L&S-IRIS-LACIS

The Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program is one of the major U.S. centers for research about Latin America. This program is for those who seek a multidisciplinary education on Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. It offers a wide range of courses in fields such as anthropology, business, economics, geography, history, journalism, music, political science, sociology, Spanish and Portuguese, and indigenous languages such as Yucatec Maya.

The aims of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies major are to provide:

  1. a broad exposure to Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies by requiring students to take area and language content courses;
  2. basic working knowledge in Spanish and/or Portuguese;
  3. flexibility which allows students to take courses of interest, study abroad, and develop innovative academic projects; and
  4. career-related advice and opportunities including volunteer work and internships with international organizations.

Students should contact the undergraduate advisor to determine which courses may satisfy major requirements. A minimum of 40 credits is required for the LACIS major. Upon declaration of the LACIS major, an assessment file is opened for each student which will include:

  1. the development and submission of an "area of concentration,"
  2. writing samples,
  3. results of a language proficiency exam, and
  4. an exit survey.

Students should contact the LACIS undergraduate advisor to declare the major.

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 Breadth and 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. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
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

Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced 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 and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non–L&S degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements for the Major

Introduction to Latin America (complete one):3-4
Latin America: An Introduction
Latin America from 1780 to 1940
Modern Latin America, 1898 to the Present
Language Requirement12-16
Students must either complete or test out of the fourth semester of Spanish or Portuguese.
Students must also take an additional four courses in Spanish and/or Portuguese language, literature, and civilization above the 220 level. 2
Topics in Ethnology (Section 004)
Elementary Quechua
Elementary Quechua
Intermediate Quechua
Advanced Quechua
First Semester Yucatec Maya
Second Semester Yucatec Maya
Portuguese for Business
Introduction to Luso-Brazilian Literatures
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Brazil and Brazilians in the United States
Directed Study
Intensive Portuguese
Intensive Portuguese
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
History of the Portuguese Language
Portuguese Civilization
Brazilian Civilization
Historical and Cultural Traditions of Brazil
Survey of Portuguese Literature before 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature before 1890
Introduction to the Romance Languages
Brazillian Women Writers
Lusophone African Literature
Carmen Miranda
Survey of Portuguese Literature since 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature since 1890
Topics in Portuguese: Study Abroad
Topics in Luso-Brazilian Literature
Topics in Luso-Brazilian Culture
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Directed Study
Introduction to Hispanic Cultures
Introduction to Hispanic Literatures
Intermediate Language Practice with Emphasis on Writing and Grammar
Latin America: An Introduction
Directed Study
Advanced Language Practice
Topics in Spanish Language Practice
Spanish Phonetics
The Structure of Modern Spanish
Survey of Early Hispanic Literature
Advanced Language Practice with Emphasis on Expository Writing
Survey of Modern Spanish Literature
Advanced Conversation
Survey of Spanish American Literature
Introduction to Spanish Linguistics
Spanish for Business
Spanish Applied Linguistics
Spanish Business Area Studies
Spanish Civilization
Spanish American Civilization
Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)
Literatura del Siglo de Oro
Introduction to the Romance Languages
Cervantes
Topics in Spanish Linguistics
Literature of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Literature of the Twentieth Century
Literatura Hispanoamericana
The Spanish American Short Story
Spanish American Theater and Drama
The Spanish American Novel
Spanish American Poetry and Essay
Topics in Spanish American Literature
Topics in Hispanic Culture (The Beautiful Game, Human Rights: Argentina/Chile)
Topics in Hispanic Cultures in the U.S.
Undergraduate Seminars in Hispanic Literature/Culture/Linguistics
Topics in Hispanic Literature
Hispanic Screen Studies
Study Abroad in Spanish Language Practice
Study Abroad in Spanish Linguistics
Study Abroad in Hispanic Literatures
Study Abroad in Hispanic Cultures
Survey of Spanish American Literature from the Discovery to Modernismo
Survey of Spanish American Literature from Modernismo to the Present
Survey of Medieval Literature
Survey of Medieval Literature
Advanced Survey of Spanish Literature
Advanced Survey of Spanish Literature
Old Spanish
Spanish Phonology
Contemporary Issues in Applied Spanish Linguistics
College Teaching of Spanish
Structure of the Spanish Language: Morphology and Syntax
Theory and Practice of Hispanic Theatre
Historia de Teoria Literaria: de Platon Al Siglo XVIII
Historia de Teoria Literaria: Siglos XIX-XX
Topics in Hispanic Linguistics
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
First Semester Senior Thesis
Second Semester Senior Thesis
Directed Study
Area of Concentration15-20
Students must take at least five courses in an area of concentration that the student self-selects.
The concentration may be disciplinary (history, anthropology etc.) or topical (poverty, gender, social justice etc). The courses in the area of concentration CAN NOT be Spanish or Portuguese language or literature courses.
