Undergraduate Certificate in Latin American Studies

Available to the Class of 2025 only

The Program in Latin American Studies promotes interdisciplinary study and seeks to foster knowledge of and experience in Latin America. Get an up-close view of Latin America through compelling coursework that sheds new light on multiple facets of the region. Seek funding for study abroad and service opportunities that expand the boundaries of the classroom. One of the largest area studies programs at Princeton, PLAS awards some 35 certificates annually.
 

Course of Study

Interdisciplinary by nature, and undertaken in concert with the fulfillment of departmental concentration requirements, the certificate program seeks to foster knowledge of and experience in Latin America and the non-English speaking Caribbean.

PLAS sponsors the Princeton in Argentina and Princeton in Brazil summer programs. Funds are available to support student travel to Latin America for research purposes. First year students and sophomores are eligible for exploratory research grants and juniors can apply for senior thesis research funding.

You may elect to focus on Latin America as a whole, or narrow your lens to study Brazil. Please refer to the Undergraduate Announcement for complete requirements.

Latin American Studies Track

For students pursuing the Latin American Studies track, satisfactory completion of four courses across several disciplines, at least one of these courses must be a seminar.

  • One humanities course cross-listed with LAS or with strong Latin American content;
  • Three courses from any field cross-listed with LAS or with strong Latin American content;

With the program director's permission, a maximum of two courses from study abroad may count toward fulfilling the course requirements.

  • Completion of the language requirement in Spanish, Portuguese, or French (for students focusing on the French-speaking Caribbean).  
  • A thesis on a Latin American topic, using primary materials from the region, supervised by a faculty adviser, and combined with a departmental concentration*.

Brazilian Studies Track

For students pursuing the Brazilian Studies track, satisfactory completion of four courses across several disciplines, at least one of these courses must be a seminar.

  • One humanities course cross-listed with LAS or with strong Brazilian content;
  • Three courses from any field cross-listed with LAS or with strong Brazilian content;

Courses that are not focused entirely on Brazil must be preapproved by the program director, and the final written work must be Brazil related.

With the program director's permission, a maximum of two courses from study abroad may count toward fulfilling the course requirements.

  • Completion of the language requirement in Portuguese.  
  • A thesis on a Brazilian topic, using primary materials from the region, supervised by a faculty adviser, and combined with a departmental concentration*.

*Students whose departmental obligations preclude a thesis on a Latin American or Brazilian topic may complete the program requirements by writing an independent research paper or completion of an additional approved course determined in consultation with the director and program faculty.

All final written work (senior thesis or independent research paper) is due by 11:59pm on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in PDF format to [email protected]. 

Coursework

Undergraduate courses are offered by an increasing number of campus departments and programs, as well as by PLAS. Through various approaches in the humanities and the social and natural sciences, the program guides an understanding of Latin American culture, history, socioeconomic conditions, politics, and society. Coursework is supervised by a departmental adviser and combined with a departmental program in a regular field of concentration.

Travel

Although experience abroad is not required, PLAS strongly urges students to travel, work, study, and conduct research in Latin America, especially during freshman and sophomore years. Whether it’s through the Princeton in Argentina, the Brazil Global Seminar, or other opportunities available during your studies, the impact of a summer or semester abroad in generating new understanding cannot be understated. To support that aim, competitive funding is available.

Enroll

You may apply for the certificate program at any time using our online enrollment form. Have questions about the program? Email PLAS to make an appointment.

There are no prerequisites needed to enroll.  The sooner you apply the sooner we can help you focus your interest and provide funding for research opportunities. 

Featured Undergraduate Alumni

Julia Campbell '22
Politics

Julia Campbell '22 recently completed her Master of Philosophy in Criminology at the University of Cambridge. Her dissertation was entitled: "At the Crossroads of the Cyberworld and the Underworld: Classifying Crimes Involving Cryptocurrency and Identifying Intervention Strategies." In this dissertation, Julia explored various types…

Hannah Faughnan '23
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Since graduating, Hannah has been working at the Carole Robertson Center for Learning in Chicago, IL through the Princeton AlumniCorps Project 55 Fellowship. The Center currently serves over 2,500 predominantly Black and brown children and families across communities in Chicago, many of which have been historically disinvested, in its mission to educate, enrich, and empower children and families in the city. 

Kathy Palomino '22
Sociology

After graduating, Kathy Palomino ’22 contemplated whether she wanted to pursue a master's degree or Ph.D. program in either American studies or Chicana/o studies. Additionally, Kathy took up a variety of jobs to see how she operated outside of academia because while Kathy was sure she wanted to go back to school, she had never been a person…

Peter Schmidt '20
Spanish and Portuguese

After graduation, Peter Schmidt '20 spent two years searching for direction. He worked at an immigration law firm securing visas for artists seeking asylum, and subsequently at the Igarape Institute, a Brazil-based think-tank where he researched the confluence of climate change and armed violence. In his recounting, both of these positions…