BA in Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies (LAS) is a major offered by the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies to students enrolled in the College of Arts & Sciences. It provides students with a versatile and powerful vehicle for developing an in-depth understanding of the complexities and remarkable diversity of the Latin American region, defined as the 20 independent countries in the Western Hemisphere that are south of the United States, with Spanish, French, or Portuguese as their official languages. The major is broadly interdisciplinary, drawing on a wide range and variety of regionally focused courses taught by faculty experts in fields including archaeology, economics, history, history of art and architecture, musicology and ethnomusicology, international relations, political science, romance studies, geography, political economy, health sciences, and sociology.

The major combines coursework across historical, artistic and literary, and contemporary contexts with an integrating course taught jointly by members of the LAS faculty, as well as substantial study of Spanish or Portuguese to gain functional proficiency in a language used extensively in the region. LAS faculty closely advise each student in the major to ensure intellectual coherence between the student’s interests and coursework.

Study abroad in Latin America for at least a semester is strongly encouraged. Boston University has the following Study Abroad programs in Latin America: a semester or academic year in Quito, Ecuador, at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito; an intensive summer Portuguese Language Program in Rio de Janeiro; the Writing in the Americas Program in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and a one-week Spring Break program in Cuba. Courses in all of these programs count toward Latin American Studies major requirements.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate substantive interdisciplinary knowledge of legal, political, economic, social, cultural, and historical factors influencing international affairs.
  • Display an in-depth understanding of an important functional subfield of the discipline and a major geographical region of the world.
  • Conduct theoretically informed and empirically based analysis of real-world conditions and events and present the results of that analysis persuasively in written and oral forms.


All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Latin American Studies will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship, as well as some requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic and Historical Interpretation, Scientific and Social Inquiry, Communication, and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

Ten principal courses, including one integrating course, with a final grade of C or higher, of which eight must be at the 300-level or above:

  • Two courses from Group 1 (Historical Context)
  • Two courses from Group 2 (Literary, Artistic, and Cultural Contexts)
  • Two courses from Group 3 (Contemporary Context)
  • Three electives from LAS course offerings chosen in consultation with an advisor
  • One integrating course, usually taken in the student’s junior or senior year: CAS IR 410 Latin America Today: An Interdisciplinary Approach (topic changes every year)

Foreign Language Requirement

Completion of a fifth-semester course in either Spanish or Portuguese (one course beyond the College of Arts & Sciences language requirement).


Consult departmental listings for complete course descriptions. Unless otherwise indicated, all required courses are 4 credit hours.

Group 1: Historical Context

  • CAS AA 385 Atlantic History (meets with CAS HI 350)
  • CAS AA 489 The African Diaspora in the Americas (meets with CAS HI 489)
  • CAS AR 201 Americas Before Columbus
  • CAS AR 222 Art and Architecture of Ancient America
  • CAS AR 250 The Aztecs, Maya, and Their Predecessors: Archaeology of Mesoamerica
  • CAS AR 251 Ancient Maya Civilization
  • CAS AR 270 New World Rediscovery: Archaeology of the Age of Exploration
  • CAS AR 322 Ancient Aztec and Inca Civilization
  • CAS AR 353 Urbanism in Ancient Mesoamerica
  • CAS AR 451 Seminar: Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • CAS AR 551 Studies in Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • CAS AH 222 Art and Architecture of Ancient America
  • CAS AH 322 Ancient Aztec and Inca Civilization (meets with AR 322)
  • CAS HI 211 The Age of Discoveries
  • CAS HI 350 Atlantic History (meets with AA 385)
  • CAS HI 397 Modern Latin America
  • CAS HI 489 The African Diaspora in the Americas (meets with AA 489)
  • CAS HI 582 Social Movements in Twentieth-Century Latin America
  • CAS HI 584 Labor, Sexuality, and Resistance in the Afro-Atlantic World (meets with AA 514)
  • CAS IR 394 Power, Leadership, and Governance in Africa and the Caribbean (meets with AA 395 and HI 352)

Group 2: Literary, Artistic, and Cultural Context

  • CAS AH 242 Latin American Art Since Contact
  • CAS AH 527 Topics in Art and Society
  • CAS AH 543 Latin American Art and the Cold War
  • GRS AH 742 Latin American Art Colloquium
  • CAS LP 305 Topics in Portuguese Language and Culture
  • CAS LP 310 Introduction to Brazilian Cinema (in English translation)
  • CAS LS 452 Topics in Latin American Literature and Culture
  • CAS LS 455 Spanish American Literature Through the Nineteenth Century
  • CAS LS 457 Twentieth-Century Spanish-American Literature
  • CAS LS 554 Jorge Luis Borges
  • CAS LS 569 Nineteenth-Century Spanish-American Literature
  • CAS LS 572 The Spanish-American Colonial Experience: Early Texts, New Interpretations
  • CAS LS 573 Spanish-American Literary Modernismo and Modernization
  • CAS LS 576 Topics in Spanish-American Literature
  • CAS LS 577 Topics in Hispanic Thought and Criticism
  • CAS LS 579 Topics in Hispanic Cinemas
  • CAS LS 580 Mexico City in Literature and Film
  • CAS LS 581 The Mexican Revolution Revisited
  • CFA FA 540 Arts and Culture in Mexico, Revolution to the Present
  • CFA MH 561 World Music Ensemble

Group 3: Contemporary Context

  • AA/HI/IR 395/352/392 Power, Leadership, and Governance in Africa and the Caribbean
  • CAS AN 314 Cultures of Latin America
  • CAS EC 369 Economic Development of Latin America
  • CAS HI 396 Introduction to Latin-American History
  • CAS HI 397 Modern Latin America
  • CAS HI 398 Protest, Revolution, and Human Rights in Latin America
  • CAS HI 582 Social Movements in Twentieth-Century Latin America
  • CAS HI 587 US-Mexican Borders
  • CAS IR 242 Globalization and World Poverty (meets with SO 242)
  • CAS IR 251 Introduction to Comparative Politics (meets with PO 151)
  • CAS IR 290 Drugs and Security in the Americas (meets with HI 331)
  • CAS IR 302 Campaigns and Elections Around the World (meets with PO 325)
  • CAS IR 367 Introduction to Latin American Politics and International Relations (meets with HI 399 and PO 360)
  • CAS IR 395 North-South Relations (meets with PO 328)
  • CAS IR 411 Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Latin America (meets with PO 566)
  • CAS IR 425 Seminar: Women and Social Change in the Developing World (meets with SO 420)
  • CAS IR 502 Latin-American Political Parties (meets with PO 561)
  • CAS IR 524 The Cold War in Latin America (meets with HI 524)
  • CAS IR 529 Cuba in Transition
  • CAS IR 566 Democracy in Latin America and Its Challenges (meets with PO 580)
  • CAS IR 568 US–Latin-American Relations (meets with HI 523 and PO 565)
  • CAS IR 590 Political Economy of Latin America (meets with PO 562)
  • CAS IR 597 Development and Environment in Latin America (meets with GE 597)
  • CAS PO 281 Natural Resource Politics in the Andes
  • CAS PO 381 History of American Foreign Relations since 1898 (meets with HI 287)
  • CAS PO 581 National Development and International Politics
  • MET UA 590 International Comparative Urbanization and Planning

Integrating Courses

  • CAS IR 410 Latin America Today: An Interdisciplinary Approach (topic changes each year)

Note: Courses not listed above may fulfill Latin American Studies major requirements with approval from the program director.