The Latin American Studies Program


O Reinado do Sol (detail, 2008), by Flávio Roberto Tavares de Melo (Brazil)

Latin American Studies is an integrative, transdisciplinary field that bridges the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities in its study of the Americas. Latin American Studies includes scholarship on the pre-Colombian societies of the Americas, the physical and cultural geography of the region, cultural and linguistic diversity in Latin America, philosophy, history, economics and economic development in Latin America, international relations and the political systems of the region, globalization and international migration, and the music, literature, art, and popular culture in the Americas.

A degree in Latin American Studies affords students a wide range of career opportunities in the United States and abroad. The continuing importance of Latin America for the U.S. and the growing Latino population in the U.S. have produced an increasing need for trained persons with a knowledge of the region to work in government, teaching, business, social services, community organizing, and other fields.  There are many scholarly and professional opportunities in the United States and abroad.

The Latin American Studies Program at Cal State LA offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree and a minor in Latin American Studies. The Bachelor of Arts degree includes courses in anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science and Spanish and allows students to select additional courses from other fields including art, Latin American literature, music, philosophy, and economics. 

The Master of Arts degree (M.A.) program includes advanced work in these disciplines. Programs are tailored to meet individual students’ interests and needs. Students complete the degree by passing a comprehensive examination covering three fields or by writing a thesis.

All of our degree programs provide our students with a transdisciplinary understanding of Latin America and its connections to the rest of the world, and teach them the analytic and academic skills that will enable their success and continued intellectual growth throughout life, whether through graduate training or entering the workplace. The program is dedicated to increasing student understanding of diversity in Latin America and among Latin American populations in the United States. In addition, the program aims to contribute to our growing understanding of the important links between Latin America and the United States and to engage local Latin American populations and our students in mutually-beneficial partnerships. The program emphasizes strong working relationships between instructors and students and among the students. The program draws upon the expertise of many faculty at Cal State LA whose focus is on Latin America. Faculty and students in the program work closely with local and international community based organizations in their scholarly and community work.