Latin American Studies BA

Capstone Major

The Latin American Studies major allows students to analyze the area or a subregion (e.g., Amazonia, Caribbean, Central America, South America, Southern Cone) from an interdisciplinary and modern perspective. The major seeks to ground students in broad international issues that they can then use to focus on particular concerns of that part of the world.

Learning Outcomes

The Latin American Studies major has the following learning outcomes:

  • In-depth analysis of a specific region or a thematic subject that spans regions
  • Demonstrated critical understanding of issues relevant to a specific region or theme
  • Demonstrated skills, including research, analysis, and writing
  • Identification and analysis of appropriate sources, material evidence, and other forms of primary documents
  • Demonstrated proficiency at collaborative engagement with peers through constructive feedback on written drafts and oral presentations
  • Demonstrated proficiency at using peer feedback to enhance student’s own work
  • Effective communication of complex ideas in a seminar setting
  • Demonstrated effective oral and written communication of research findings
  • Conception and execution of a project that identifies and engages with a specialized topic
  • Working knowledge of scholarly discourse relative to a specialized topic


To be eligible to declare the Latin American Studies major, students must have completed all nonlanguage preparation for the major courses and the foreign language courses through at least level 3 (elementary level). Any remaining language courses may be completed after students have been accepted to the major. Each preparation for the major course must be taken for a letter grade, and students must have a UC grade-point average of 2.0 or better in those courses. In addition, students must have earned a grade of C or better in International and Area Studies 1.


Incoming freshman and transfer students may be admitted as Latin American Studies premajors on acceptance to UCLA. Premajor students must apply for major standing at the end of fall quarter of their junior year; they are not automatically accepted into the major.

Preparation for the Major

Required: (1) International and Area Studies 1, (2) one area studies course from History 8A (or 8AH), 8B, 8C, 97E, International and Area Studies 50, Portuguese 40B, 46, Spanish 44, (3) two international politics and markets courses from Economics 1, 2, Geography 4, 6, Political Science 50 (or 50R), Sociology 1, (4) two international societies and cultures courses from Anthropology 3, Comparative Literature 1D (or 2DW or 4DW), Ethnomusicology 5, M25, Geography 3, History 2B, 22, World Arts and Cultures 20, 33, and (5) two area-related foreign language sequences through the intermediate level (e.g., Portuguese 3 or 11B, Spanish 5 or 7A, an indigenous language of Latin America such as Nahuatl, Quechua, or Zapotec, through that level). The language requirement can also be fulfilled in part or in total by taking a placement examination given through the appropriate language department. Each course must be taken for a letter grade.

Transfer Students

Transfer applicants to the Latin American Studies premajor with 90 or more units must complete the following introductory courses prior to admission to UCLA: two courses from sociocultural anthropology, cultural geography, contemporary world history, and world literature and two courses from comparative politics, economic geography, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and introductory sociology. Transfer students must apply for the major by the end of fall quarter of their junior year.

Refer to the UCLA transfer admission guide for up-to-date information regarding transfer selection for admission.

The Major

The major consists of International and Area Studies 191 (capstone seminar) and 11 upper-division courses divided among area studies and international themes courses. To count as one 4-unit course, 2-unit courses must either be taken twice or two courses from the same category (if applicable) may be taken. Each course must be taken for a letter grade, with a minimum overall grade-point average of 2.0.

Area Studies: (1) Three humanities and arts group 1 courses from Art History C142A, C142B, 144, Comparative Literature 177, Ethnomusicology M108A, 108B, 113, 161K (2 units), Film and Television 106C, Music M131, Portuguese 130A, 130B, 141B, 142A, 142B, Spanish 120, World Arts and Cultures C139; (2) three social sciences group 1 courses from African American Studies M154C, M178, Anthropology 161, 162, Chicana and Chicano Studies 111, 117, M132, C141, 143, 151, 169, Community Health Sciences 132, Gender Studies M147C, Geography 114, 181, 182A, 182B, History 159, 160A, 160B, 162A, Labor and Workplace Studies M125, M144, Political Science 124C, 154A, 154B, Public Health M106, Sociology 186, 191J; and (3) one additional elective course selected from either item 1 or 2 above.

International Themes: (1) Two international politics and markets courses from Anthropology 143, Economics 111, 112, 121, 122, Environment 134, Geography M128, 140, 148, International Development Studies 130, Management 109, 127C, Political Science 120B, 122A, M122B, 123A, 124A, 125A, 126, 129, 134, 137A, 138B, 150, 166, M167C, 167D, 168, Sociology 182, 183, Urban Planning M165 and (2) two international societies and cultures courses from Anthropology 130, 140, 146, 147, Art History C160, Communication 179, Comparative Literature 100, Environment M133, Film and Television 112, Geography M109, 110, 133, 138, 142, 147, 151, 159C, History M186B, Honors Collegium M152, International Development Studies 110, Sociology 116, 151, 154, 191D, 191F, World Arts and Cultures CM130.

The area studies electives listed above (group 1) focus on contemporary issues of that region after 1750. Students may substitute a maximum of three upper-division courses with focus on earlier historical aspects of the region or on diasporas with origins related to the region toward the area studies electives as long the distribution between humanities and arts and social sciences is maintained. They may be selected from either of the following lists: humanities and arts group 2: Art History CM139A, C139B, C141, Chicana and Chicano Studies M105D, M105E, 109, 142, Ethnomusicology M116, Portuguese 143A or social sciences group 2: Anthropology 114P, 114Q, Chicana and Chicano Studies M119, M159B, 184, M187, History 157B.