Undergraduate Certificate in Latin American Studies

group photograph of the winners
2019 Program in Latin American Studies certificate students, and faculty.

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 30 certificates annually.

Course of Study

Interdisciplinary by nature, and undertaken in concert with the fulfillment of departmental major 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. Freshmen and sophomores are eligible for exploratory research grants and juniors can apply for senior thesis research funding. Seniors are encouraged to apply to Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) for postgraduate opportunities. 

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 Track

  • Completion of four courses across several disciplines
    • One humanities course cross listed with PLAS and/or with strong Latin American content
    • Two courses from any field cross listed with PLAS and/or with strong Latin American content 
    • One seminar course with strong Latin American content
  • Proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, or French (for students focused on the French Caribbean)
  • A thesis on a Latin American topic, using primary materials from the region, supervised by a faculty adviser, and combined with a departmental major*

Brazilian Studies Track

  • Completion of three courses across several disciplines
    • One humanities course cross listed with PLAS and/or with strong Brazilian content
    • Two courses from any field cross listed with PLAS and/or with strong, Brazil-related content
    • At least one of these courses must be a seminar
  • Proficiency in Portuguese
  • A thesis on a Brazilian topic, using primary materials from the region, supervised by a faculty adviser, and combined with a departmental major*

*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 Monday, April 27, 2020 in PDF format to plas@princeton.edu

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.

 

Featured Certificate Students

headshotCelia Aranda Reina '21

Celia Aranda Reina '21 is a sophomore in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. She is passionate about the intersection between the environment and the different Latin American cultures, especially in the rise of globalization and unsymmetrical development. She is planning on studying abroad in Santiago, Chile in Fall 2019 to further study this intersection.

 

 

 

 

headshotDiana Sandoval Siman ’20

Diana is a junior from San Salvador, El Salvador majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School with certificates in Latin American Studies and Values & Public Life. She is passionate about connections between violence, development, and democracy in Central America, which she hopes to pursue in graduate school. Her first JP explored the right to information in the fight against impunity and corruption in El Salvador. On campus, Diana is the president of Raqs, Princeton Belly Dance Company, and enjoys mentoring fellow students as a Peer Academic Advisor for Whitman College and Global Ambassador for the Office of International Programs.

 

headshotPeter Schmidt '20 

Peter Schmidt is a junior from Missouri concentrating in the Spanish and Portuguese Department, with a track in Environmental Studies. He is interested in the way that histories of social and political power interact with the physical environment, and particularly in the relationship between colonialism and climate change. His first junior paper explored the ways that the contemporary movement for a renewable energy grid in Puerto Rico presents itself as a project in political liberation. He has conducted research in Bolivia as a Sigmund Scholar and worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Ecuador as a Streicker Fellow. On campus, he is a member of the Princeton Religious Life Council and Scully Co-op.

 

 

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.