Academic Programs


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Why study Latin American and Caribbean Studies at KU?

More than 100 core, affiliate, and research faculty members associated with the Center teach and research Latin America through a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary prisms, and mentor students interested in the region. Our courses strive to advance knowledge and seek solutions to pressing questions related to Latin America and the Caribbean, thereby placing this region in a global conversation. CLACS seeks to provide an environment for learning and working where differences are valued and each person is supported and offered an equitable opportunity to achieve their academic and professional goals, we believe that our courses promote multiculturalism on campus and in our community.

Minor

The Undergraduate Minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies provides students with a basic foundation of knowledge on Latin America & the Caribbean to complement their primary area(s) of expertise. There are two options or tracks: the General Latin American and Caribbean Studies Track and the Indigenous Studies in Latin America (ISLA) Track.

Haitian carnival parade.

Bachelor of Arts

Are you interested in exploring the Amazonian rainforest? How are Latin American nations dealing with the contagious diseases? Do you want to know more about the people that built the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal or Palenque?  How did soccer become so popular in Latin America, but why do Dominicans and Cubans love baseball more? Why is China so interested in economic opportunities in Latin America? These are the questions that spur students to take classes in Latin American Studies. 

Latin American nations account for almost two thirds of the total population of the Western Hemisphere. Today, Latinos and Latin-Americans represent the largest minority group in the United States, accounting for sixteen percent of the population. Knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean cultures, environment, and society are crucial to U.S. hemispheric relations and world understanding. For over fifty years, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS) has provided KU students the opportunity to study this region and its peoples and encourage the development of foreign language, research, writing, and critical thinking skills.

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Accelerated Master of Arts

The Accelerated M.A. program enables qualified KU students to earn both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in 5 years. 12 hours of 500-level or above coursework in the major completed in Year 4 (senior year) are may count for both the B.A. and the M.A. The M.A is completed in Year 5. 

The M.A. may be pursued as a terminal degree or as preparation for doctoral studies at KU or elsewhere.

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Master of Arts

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) offers an interdisciplinary MA program to students interested in exploring and advancing knowledge in the histories, cultures, and social, political and economic affairs of the region. Our program is distinguished by its quality and long term national recognition, facilitating graduate research at home and abroad, sponsoring events that promote transcultural competence, and development of outreach resources to regional educators.

Latin American nations account for almost two thirds of the total population of the Western hemisphere. Today, Latinos represent the largest minority group in the United States, accounting for approximately sixteen percent of the population. Knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean culture, environment, and society is crucial to understanding U.S. hemispheric relations and world understanding. For over 50 years, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS) has provided KU students the opportunity to study this region and its people, and encourage the development of foreign language, research, writing, and critical thinking skills. 

Graduate students may pursue the degree of Master of Arts (MA) through either the thesis or comparative research paper track. Both programs require 30 credit hours of graduate-level coursework. Students on either track have substantial flexibility in choosing their courses and will work with the graduate advisor to create a coherent and focused program of study. Students may pursue the M.A. as a terminal degree for careers in the public or private sector or as preparation for additional graduate study. Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor with any additional questions.

KU is situated in Lawrence, Kansas, and is a vibrant college town. The state's flagship university has many resources for academic and financial support. Lawrence has an active arts community, and there are many opportunities for cultural engagement, health & wellness activities, and professional development. Feel free to review KU's comprehensive graduate studies Welcome Guide​.

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Graduate Certificate

With more than 100 core, affiliate, and research faculty members, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers a graduate certificate for students who want to cultivate a knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean and to develop cultural fluency and intellectual flexibility.

The Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies graduate certificate is a 12-credit/4-course certificate designed for KU graduate students from other disciplines, as well as students from outside the university. The certificate has three tracks: general Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Brazilian Studies, and Central American and Mexican Studies.

As a prerequisite to beginning the certificate, students applying to the Brazilian Studies track must have significant training or experience in Portuguese. Students applying to the Central American and Mexican Studies track must have significant training or experience in Spanish. No prior foreign language training or experience is required for admission to the general Latin American and Caribbean Studies track. (It is not necessary to submit a personal statement or reference letters with the certificate application). 

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Non-Degree Seeking

Students with a completed Bachelor’s degree who have demonstrated academic competence and wish to take an upcoming graduate-level course in LA&CS may apply as a non-degree seeking (NDS) student.

Please note undergraduate prerequisite course completion is typically necessary to succeed in graduate-level coursework. If you intend to enroll in coursework via NDS status for non-graduate study pursuits and personal interests, please specify what courses you would like to complete in the department in the personal statement.

Not all courses may be open to NDS students; please contact our graduate academic advisor before applying. KU’s Graduate Studies page on How to Apply is a resource for application-related logistical questions.  

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