Undergraduate Program Chicano/Latino Studies

Three PSU students studying together

Chicano/Latino Studies Minor and Certificate Overview

Chicano/Latino studies is the study of social, economic, and political forces that have shaped the development of Latinos in the United States. Latinos are persons who can trace their roots to Mexico and other Latin American countries. They are a diverse population that includes groups that have lived continuously in the United States for more than 150 years as well as those who have arrived in the United States more recently.

The minor or the certificate in Chicano/Latino studies is a valuable asset for individuals preparing to work in fields and professions that place a premium on effectively reaching out to Latino individuals and communities. A balanced program of social science and humanities makes the Chicano/Latino studies minor or certificate one of the most useful complements to any Portland State University major. Students with a certificate in Chicano/Latino studies pursue careers in human resources; pre-medicine; science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields and the social sciences, and go on to careers in social work, community engagement, health, and public service.

We offer:

  • A foundation of the history, diversity of culture, contributions, and challenges in the 21st century for the Latino population in the United States.
  • Development of strong skills in critical thinking, communication, theory, and analysis.
  • Engagement with faculty who are experts in a variety of academic fields, and are active in research, publication, and community service.
  • Attentive academic advising and mentoring to guide students in their careers and community engagement activities.
  • Flexible course formats, with a mix of in-person, fully online, and hybrid courses.
  • Connections to the robust community of Latino student groups on campus.

The Chicano/Latino studies certificate has a Spanish-language proficiency requirement.

Degree Details

  • m
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring
  • C
    Certificate Program
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring

Chicano/Latino Studies Minor or Certificate: Why PSU?

Portland State is the only college in Oregon that has a Chicano/Latino studies program that has its own faculty who teach all courses for the minor and certificate in Chicano/Latino Studies. For most students, college is the first time they have the opportunity to take courses focusing on Chicano/Latino studies. At PSU, students have the opportunity to study the culture and history of Latinos in the United States and engage deeply in student groups dedicated to celebrating this population.

  • MECHA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán): focuses on educating and empowering youth toward self-determination and increasing the number of Chicanx students in higher education.
  • Las Mujeres PSU (The Women of PSU): a Chican@/Latin@/women's empowerment organization that focuses on carving a special safe space on campus, community involvement on and off-campus, and facilitating allyship.
  • Dream PSU: a student group that advocates for undocumented students on campus.

Our location in Portland, gives our students access to internships they can carry out while they’re in school. Our students tap into the local network of alumni and community members to get internships and jobs. Employers seek candidates who have experience working with multicultural groups and communicating about complex issues, giving our students an advantage in the job market. The Chicano/Latino studies program also offers a mural painting course, where students get to collaborate with community members and create a cultural landmark that exists long after they graduate from PSU.

What Can I Do With a Minor or Certificate in Chicano/Latino Studies?

Our alumni gain entrance into highly competitive academic and professional graduate programs in fields such as social work, library science, and law enforcement at schools like the University of Chicago, University of Southern California, and UC Berkeley. Our students graduate with skills and knowledge they can’t learn anywhere else, preparing them for jobs in education, healthcare, business, and government and nonprofits that serve communities with significant Latino populations.

Featured Courses

  • CHLA 325 Mexican American/Chicano History I, 1492-1900
  • CHLA 330U Latino Popular Culture
  • CHLA 340 Mayas, Aztecs and Chicanos
  • CHLA 335 Chicanx/Latinx Film
  • CHLA 375U Southwestern Borderlands
  • CHLA 345 Public Art: Mexican-American/Chicano Muralism
  • CHLA 450U Latinos in Education
  • CHLA 390U Latinos in the Pacific Northwest


  • CHLA 325/Hst 325 Mexican American/Chicano History I, 1492-1900
  • CHLA 330U Latino Popular Culture
  • CHLA 331U Barrio Culture
  • CHLA 340 Mayas, Aztecs and Chicanos
  • CHLA 335 Chicanx/Latinx Film
  • CHLA 375U Southwestern Borderlands
  • CHLA 450U Latinos and Education
  • CHLA 390U Latinos in the Pacific Northwest



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

The minor in Chicano/Latino studies is the only one of its kind in Oregon; the certificate in Chicano/Latino studies is the only on its kind in the Pacific Northwest.