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Academics: Prospective

The University of New Mexico (UNM) Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII) is one of the top institutions in the US for Latin American Studies (LAS). Designated a National Resource Center (NRC) by the US Department of Education, the LAII provides a comprehensive and engaging environment for the study and research of Latin America.

Why Earn a Major or Minor in Latin American Studies?

A major or minor in Latin American Studies provides students with an increased understanding and awareness of the people, environments, and cultures of Latin America. The program combines a standard liberal arts degree from the College of Arts and Sciences with area expertise. Students gain insight into cultural diversity within the framework of an increasingly global world.

Through interdisciplinary coursework, the program sharpens students' cultural awareness, language competency, written and oral communication skills, research skills, and the ability to work with diverse audiences, among other skills. Given that people of Hispanic descent are currently the largest minority population in the US, it is more valuable than ever to be versed in Latin American cultures. Graduates of the program will be positioned to work within a range of careers, including applied fields such as health care, social work, or education, areas of international finance and trade, and with human rights and advocacy organizations.

Why Earn a Graduate Degree in Latin American Studies?

Students who earn a graduate degree in Latin American Studies receive comprehensive exposure to Latin American languages, culture, history, politics, and economics. They are trained to think at multiple levels and to critically consider local, national, regional, and global perspectives.

Interdisciplinary training, combined with exposure to both theoretical and applied approaches, enables students to bring new perspectives to the study of so-called developing or third world countries. Students are encouraged to think imaginatively and extensively about their areas of inquiry, whether their focus lies within human rights, anthropology, community development, law, public health, languages, etc. In short, graduates of the program are positioned to operate with sensitivity and ingenuity in an increasingly intercultural and interdependent world.

Why Pursue Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico?

Students who pursue a Latin American Studies degree at the University of New Mexico benefit from the LAII's designation by the US Department of Education as a National Resource Center (NRC) for Latin American Studies. Such designation is given only to the premier programs in the US. At the LAII, students gain access to renowned faculty, extensive course offerings, research and study funding opportunities, expansive library resources, and a strong, collegial community.

  • Faculty and Courses Offerings

    Renowned faculty and extensive course offerings link the LAS program to 15 departments and 7 schools/colleges across campus. With many of the courses spanning disciplines, students benefit from interdisciplinary scholarship and cross-cutting research. A sampling of recent courses partially conveys the richness of the curricula: ANTH 340: Indigenous Mexico, CRP 537: Urban Systems, HIST 688: Modern Brazil, LING 401: K'iche' Maya, LTAM: Human Rights in Latin America, PH 554: Health Policy and Social Equity, POLS 442: International Peacekeeping and Resolution, SOC: Gender and International Development, SPAN 301: Medical Spanish, and UHON 221: Art and History of Día de los Muertos.

  • Research and Study Funding Opportunities

    The LAII provides LAS students with several exceptional resources for supporting their research and studies. Undergraduate and graduate students can apply to receive Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to support their study of less commonly taught languages such as Portuguese, K'iche' Maya, and Quechua, and graduate students may receive Field Research Grants to conduct individual field work in Latin America.

  • Library Resources

    Expansive library resources ensure that students in the LAS program have readily available materials to enhance their studies and research. The Latin American and Iberian library holdings at UNM are among the strongest collections in the country.

  • Community

    Lastly, the LAII provides a strong and supportive community of faculty, staff, and student peers. Professors from across campus work one-on-one with students; staff at the LAII are readily available to advise; and students regularly convene through the Student Organization for Latin American Studies (SOLAS), a group that engages in academic, activist, and social activities for students who have an interest in Latin America.