Latin American Studies Certificate

The Latin American Studies Program at Penn offers a means of understanding similarities and differences among the cultures and societies of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latino populations in the United States. Thus, the scope of Latin American Studies at Penn transcends the geographical limits of "area studies." Spanish America and Brazil are the center of the Latin American Studies program, but Ibero-America should be the focal point from which students also pursue studies of the pre-Columbian societies of the Americas, Spain and Portugal, Latino communities in the United States and the non-Hispanic Caribbean.

Students are encouraged to explore topics that have been developed and disputed in Latin America, including general human questions as diverse as the relations of the people to the land; the intersections of natural and supernatural worlds; class-based societies and movements for social change; and social definitions of race, ethnicity and sexuality. More recently, in the 1990s, these issues included a range of specific disciplinary issues: artistic expression in new and traditional genres; the relations of indigenous, peasant and industrial cultures; and the emergence of civic culture out of violence and dictatorship.


  • Five courses with content related to Latin American Studies
  • A Capstone Project on a topic pertaining to Latin American Studies, completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

Application Procedure

Students wishing to pursue a certificate in Latin American Studies through the Master of Liberal Arts Program should complete an MLA Application.

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