8 Latin American Studies Programs You Should Know About

Lead Photo: Creative Commons "Graduation Caps” by John Walker is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Creative Commons "Graduation Caps” by John Walker is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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European and American discourses that exclude the notions of race, class, and gender have long dominated academia. But, since the early 20th century, universities across the country have adapted their curriculums to expand the cultures, languages, and people studied in higher education.

One of the programs developed over the last century is Latin American studies, an interdisciplinary academic and research field that examines the past, present, and future of Latin America through various lenses. Some of the disciplines valued in Latin American studies include biology, sociology, economics, and history. The field is often confused with Latino studies, which, in contrast, examines the experiences of people of Hispanic ancestry in the United States.

The first academic journal dedicated to the field of Latin American studies was the The Hispanic American Historical Review created in 1918 by the American Historical Association. Though several factors led to the addition of different fields, the passing of Title VI of the National Defense Act in 1958 made way for more varied areas of studies in the US. The National Defense Education Fund provided funding for Centers of Area and International Studies in the United States.

Today, hundreds of programs in Latin American studies have emerged around the country, each focusing on different aspects of the vast cultures and histories of Latin America. While some choose to focus on the present status of politics and society in Latin America, others examine the pre-colonial history of Central and South America. And still others have gone so far as to develop courses on the politics of soccer, the anthropology of food, and Caribbean dances. The programs also offer a variety of internship opportunities abroad and a chance to learn new languages, including Indigenous tongues like Quechua. Overall, Latin American studies is an opportunity for students and researchers to further the academic canon by proving that studying our communities is beneficial to all.

While the fall semester already started, the application season is about to begin. If you’re looking to dive into Latin American studies, these schools offer some of the best Latin American programs in the United States. 



The Latin American studies program at UCLA is designed for students who want to focus on the culture and society of various sub-regions in Latin America. The program requires all students to achieve intermediate level of two modern languages spoken in the area of their choice, which could vary from Indigenous tongues, such as Quechua and Nahuatl, to Latin-derived languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese. Some of the classes offered include a whole course on Day of the Dead, Perspectives on Afro-Cuban Identity, and Indo-Andean Literature.

Learn more here.


Boston University

Event on Oct 19th : Mexico's Drug Violence during the Peña Nieto Presidency

Posted by Latin American Studies, Boston University on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

This program focuses on an interdisciplinary understanding of Latin American histories and cultures. The range of its courses vary from history and anthropology to political science and sociology. The program, which is held inside the Pardee School of Global Studies, also hosts a variety of events and panels focused on issues in Latin America, such as the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico. The program offers courses in both undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as a minor option.

Learn more here.


Princeton University

Princeton offers both undergraduate and graduate certificates in Latin American studies with opportunities to study abroad and apply for fellowships. Some of the courses offered include: Anthropology of Populism, Black Activism in Latin America and the United States, and Native Christianities in Colonial Mexico. The program also offers various seminar classes in topics such as Mario Vargas Llosa’s work, the city of Havana, and Luso-Brazilian literature.

Learn more here.


University of Texas at Austin

Read the latest issue of LLILAS Benson's "Portal" magazine online at

Posted by Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American studies offers both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as internship opportunities. The research and academic center has two programs – one in Latin American studies and a second in Indigenous Languages of Latin America.

Some of the courses offered in the Latin American studies include: Afro-Brazilian Diaspora, Latino Migration and Asylum, and Religions of the Caribbean. The internship program is open to undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Latin American studies or work with Latin American issues and offers multiple types of recruiting categories, including multimedia production, photography, research, and scholarly programs.

Learn more here.


City University of New York

The Center for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies is part of CUNY’s Graduate Center, offering an MA and PhD. The courses range from introductory classes in Latino and Latin American studies to electives in Comparative Literature, History, and Theater. The program strongly recommends prospective students master Spanish or Portuguese. Students leave the program with a published thesis or capstone project on a topic of their choice.

Learn more here.


Harvard University

The Harvard University center on Latin American studies offers various programs, including an Andes and Southern Cone program, Brazil studies, and Cuban studies. The programs are focused on understanding of democracy, social progress, and sustainable development in Latin America. Some of the courses offered include: Social Revolutions in Latin America, Moctezuma’s Mexico, Human Rights and the Global South, and Frida Kahlo’s Mexico. The program also offers travel opportunities and fellowships in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, and Brazil.

Learn more here.


University of Pittsburgh

Today! Panoramas round table discussion: Argentina in turmoil with special guest Ignacio Mamone PhD, university of Pittsburgh.

Posted by Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Pitt on Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Center for Latin American studies in Pittsburgh offers both degrees and special certifications in for researchers and students. The undergraduate degree can be obtained as a certificate or as a related concentration, while the graduate degree also offers a public policy certification. The course catalog for fall 2018 includes Afro-Caribbean Dance, South American Archeology, and Anthropology of Food. The Center also offers study abroad program in Ecuador and a short seminar in Colombia.

Learn more here.


New York University

This program offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and is well-known for its emphasis on Indigenous and Caribbean languages. Some of the courses in the programs include: Comparative Racisms in the Americas, Puerto Rico Under US Rule, and Masculinities in the Americas. The program offers an internship, as well as cross-listed courses with Columbia University. NYU also offers a program in Quechua language studies, teaching various levels of this Indigenous language.

Learn more here.