Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies [GCLAS] offers Washington University students the opportunity to pursue a multidisciplinary specialization on this region of the world while completing their Ph.D. degree. The GCLAS combines discipline-based training with cultural studies, thus allowing for a rigorous approach to Latin America’s social, economic, and political history. At the same time, students are exposed to new theories and current debates on the topics of nation formation, governance, colonialism, development, regionalism, public health, modernization, globalization, neoliberalism, etc. At the national level, programs of Latin American Studies date back to the late 1940s, when the Area Studies paradigm became central in the internationalization of academic focus in the context of the Cold War. Today, as globalization has made internationalization an even more pressing concern, Latin American Studies is part of a new need for better understanding of other world regions. In fact, Latin American countries consistently play an important role within the intellectual and political spheres of the United States. Latin America is the single largest source of immigrants to the United States today. It has the third trade partner of the US (Mexico), one of the most vibrant emergent economies in the world (Brazil), countries that have been at the core of US foreign policy for decades (Colombia, Venezuela, Cuba and the Andean region, for instance) and a vibrant population and culture that is growingly the focus of US students.


Students will be required to apply to be considered for the certificate program and will be evaluated by the graduate certificate committee on a rotating basis. This application is submitted at the beginning of the student’s doctoral coursework in Arts and Sciences and requires a support letter from the DGS of their Ph.D. home program. The Chair of the Graduate Certificate Committee will forward recommendations for admission to the vice dean of the Office of Graduate Studies in Arts and Science for final approval. All applicants to the GCLAS are expected to be in good academic standing as defined by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Certificate Requirements

Students interested in earning the Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies must complete 15 graduate units. Six of those units may also count towards the Ph.D. requirements with the prior approval of the Ph.D. home department Director of Graduate Studies. Students in the LAS Graduate Certificate Program must fulfill all requirements of the Ph.D. required by their respective home departments and the Office of Graduate Studies, and the following LAS certificate requirements

Complete a total of 15 graduate credits:

  • 3 credits from ONE (1) LASP core course.
  • 3 credits from ONE (1) Latin American Seminar course taught by LASP Core faculty.
  • 9 credits from THREE (3) LASP-related courses in at least two departments or schools outside the student’s major department.
  • Have proven proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese, following the guidelines established by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
  • Spend at least one summer abroad, conducting research in Latin American Studies.
  • Participate actively in the Latin American Colloquium for at least one semester, including the presentation of a research paper. The presentation should ideally result from the summer research mentioned above.