The Environment and the Global Economy
World Hunger and Malnutrition
Globalization, Poverty and Development
The Growth and Development of Nations in the Global Economy
Special Topics (LACIS-related topic only)
Latin American Economic Development
Lusophone African Literature
Latin America: An Introduction
The Caribbean and its Diasporas
Contemporary African and Caribbean Drama
Selected Topics in African Diaspora Art History (LACIS related topic)
Cropping Systems of the Tropics
Livestock Production and Health in Agricultural Development
Archaeology and the Prehistoric World
Cultural Anthropology and Human Diversity
Principles of Archaeology
Cut 'n' Mix: Music, Race, and Culture in the Caribbean
Latin America: An Introduction
Topics in Archaeology (LACIS related content)
The Origins of Civilization
Peoples of the Andes Today
Elementary Quechua
Elementary Quechua
Intermediate Quechua
Advanced Quechua
Undergraduate Seminar (LACIS related topic)
Proseminar: Special Topics in Art History (LACIS related content)
Plant Systematics
Ethnobotany
Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies
Chicana/o and Latina/o History
The American West to1850
Advanced Topics in Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies
Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology
Environment, Natural Resources, and Society
People, Wildlife and Landscapes
Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World
Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature
Intro to Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity, In & Beyond the U.S.
Special Topics in Counseling and Guidance (LACIS related content)
Practicum in World Languages (K-12)
Proseminar (Internationalizing Education)
Survey of International Economics
Human Resources and Economic Growth
Latin American Economic Development
International Trade
International Industrial Organizations
Economic Problems of Developing Areas
Economics of Growth
Public Finance in Less Developed Countries
Special Topics in Environmental Studies (LACIS related content)
People, Wildlife and Landscapes
World Forest History
Past Climates and Climatic Change
Introduction to Forestry
Special Topics (LACIS related content)
Principles of Wildlife Management
Conservation Biology
Gender, Women, and Society in Global Perspective
Women's International Human Rights
Brazillian Women Writers
Carmen Miranda
Introduction to Human Geography
Introduction to Human Geography
Latin America: An Introduction
Environmental Conservation
World Regions in Global Context
Latin America
The Humid Tropics: Ecology, Subsistence, and Development
Africans in the Americas, 1492-1808
Afro-Atlantic History, 1808-Present
History of American Capitalism
Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective
Immigration and Assimilation in American History
American Foreign Relations, 1901 to the Present
Colony, Nation, and Minority: The Puerto Ricans' World
Revolution and Conflict in Modern Latin America
The American West to1850
The World and the West from 1492
Multi-Racial Societies in Latin America
History of Brazil
Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean
Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean
World Vegetable Crops
Colloquium in Organic Agriculture
Intercultural Communication in Business
Spanish for Business
Global Issues in Management
Global Marketing Strategy
Introduction to International Studies
Globalization, Poverty and Development
Topics in Politics and Policy in the Global Economy (LACIS related topic)
Topics in Culture in the Age of Globalization (LACIS related content)
Mass Communication in Developing Nations
Latin America: An Introduction
Topics in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies
Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Directed Study
Directed Study
Introduction to Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literature
Spanish Literary Masterpieces in Translation
Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)
Survey of Medieval Literature
Survey of Medieval Literature
Old Spanish
Topics in Ethics and History of Medicine
Disease, Medicine and Public Health in the History of Latin America and the Caribbean
Ensemble-Guitar
Pedagogy
Music Cultures of the World: Africa, Europe, the Americas
Advanced Ensemble-Classical Guitar
Politics in Multi-Cultural Societies
Latin-American Politics
Analysis of International Relations
International Political Economy
The Third World in the International System
Labor in the Americas: US & Mexico in Comparative & Historical Perspective
American Foreign Policy
Nuclear Weapons and World Politics
Topics in Political Science
Selected Topics in Political Science
The Challenge of Democratization
Latino History and Politics
Social Mobilization in Latin America
Gender and Politics in Comparative Perspective
Contentious Politics
The Politics of Development
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Health and Disease
Portuguese Civilization
Brazilian Civilization
Historical and Cultural Traditions of Brazil
Food, Culture, and Society
Latin America: An Introduction
Sociodemographic Analysis of Mexican Migration
Social Movements
Sociology of Developing Societies/Third World
Introduction to Hispanic Cultures
Spanish Civilization
Spanish American Civilization
Topics in Hispanic Culture (The Beautiful Game, Human Rights: Argentina/Chile)
Topics in Hispanic Cultures in the U.S.
College Teaching of Spanish
International Development and Gender
Green Politics: Global Experience, American Prospects
Breadth Requirement9-12
Select three courses outside the area of concentration from the following:
Additional courses in Spanish and Portuguese language, literature and civilization over the 220 level (see courses listed under the language requirement above)
Courses in Quechua or Yucatec Maya (see courses listed under the language requirement above)
Additional LACIS courses outside the area of concentration(see courses listed above)
Total Credits39-52

