BC2676 Latin America: Migration, Race, and Ethnicity
  11. HIST BC2681 Women and Gender in Latin America
  12. POLS V3565 Drugs and Politics in the Americas

One course on Spanish, Portuguese, or an indigenous language at the intermediate or advanced level. If students can demonstrate advance knowledge of one of these languages, they can replace this course with a course on other languages at any level.

For the major, students must take four courses in a discipline of choice or specialization with substantive focus on Latin America. Of these four courses, one must be a seminar within the choice or specialization, at least two courses must be within the choice or specialization, and one course may be outside of their choice or specialization.

For the concentration, students must take two courses in a discipline of choice or specialization with substantive focus on Latin America. Of these two courses, one must be a seminar within the choice or specialization, and the other must be within the choice or specialization.

The director of undergraduate studies advises students on areas of specialization and must approve courses with substantial Latin American or Caribbean contents not included in the list of eligible courses. Current students should become familiar with the requirements and policies of Columbia College.