Program Description

The Department of Latin American, Caribbean, & U.S. Latino Studies has a cross-disciplinary faculty prepared to train undergraduates for research, service, and applied careers dealing with the U.S. Latino communities and with the Caribbean and Latin American regions.

The department offers two undergraduate major options: 1) Latin American and Caribbean studies and 2) Puerto Rican studies.

The interdisciplinary major in Latin American studies has been designed to prepare students for professional and research careers; domestic service with federal and state governmental agencies; careers in the United States foreign service; careers with business and educational organizations, public and private foundations, and other private or public agencies engaged in developing, improving, and promoting trade and the social, political, and economic life of the peoples of Latin America; editing and journalism; and paramedical and paralegal careers.

This major requires interdisciplinary course work with Latin American content and competence in Spanish, Portuguese, or French. Opportunities for study abroad are also available through the University’s Office for International Education.

The interdisciplinary major in Puerto Rican studies has been designed to provide students with an opportunity for intensive interdisciplinary exploration of the Puerto Rican experience in the Caribbean and in the United States. In addition the program provides an integrated, broadly based knowledge of the islands of the Caribbean, the rest of Latin America, and the United States. Courses deal with aspects of the life of Puerto Ricans: cultural, social, political, and economic processes; language; literature and the arts; and education. In addition, the program provides the opportunity for comparative study of other Latino groups in the United States.

Undergraduate students in the department are also provided with opportunities for community-oriented research, community service, and study abroad. Upon completion of the program requirements, students should possess a reading knowledge of Spanish. Most students enrolled in Puerto Rican studies are also encouraged to have a second major in one of the traditional disciplines.

Minor sequences in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in U.S. Latino Studies, and in Globalization of the Americas are also currently offered by the department.

Courses focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean are also offered in the Departments of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, History, Geography and Regional Planning, Anthropology, Sociology, Africana Studies, Education, Economics, and Political Science, and Women's Studies.

LACS' programs also pay attention to the manner in which globalization, (im)migration, and transnationalism are forging new hemispheric visions of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In light of this reality, our research and teaching agenda is also focused on the U.S. Latino experience and its relationship to the countries of origin. This feature of our program reflects faculty interest and expertise and distinguishes the University at Albany LACS programs from those offered by other institutions. See also - LACS Programs Learning Objectives.

Puerto RicoSome of the main areas of expertise of LACS faculty include globalization studies, development studies, women's studies, migration studies, cultural studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, Caribbean literature, education, and Puerto Rican and U.S. Latino Studies. Study abroad and field research opportunities are available with institutions in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Trinidad.

The Department of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) at the University at Albany is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive program of its kind within the SUNY system. It is the only academic department that currently offers a doctoral concentration, an MA degree, and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to undergraduate majors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Puerto Rican Studies.

The Center for Latino, Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS), autonomous research units overlapping LACS in geographical coverage and faculty, also have made significant contributions with their publications, conferences, and attracting grant resources and promoting international collaborations. IMS is affiliated with the Department of Anthropology.

CELAC coordinates collaborative agreements, research and technical assistance projects, scholarly conferences and seminars, publications, and other special activities dealing with the Latin American and Caribbean regions and the U.S. Latino population.

Most LACS graduates pursue careers in education, international business, government or community service agencies, public policy, law, criminal justice, and social work. Degree candidates are also expected to demonstrate advanced language proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese or French. A limited number of assistantships are available to doctoral program applicants on a competitive basis.