Area of Concentration

Students must take at least five courses with a minimum of 25 percent Latin American, Caribbean, and/or Iberian content in an area of concentration that the student self-selects. The concentration may be disciplinary (history, anthropology, etc.) or topical (poverty, gender, social justice, etc.). The courses in the area of concentration cannot be Spanish or Portuguese language or literature courses. Study abroad courses often satisfy major requirements, but students should consult with the advisor before and during the study abroad program to ensure that the credits transfer. Courses for the concentration can be chosen from the LACIS Master Course List, or the LACIS-Approved Course List published each semester—both lists are available on the LACIS website. Note: These lists may not reflect all current offerings.

Notes

Students are encouraged to register in this major by the beginning of the junior year. Those considering a major in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies should consult the undergraduate advisor as early as possible in their academic career since a number of L&S requirements in humanities and social sciences may be met by courses in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies. Students who enter the university without previous training in Spanish or Portuguese are urged to begin language study in the freshman year.

SAMPLE PROGRAMS

The following list illustrates examples of "area of concentration" programs selected by Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies majors:

  • History and Culture Emphasis
  • Environment and Development Emphasis
  • Media and Politics Emphasis
  • Gender Studies and Human Rights Emphasis

Residence and quality of work

  • 2.000 GPA in all LACIS and all major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence1
  • 15 credits in LACIS, taken on the UW–Madison campus

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with the LACIS undergraduate advisor.

Honors in the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Major Requirements

To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 University GPA
  • Earn a 3.400 GPA for all major courses
  • Complete 18 credits, taken for Honors, with individual grades of B or better, to include:
One of the following LACIS Introductory Courses, taken for Honors:3-4
Latin America: An Introduction
Latin America from 1780 to 1940
Modern Latin America, 1898 to the Present
Senior Capstone Seminar, taken for Honors:1-4
Topics in Culture in the Age of Globalization
A two-semester Senior Honors Thesis:6
Senior Honors Thesis
and Senior Honors Thesis
A two-semester research-based alternative
Additional LACIS Honors to achieve 18 credits

