Undergraduate Program Latin American Studies

Aerial panorama of Botafogo Bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree and Certificate Overview

Latin America is a large region rich in history and culture, and it has been a melting pot of cultures and races well before the United States claimed the title. To the wealth of Indigenous cultures that existed in the Americas when the Spaniards first arrived in 1492, we must add the cultural influence of millions of Africans brought to work as slaves on plantations and mines. In addition to Spanish, Portuguese and French colonizers, the region also saw a large influx of European immigrants, and in some countries, East Asian indentured laborers, late into the 19th century. The result is people of many cultures that have not only lived side by side but also have intermingled to give birth to truly hybrid societies. Join us to study Latin America’s social contradictions, political intrigues, economic crises, and environmental diversity.

Degree Details


Latin American Studies Bachelor's Degree or Certificate: Why PSU?

Choose PSU’s Latin American Studies major if you’re looking for:

  • Exceptional faculty. Our faculty have extensive experience with teaching, research, and fieldwork in all the major geographic regions of the world. 
  • Exciting, cutting-edge courses. Our face-to-face and online courses cover topics such as the Amazon Rainforest, environment and development, political conflicts and commodity chains in the region.
  • An interdisciplinary degree. We offer a flexible interdisciplinary curriculum that can be tailored to your goals and interests. Our faculty are scholars from diverse disciplines such as geography, economics, and history.
  • Personalized advising. Professional and faculty advisors are there to support your learning goals and guide you to new opportunities.
  • Study abroad opportunities. You can enhance your knowledge of the region by going on one of the many credit-bearing international opportunities in South and Central American countries offered through PSU’s Education Abroad.
  • Scholarships and fellowships. Many scholarships are available to students, including Critical Language Scholarships as well as Boren and Fulbright opportunities. 

Our diverse campus is located in the center of downtown Portland, one of the most vibrant cities on the West Coast.

What can I do with a Bachelor's Degree or Certificate in Latin American Studies?

A degree in Latin American Studies prepares students for a wide range of careers in the nonprofit, private, and government sectors. Graduates of our program have found opportunities all over the world in:

  • Graduate programs in Latin American Studies, International Affairs, Global Studies, Business, Political Science, Urban Studies, Public Health, etc.
  • Private-sector employers, including international businesses 
  • Aid organizations such as the International Red Cross
  • Nonprofits focused on issues ranging from health to education, food systems, gender rights, sustainability, global issues, and more.
  • Business incubators and trade organizations
  • Government agencies, with a focus on international affairs
  • Journalism and media organizations

Whether you want to pursue a career overseas, work in the United States, or prepare for a graduate degree, take the first step with a Portland State University’s Latin American Studies degree or certificate.

Core Curriculum

  •  INTL 201 Introduction to International Studies
  • INTL 240 Introduction to Latin American Studies
  • INTL 296 The United State and the World
  • INTL 407 Seminar
  • INTL 415 Global Studies Theories
  • INTL 470 Intercultural Leadership and Change or INTL 471/LING 471 Understanding the International Experience

INTL 240: Students may double count Intl 240 for the major and University Studies Sophomore Inquiry; a Mentored Inquiry section is required.

INTL 201 is a prerequisite for INTL 415.

Individualized Curriculum

Connected Learning: At least 20 upper-division credits from advisor-approved courses. Connected Learning courses must have global/international content.

Regional Focus: At least 20 upper-division credits from advisor-approved, area-specific courses appropriate to the student’s regional focus. 

Language: Two years, or equivalent proficiency, of language study in one language appropriate to the regional focus. For students taking courses at PSU, second-year proficiency is defined by successful completion of the terminal course in the second-year language sequence, or demonstrating proficiency through the Department of World Languages and Literatures.

Accreditation & Ranking

Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).