Undergraduate Certificate in Latin American Studies

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 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 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.

  • Proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, or French (for students focused on the French Caribbean).  Can be satisfied by completing SPA 107, POR 109 or FRE 107; also can be fulfilled by test credit in these languages or by 200-level or higher language class. 
  • 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

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.

  • Proficiency in Portuguese.  Can be satisfied by completing POR 109; also can be fulfilled by test credit in Portuguese or by 200-level or higher language class. 
  • 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 25, 2022 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.

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 Certificate Students

Diego Ayala '22

 

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Diego Ayala is a concentrator in History and a PLAS certificate student. For his independent work last fall he wrote a junior paper entitled “The Transition to Free Labor in Puerto Rico: Class and Politics in a Nineteenth-Century Colony,” on the abolition of forced labor in Puerto Rico and its aftermath. 

 

Eric Velasquez ‘22

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Eric Velasquez is a concentrator in Economics and a PLAS certificate student.  Eric is a PLAS student worker who in his spare time volunteers as an ESL tutor for the YWCA. He previously tutored for El Centro in Trenton. Eric is primarily interested in the intersection between education and development economics and his passion for Latin American Studies also extends to translation, migration, and the environment.