The program in Chican@ and Latin@ Studies (CLS) offers a systematic and interdisciplinary analysis of Mexican- and Latin-American-origin people, cultures, and collectivities within the United States. The CLS major and certificate are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge base and the intellectual tools to understand the unity and diversity of those people and cultures, both historically and in the contemporary period, as they explore the central questions and topics that have emerged in this interdisciplinary field.  The CLS curriculum enables students to engage with the history, experience, arts, cultural production, and social lives of communities of Latin American descent in the United States, developing their capacities for civic and community engagement as well as research, writing, and analytical skills. CLS graduates are equipped to include and engage with diverse perspectives as they pursue careers in such fields as education, social service, communications, publishing, business, journalism, agriculture, engineering, the arts, construction, and the health professions.

To declare the Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies major, a student should set up an appointment with the CLS advisor. It is recommended that students declare the major as early as possible to plan the required coursework. There are no specific courses that must be completed before declaration.

Students declared in the Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies Certificate may not be declared in the Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies major at the same time. Students who do wish to declare this major must first cancel their declaration into the Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies Certificate.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional foreign language.
L&S Breadth
  • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include 6 credits of literature; and
  • 12 credits of Social Science; and
  • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include one 3+ credit Biological Science course and one 3+ credit Physical Science course.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work Complete at least 60 credits at the intermediate or advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience
  • 30 credits in residence, overall; and
  • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work
  • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
  • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level coursework at UW–Madison

Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major

Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

The major requires a minimum of 30 credits and the specific requirements include: 

Introductory Course
CHICLA 201 Introduction to Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies3
Introductory Elective3
Introduction to Comparative US Ethnic and American Indian Studies
The North American West to 1850
The U.S. West Since 1850
Latina/Latino/Latinx History
Chicana/o and Latina/o Cultural Studies
Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies
Chicana and Latina History
The U.S. & Latin America from the Colonial Era to the Present: A Critical Survey
Critical Aspects of Teaching, Schooling, and Education
Intersectionalities, Self ­Awareness, and Social Actions for Social Change
Race and the Developing Child
Cultures and Histories9
Chicana/o and Latina/o History
Cultures and Histories Topics in Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies
Race, Ethnicity, and Media
Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective
Survey of Latino and Latina Popular Culture
Chicana/o and Latina/o Literatures
Latino/as and Media
Colony, Nation, and Minority: The Puerto Ricans' World
Black and Latinx in Literature and Visual Culture
US Latino Literature
Topics in Latinx Culture
Border and Race Studies in Latin America
Latinx Digital Publics
Directed Study
Individuals, Peoples, Societies9
Mexican-American Politics
Latinx Feminisms: Women's Lives, Work, and Activism
Racial Formation and Whiteness
Topics in Chicano/a Studies
Latinas: Self Identity and Social Change
Latino History and Politics
Ethnicity, Race, and Justice
Immigration, Crime, and Enforcement
Sociodemographic Analysis of Mexican Migration
Latino Urbanism: Design and Engagement in the American City
Chican@ and Latin@ Social Movements in the U.S.
Advanced Topics in Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies
Directed Study
The Political Economy of Race in the United States
Serving Chicanx and Latinx Communities6
Latinx Literacies
Chicano/Latino Educational Justice
Education and Service Topics in Chicana/o & Latina/o Studies
Immigrant Health and Wellbeing
Dimensions of Latin@ Mental Health Services
Directed Study
Theories of Bilingualism and Biliteracy
Bilingualism and Biliteracy in Schools
Racial Ethnic Families in the U.S.
Total Credits30

Residence and Quality of Work 

  • 2.000 GPA in all CHICLA and major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, in residence.  Upper-level in the major includes CHICLA courses numbered 300 and above and courses that count for the major that are designated as Intermediate or Advanced level.
  • 15 credits in CHICLA taken in residence on the UW-Madison campus

