Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies

A deep and nuanced understanding of the diverse cultures, histories and geopolitics of the Americas, the Caribbean and the U.S. Latino community has arguably never been more relevant or more urgent.

More than a half-century old, our program embraces a broad interdisciplinary approach to studying Latin America and Latino culture, with particular strengths in history, politics, literature and anthropology. At the same time, you will be encouraged to locate and delve into an area of particular interest to you. We encourage you to do research—from Boston to Belize to Brazil—and we’ll connect you with the right faculty member to do so.

The Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) Program is a locus of nonstop activity, with a full roster of guest lectures, film screenings, theater events, field trips and talks by visiting artists and writers. We even host Graffiti Week, which features a tagging demonstration by a world-renowned Brazilian street artist.

Our graduates go on to careers in such varied areas as academia, law, the nonprofit sector, medicine, filmmaking and international affairs, often with a connection to the Latino community.

Why Brandeis?

Our accessible, enthusiastic faculty are experts in a range of disciplines, and they are as devoted to your learning as they are to their research. Our program offers prizes and travel grants to support your research in the U.S. or abroad. Brandeis is home to a robust collection of films on Latin America and the Latino diaspora in the United States—all available to you.

Academics and Research

Compelling Classes

Every semester, we offer timely and innovative courses in a range of disciplines. Recent examples include:

  • Narcopolitics

  • Writing on the Wall: Histories of Graffiti in the Americas

  • Mapping Latino Boston

  • New Latin American Cinema: From Revolution to the Market

  • Third Word Ideologies

  • Digital Documentary Photography

Jane's Prizes and Awards

In support of creative undergraduate scholarship, we offer:

  • The Jane's Essay Prize for the best paper in Latin American and Latino studies. Recent titles include “The Huelga School Movement: Pedagogy, Power, and Memory.”

  • The Jane's Photography Prize for the best photograph from Latin America or a Latino community.

  • Jane's Travel Grants for research in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Latin American Diaspora in the U.S. Recent grants include “Cuando vengan los americanos: Investigating US Influence on Domestic Small Businesses in Cuba,” “Contemporary Art Practices: Mexico City in Context” and “Remembering and Re-Membering the Afro- Boriqueña Identity and the Arts.”

Honors Thesis

If you’re up for it, you may choose to write an honors thesis. This experience is both challenging and rewarding, and enables you to study a single topic in great depth, conducting original research and exploring new ways of thinking about your subject.

Faculty Excellence

Distinguished Faculty

Our faculty are not only accessible, engaging, award-winning teachers, they are active researchers with expertise in history, politics, literature, languages and even sustainable development. Here are some recent faculty accomplishments:

Patricia Álvarez Astacio received several awards for her documentary “Entretejido”, including Best Cultural/Ethnic Documentary Film at the Houston International Film Festival.

Greg Childs was appointed Conference Committee Chair of the 2018 African American Intellectual History Society.

Elizabeth Ferry recently completed a book with her brother Stephen Ferry, a photographer, “La Batea: Impressions of Gold in Colombia” (Editorial Icono/Redhook Editions). In 2016, she received a Mandel Faculty Research grant to travel to Mexico and Colombia for research on gold in mining and finance.

Ricardo Godoy published “The Visibility of Community Resource Inequality and Psychological Health” in Economics and Human Biology and “The Effects of Community Income Inequality on Health: Evidence From a Randomized Control Trial in the Bolivian Amazon” in Social Science Medicine, among several other articles.

Charles Golden, co-director of archaeological surveys and excavations in the Usumacinta River Valley between Mexico and Guatemala, received a grant from The Alphawood Foundation to complete research in Piedras Negras, Guatemala.

Beyond the Classroom

Study Abroad

We strongly encourage you to broaden your horizons by studying abroad. Our students have studied at universities in Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Peru and Brazil. Find out about the latest options by contacting the Office of Study Abroad.

Student Groups

The Brandeis Latinx Student Organization is a student-run organization that provides social, academic and emotional support for the Latinx community. The Caribbean Cultural Club offers an open space for all students to learn about Caribbean Culture and society.

Careers, Graduate Study and Alumni

Diverse Career Opportunities

LALS majors (and minors!) go on to exciting careers in academia, teaching, law, medicine and global health, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, the arts, advocacy and more.

Real Jobs

Brandeis LALS graduates include the Mexico specialist at the Library of Congress, a documentary filmmaker, a commercial adviser to Panama at the WTO Mission in Geneva, Switzerland, a family planning and sustainable development program specialist for USAID, an immigration attorney, director of the National Security Archive's Chile Documentation Project and Cuba Documentation Project, a bilingual speech language pathologist serving the Latino population, and an associate director of operations for an international human rights organization.