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. (Interdisciplinarity) analyzing contemporary political, economic, and cultural realities in the LACIS regions from multi-disciplinary perspectives, ideally including humanities, social sciences and sometimes natural science approaches.
  2. (Depth of knowledge) mastering at the undergraduate expert level a particular disciplinary (e.g. history, anthropology etc.) or topical (e.g. poverty, gender, social justice etc.) theme in the LACIS regions by taking five courses in an area of concentration.
  3. (Historical and cultural grounding) understanding the historical, political, and cultural forces and conditions that have given rise to the unity and diversity in LACIS regions today.
  4. (Language knowledge) mastering at the undergraduate generalist level a particular facet of life in one or more LACIS regions by studying a foreign language to the advanced (3rd year) level and beyond.
  5. (Analytical skills) demonstrating the ability to think critically and analytically, the capacity to write clearly and effectively, and the ability to identify and evaluate research methods and outcomes.
Freshman
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Introductory Course for Major3-4Area of Concentration for Major4
PORTUG 101 or SPANISH 1014PORTUG 102 or SPANISH 1024
Communication A4Ethnic Studies3
Quantitative Reasoning A3-4Biological Science Breadth3
 15 14
Sophomore
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Declare the Major (before 86 credits)Students can declare the major at any time, however we encourage early declaration of our major so that students can connect with LACIS faculty, staff and the community early on and benefit from opportunities through LACIS and from attending LACIS events and programs.Apply for Summer InternshipLACIS encourages students to consider an internship during their college career.
Area of Concentration for the Major4Area of Concentration for the Major (and L&S Breadth)4
PORTUG 201 or SPANISH 2034PORTUG 202 or SPANISH 2044
Quantitative Reasoning B3-4Communication B4
Science Breadth3Physical Science Breadth3
INTER-LS 2101 
 15 15
Junior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Recommend Study Abroad Recommend Study Abroad and Apply for Summer Internship
Area of Concentration in the Major3-4Area of Concentration in the Major3-4
Breadth in the Major3Language, Literature or Civilization for the Major4
Language, Literature or Civilization for the MajorAbove 220 level3-4I/A Level Comp Sci, Math, or Stat (if B.S.)3
Science Breadth 3Electives6
Elective3 
 16 16
Senior
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Breadth in the Major3-4Breadth in the Major3-4
Language, Literature or Civilization for Major4Language, Literature or Civilization for the Major3-4
I/A Level Comp Sci, Math, or Stat (if B.S.)3Electives8
Elective4 
 14 15
Total Credits 120

Students should contact Sarah Ripp, the LACIS undergraduate advisor, at skripp@wisc.edu, to determine which courses may satisfy major requirements.

Students are encouraged to seek the assistance of SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science early in their academic career. Take advantage of all the services offered such as mock interviews, resume and cover letter review sessions, career preparation workshops, and so on.

Students interested in international internships should contact the International Internships Program office. 

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

The Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS) teaching staff consists of more than 100 faculty who teach Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian language and area content courses.
LACIS Steering Committee: Calderon (Horticulture), Gomez (History), Simmons (Political Science), Beilin (Spanish and Portuguese), Kallenborn (Human Ecology).

As a regional center within the Institute for Regional and International Studies, we support and enhance international and global awareness in our student communities and inspire informed thinking about the complexities of our world. We encourage our students to connect to international networks and our regional communities through our program’s lecture series, film screenings, and varied outreach events and activities. We encourage our students to study abroad, do international internships, learn foreign languages, and expect them to gain an interdisciplinary grounding in global and regional affairs. We provide resources and expertise on our world area to students, and prospective students, and more broadly to K–12 teachers and students, postsecondary educators and graduate students, businesses, the media, the military, the community at large, and anyone else who is interested.

Undergraduate students (from any major or discipline) can apply to receive one-time funds for internships or volunteer programs in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Iberian Peninsula. Domestic programs will be considered if the work is related to the LACIS field of study. The internships and volunteer programs will be carried out in public institutions, or well-established NGOs. Students from any nationality and citizenship are eligible to apply. Please note that preference is given to declared LACIS majors. Please check with the LACIS undergraduate advisor, Sarah Ripp, about your plans before submitting an application to ensure it meets our criteria. Read post-internship reports from former grant recipients. We also encourage our students to explore funding options available through the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) Awards Office.