University Degree Requirements

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.
  1. Identify and analyze core concepts, important social and political issues, and key artistic and cultural expressions related to Chicana/o and Latina/o life in the United States.
  2. Discuss the histories of Chicanas/os and Latinas/os in the United States and their implications for contemporary problems of racialization, social stratification, colonialism, and oppression.
  3. Describe the commonalities and differences among Chicanas/os and Latinas/os along lines of class, gender, race, sexuality, citizenship, and national origin, and evaluate Latinidad as a pan-ethnic category in the United States.
  4. Analyze relations between Chicanas/os and Latinas/os in the United States and their countries of heritage from a transnational and transborder perspective.
  5. Apply ideas from Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies to concrete problems through service-learning and community-based research, in a spirit of dialogue and reciprocal exchange informed by ethical and social justice principles.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
CHICLA 2013CHICLA introductory elective3
Communication A3Biological Science Breadth3
Quantitative Reasoning A3-4CHICLA major course 3 (Cultures and Histories)3
Foreign Language4Elective3
 16 15
Second Year
CHICLA major course 43CHICLA major course 5 (Serving Chicanx & Latinx Communities)3
Quantitative Reasoning-B3Communication BCommunication B can be fulfilled with CHICLA 501 or 5203
INTER-LS 210 (elective)1Physical Science Breadth3
Intermediate elective3Intermediate elective3
Intermediate elective3Intermediate elective3
 13 15
Third Year
CHICLA major course 6 (Individuals, Peoples, Societies)3CHICLA major course 7 (Cultures and Histories)3
I/A Comp Sci, Math or Stats (if required for BS)3CHICLA major course 8 (Serving Chicanx & Latinx Communities)3
Intermediate Elective3Science Breadth3
Science Breadth3Intermediate Elective3
Intermediate Elective3Intermediate Elective3
 15 15
Fourth Year
CHICLA major course 9 (Individuals, Peoples, Societies)3CHICLA major course 10 (Cultures and Histories)3
Advanced elective3Advanced elective3
I/A Comp Sci, MATH, or STAT (if B.S.)3Advanced elective3
Advanced elective4Advanced elective3
Advanced elective3Advanced elective3
 16 15
Total Credits 120

Sample Three-Year Plan

This Sample Three-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it —along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools — to make their own three-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests.

Three-year plans may vary considerably from student to student, depending on their individual preparation and circumstances. Students interested in graduating in three years should meet with an advisor as early as possible to discuss feasibility, appropriate course sequencing, post-graduation plans (careers, graduate school, etc.), and opportunities they might forgo in pursuit of a three-year graduation plan.

Departmental Expectations

A three-year degree is feasible for students with a variety of backgrounds and specific preparation. The plan assumes that students are coming to UW-Madison with approximately 27 credits from AP/IB or college transfer credits.  Your plan may look different depending on the number of credits you bring in.

First Year
CHICLA 2013CHICLA Introductory Elective3
Communication A3Biological Science Breadth3
Quantitative Reasoning A3-4CHICLA Major Course 3 (Serving Chicanx and Latinx Communities)3
Foreign Language4Elective3
 16 16
Second Year
CHICLA major course 4 (Individuals, Peoples, Societies)3CHICLA major course 5 (Cultures and Histories)3
Quantitative Reasoning-B3Communication-B Communication B can be fulfilled with CHICLA 501 or 5203
Elective3Physical Science Breadth3
Foreign Language 33CHICLA major course 6 (Individuals, Peoples, Societies)3
INTER-LS 210 (elective)1Intermediate Elective3
Intermediate elective3 
 16 15
Third Year
CHICLA major course 7 (Individuals, Peoples, Societies)3CHICLA major course 9 (Cultures and Histories)3
I/A Comp Sci, Math or Stats (if required for BS)3CHICLA major course 10 (Serving Chicanx & Latinx Communities)3
CHICLA major course 8 (Cultures and Histories)3I/A Comp Sci, Math or Stats (if required for BS)3
Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
Advanced elective3Advanced elective3
 15 15
Total Credits 93

Departmental Advising

Academic advising for the CLS major and certificate is available in the Student Advising Office, 307 Ingraham Hall.  Prospective and current students must make an appointment with Senior Advisor Rachelle Eilers, reilers@wisc.edu, to discuss requirements, courses, and application to the major or certificate.  CLS graduates have enjoyed great success in fields including the health professions, social service, education, law, journalism, business, the arts, politics, and government service.

L&S career resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.

Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies (CLS) Director

Rubén Medina (Spanish and Portuguese)


Rachelle Eilers (Senior Advisor)

Peter Haney (Program Administrator)

For a full list of CLS faculty and staff, please visit the Program's website.