Curriculum in Latin American Studies

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The three main goals of the Curriculum in Latin American Studies are 1) to develop students' basic knowledge and comprehension of key themes in Latin American and Caribbean history, cultures, and contemporary social, economic, and political issues; 2) to develop students' abilities to think critically, in an interdisciplinary manner, about Latin American and Caribbean issues, past and present, and to locate them within broader global perspectives; and 3) to develop students' proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese and other languages of the region as needed, as part of their program of study.

Latin American Studies Major, B.A.

Core Requirements (10 courses)

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.

Humanities Concentration

History Sequence

Culture-Literature Sequence



Other Courses

Social Sciences Concentration

Journalism-Political Science Sequence

Anthropology-Economics-Geography Sequence




Other Courses

Listed above 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.

Additional Requirements

Majors are encouraged to work toward proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese. There are also language across the curriculum (LAC) courses, which 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 or PORT 308. For details on the LAC program see

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:

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

Visual and Performing Arts: DRAM 486; MUSC 146

Literary Arts: PORT 270, 275; SPAN 260, 270, 373

Social and Behavioral Sciences: ANTH 130, 142, 320; ECON 101; GEOG 120, 130; HIST 142, 143; PLCY 349; POLI 231, 238


All majors have a primary academic advisor in Steele Building. Students are strongly encouraged to meet regularly with their advisor and review their Tar Heel Tracker each semester. The department's director of undergraduate studies (DUS) works with current and prospective majors by appointment. Majors are expected to meet with the LTAM DUS once a semester and to attend at least one meeting of the LTAM majors a year. Departmental academic advising is particularly important for those majors who are considering going on to graduate school. Further information on courses, undergraduate research and internship funding opportunities, and the honors program may be obtained through the Curriculum in Latin American Studies Web page at or by contacting the director of undergraduate studies at

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 692H). LTAM 691H counts as a course in the student's concentration.

Experiential Education

Students who are particularly 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 690), and a field study experience in Yucatán, Mexico. See the Maya program Web site at 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 Web site at 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 UNC–Chapel Hill 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. Contact the director of undergraduate studies for information.

Undergraduate Research

Latin American Studies majors are eligible to develop a senior thesis project in their last year. The thesis may be related to a field work project the summer after the junior year. A small number of grants might be available for undergraduate field research in Latin America, especially in connection with a senior thesis.

Graduate School and Career Opportunities

The Curriculum in Latin American Studies provides advice for students interested in pursuing graduate school and career opportunities in Latin America or the Caribbean. Please contact the director of undergraduate studies for an appointment. The Curriculum in Latin American Studies participates in a five-year cooperative B.A.–M.A. program with the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. The agreement allows qualified Latin American studies majors to earn an M.A. in Latin American studies from Georgetown in a year and a summer rather than the normal three to four semesters. For details on the cooperative degree program see and contact the director of undergraduate studies.

Affiliated Faculty

Gustavo Angeles (Maternal and Child Health), Shrikant Bangdiwala (Biostatistics), Clare Barrington (Health Behavior), Brandon Bayne (Religious Studies), Deborah Bender (Health Policy and Administration), Brian Billman (Anthropology), Richard Bilsborrow (Biostatistics), Kathryn Burns (History), Kia Caldwell (African, African American, and Diaspora Studies), Teresa Chapa (Latin American and Iberian Resources Bibliographer), John Chasteen (History), Richard Cole (Media and Journalism), Rudolf Colloredo-Mansfeld (Anthropology), Glynis Cowell (Romance Studies), Altha Cravey (Geography), Emilio Del Valle Escalante (Romance Studies), Eduardo Douglas (Art), Arturo Escobar (Anthropology), Bruno Estigarribia (Romance Studies), Oswaldo Estrada (Romance Studies), David Garcia (Music), Juan Carlos González-Espitia (Romance Studies), Jacqueline Hagan (Sociology), Jonathan Hartlyn (Political Science), Joanne Hershfield (Women's and Gender Studies), Evelyne Huber (Political Science), Miguel LaSerna (History), Julia Mack (Romance Studies), Nina Martin (Geography), Cecilia Martínez-Gallardo (Political Science), Patricia McAnany (Anthropology), David Mora-Marín (Linguistics), Todd Ochoa (Religious Studies), Rosa Perelmuter (Romance Studies), Louis Pérez Jr. (History), Krista Perreira (Public Policy), Cynthia Radding (History), Monica Rector (Romance Studies), Alvaro Reyes (Geography), Alicia Rivero (Romance Studies), Diego Riveros-Iregui (Geography), Daniel Rodríguez (City and Regional Planning), Lars Schoultz (Political Science), Tanya Shields (Women's and Gender Studies), Karla Slocum (Anthropology), Brendan Jamal Thornton (Religious Studies), Lucila Vargas (Media and Journalism), Zaragosa Vargas (History), Adam Versényi (Dramatic Art), Stephen Walsh (Geography), Deborah Weissman (Law), Lyneise Williams (Art).

Contact Information

Beatriz Riefkohl-Muñiz, Director of Undergraduate Studies, (919) 962-2418,


LTAM–Latin American Studies

LTAM 89 First Year Seminar: Special Topics (3). Special topics course. Content will vary each semester.

LTAM 101 Introduction to Latin American Studies (3). A broad interdisciplinary introduction to the field of Latin American studies.

LTAM 291 The Latino Experience in the United States (3). This is a reading and discussion seminar that will introduce students to topics in the history of Latinos in the United States from the 19th century to the present.

LTAM 396 Independent Study (1–3). Independent project to be arranged with an instructor.

LTAM 411 Summer Intensive Introductory Course in Yucatec Maya (6). A three-part intensive introduction to spoken and written modern Yucatec Maya, including classroom instruction; culture, history, and linguistics workshops; and a four-week field study in Yucatán, Mexico.

LTAM 512 Summer Intensive Continuing Course in Yucatec Maya (6). Prerequisite, LTAM 411. Permission of the instructor for students lacking the prerequisite. Continuing instruction in spoken and written Yucatec Maya. Classroom instruction; culture, history, and linguistics workshops; and field study. Taught in Yucatán, Mexico.

LTAM 690 Seminar in Latin American Issues (3).

LTAM 691H Honors in Latin American Studies (3). Directed independent research leading to the preparation of an honors thesis.

LTAM 692H Honors in Latin American Studies (3). Completion of the honors thesis and an oral examination of the thesis.

LTAM 697 Capstone Seminar (3). Interdisciplinary core seminar required of Latin American studies majors and open to other students. Topics vary by semester.