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Latin American Studies Major Guide for 2009-2010

What is Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies offers a broad sampling of courses from Anthropology, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages, Political Science, and Sociology which focus on the region’s diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. Study abroad opportunities are strongly encouraged, especially UTK’s summer programs in Puebla, Mexico and Fortaleza, Brazil.

Career Opportunities in Latin American Studies

Doors are open to a wide spectrum of careers for LAS majors and minors.  Included are: Education, Government, Business, Law, Human Services, Public Administration. Students have gone on to become banking officers, marketing researchers, labor relations workers, hotel managers, travel agents, newspaper reporters, technical writers, immigration inspectors, and import-export agents.

Salary Trends in Latin American Studies

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary.  As a group, Arts and Sciences graduates average $33,258 (

High School Preparation

A balanced curriculum with strong preparation in the social sciences and the humanities and at least three years of a foreign language is strongly recommended.

How to Major in Latin American Studies

Students who are not certain if they want to major or minor in LAS would do well to take LAS 251 and 252 (Introduction to Latin American Studies); these classes count for the non-US History distribution requirement and are an excellent means of becoming familiar with the many topics studied in the major/minor.  Students can begin the major or minor by taking any of the Latin American Studies 300-level classes.

Requirements for Latin American Studies

The Latin American concentration consists of two optional tracks: General Studies or Brazilian Studies. Each program requires 27 hours of upper division classes listed in the UT catalog; courses must be divided among a minimum of three different disciplines chosen from Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Geography, History, Spanish or Portuguese, Political Science, and Sociology.

Special Programs, Co-ops, and Internships

The University of Tennessee’s Summer Study programs in Puebla, Mexico and Fortaleza, Brazil are strongly recommended.

Highlights of Latin American Studies

The Hodges Library has an excellent collection of Latin American videos and films; the LAS faculty have traveled and studied extensively throughout Latin America and, thus, they bring to the classroom a rich blend of first-hand knowledge and experience. During each academic year, there are numerous lectures and enrichment activities.

Ready for the World logoReady for the World

Students are encouraged to join our fall semester in Gauyaquil, Ecuador which is a program focused on social justice and includes a semester-long community service internship with a local community organization.  Students take classes at the Universidad Católica in Guayaquil and live with Ecuadorian families; a UTK faculty member accompanies the group and offers a course in English with the social justice theme.  The remaining credit hours are given in Spanish, either at the lower division or upper division levels.  Lower division classes correspond to UTK’s intermediate Spanish classes, and upper division classes cover conversation, literature and history, for example.  Students may receive up to 15 credit hours for the semester.  Completion of first-year Spanish is the only language requirement, and the program is open to all majors.  For more information, check with the Center of International Education’s Program Abroad Office.

Learn more about UT's Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today's world.

Sample Curriculum

Freshman Year Credit Hours
English Composition 6
Foreign Language 6
Natural Science Lab Sequence 8
Quantitative Reasoning 6-8
Social Sciences 3
Elective 0-2

Sophomore Year Credit Hours
Non-US History 6
Natural Science 3
Foreign Language or General Electives 6
Humanities 6
Social Sciences 9
Latin American Studies (major) 3

Junior Year Credit Hours
Humanities 3
Upper Level Distribution 3
Upper Division Electives 9
Latin American Studies (major) 12
General Electives 6

Senior Year Credit Hours
Latin American Studies (major) 12
Upper Level Distribution 3
Communicating Through Writing 3
Communicating Orally 3
General Electives 2

GRAND TOTAL (minimum) 120

For More Information

Professor Michael Handelsman
Chair of LAS



The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.