Latin American Studies

Major Description

Depending upon the student's interests and career aspirations, individual programs of study are designed in close consultation with the Associate Director of the Center, who also serves as the academic advisor. The undergraduate program reflects an integrative, cross-disciplinary approach, and courses must be taken from these categories: LAST 170-Introduction to Latin American Studies; Approved courses with content focused on Latin America; Approved courses with content focused on Latin America in a global context; LAST 490 - Independent Study, or approved Study Abroad course, or approved service-learning course. Courses for the major must be selected in consultation with the Associate Director of the Center. Students are also expected to demonstrate a substantial command of a Latin American language (Spanish, Portuguese, Quechua or other Native American language indigenous to Mesoamerica or South America), either by passing a proficiency examination or through advanced courses of Latin American language(s) beyond the general Liberal Arts and Sciences language requirement.

Courses That Introduce the Major:
  • LAST 170—Introduction to Latin America
  • LAST 210—Life in the Andes

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

A major in Latin American Studies can lead to careers in business, government, law, non-profit work, K-12 education, as well as further graduate study. 

  • Advanced language proficiency in Spanish/ Portuguese/Quechua
  • Analytical writing
  • Become knowledgeable of other cultures, languages, institutions--an ability to analyze across cultural or national lines
  • Cultural Competency
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Critical Thinking
  • Develop ability to adapt and appreciate others and their lifestyle
  • Gain and develop language skills
  • Learn problem solving skills
  • Sensitivity to cultural perceptions/viewpoint
  • Understand and adapt programs, products, and services to the cultural background of the audience
  • Understand and interact with people who are culturally diverse
  • Written Communication
  •  Admissions Counselor
  •  Archivist
  •  Attorney
  •  Business Manager
  •  CIA or FBI Agent
  •  College Professor
  •  Community Affairs Specialist
  •  Conflict Resolution Specialist
  •  Consultant
  •  Consumer Advocate
  •  Counselor
  •  Cultural Affairs Officer
  •  Customs or Immigration Officer
  •  Editor or Writer
  •  Employee Relations Specialist
  •  Federal Government Law
  •  Foreign Service Officer
  •  Foreign Student Advisor
  •  Historic Preservation Spec
  •  Historic Site Administrator
  •  Import or Export Specialist
  •  International Banker
  •  International Consultant
  •  Int'l Relations Specialist
  •  Interpreter
  •  K-12 Educator
  •  Lobbyist
  •  Market Research Specialist
  •  Medicine
  •  Museum Curator
  •  Non-profit Administrator
  •  Peace Corps or VISTA Worker
  •  Professor or Educator
  •  Public Administrator
  •  Public Information Officer
  •  Public Policy Specialist
  •  Public Relations Specialist
  •  Publications Specialist
  •  Translator
  •  Travel Consultant

Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:
  • Participating in undergraduate research
  • Applying for a study abroad experience
    • Participating in LAST 395: Archaeology Field School in Peru
  • Utilizing resources of The Career Center
  • Joining a Registered Student Organization (RSO) related to this major, such as:
    • La Colectiva: informs the UIUC population about issues of social justice that concerns the Latino/a community and students of color.
    • Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc.: strives towards the expansion of awareness of the Latino culture among the community, while establishing ourselves as educated, strong, and united women.
    • Peruvian Student Association
    • Capoeria Club at UIUC
    • Central and South American Students Association
    • Luso-Brazilian Association
    • Mi Pueblo Spanish Conversation Group
Further Information:

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Latin American Studies.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Latin American Studies.  These organizations include Latin American Studies Association and Latin American Network Information Center.