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About the Major

Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) is an interdisciplinary program for students who want to engage critical issues in the social sciences and humanities through deep immersion in the histories, cultures, economies, politics, and natural environments of Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition to gaining deep knowledge of a region closely tied to Chicago and the United States, LACS students will develop strong linguistic, research, and analytical skills; most also spend significant time studying or conducting fieldwork in a Latin American country.

Major at a Glance

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Program Requirements

The major requirements include: coursework; language proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese; experiential learning that aims to broaden students’ appreciation of Latin American and Caribbean perspectives and deepen their cultural fluency; and a fourth-year BA colloquium and capstone project that allow students to develop their capacity for independent, creative, rigorous inquiry. Students can choose every year from dozens of course listings across the disciplines and can expect individualized mentorship and advising from our dedicated faculty and staff.

Class of 2022 and beyond: Please see the detailed program requirements of the updated Latin American and Caribbean Studies major on the LACS page of the College catalog.

Class of 2021: Students will continue under the previous requirements, which may be found on the 2021 LACS requirements page.

Declaring a Major

Students who plan to declare a major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies should follow the guidelines below. 

  1. As early as possible, meet with your College adviser to discuss your interest.
  2. Please map your plan to complete the BA major on this major plan, and then send it to CLAS student affairs coordinator, Lindsay Ortega. Please contact Lindsay if you have any questions about your preliminary plan of study.
  3. Meet with Lindsay and the LACS program adviser, Diana Schwartz Francisco to go over your plan of study.
  4. Declare your major and notify Lindsay of your declaration no later than Winter Quarter of your third year.

NOTE: Students who plan to study abroad during their third year should meet with Dr. Schwartz Francisco before leaving campus.


Each of the required courses for the LACS major must be taken for a quality grade.


Students who have done exceptionally well in their coursework and on their BA capstone project are considered for honors. Candidates must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher overall and 3.25 or higher in the major.


Questions? Contact Diana Schwartz Francisco, LACS program adviser, or Lindsay Ortega, CLAS student affairs coordinator.