Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Degree Type: Certificate

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) cluster and certificate draw on the expertise of more than two dozen Northwestern faculty members from different disciplines. Building on this strong faculty base and on emergent and established ties to the region, the LACS cluster and certificate encourage graduate students to think of familiar questions in unfamiliar ways, and to pose new ones, fostering excellence and innovation within the traditional disciplines and a deeper understanding of the region than students might otherwise achieve.

This LACS initiative is one of the first in the country to offer a formal structure for interdisciplinary training in Latin American and Caribbean studies. The cluster and certificate nurture a core intellectual community in which affiliated students develop connections with one another and with our exceptionally strong and interdisciplinary faculty. We do this in three specific ways. First, we have built a curriculum of courses taught in three areas of inquiry, chosen because of their enduring importance. Second, we run ongoing faculty and graduate colloquia in which students at all levels present work in progress. Third, we actively seek to strengthen ties between Northwestern and partner institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean to promote graduate and faculty research and exchange. In addition, LACS makes research and travel funds available to participating graduate students on a competitive basis. 

The LACS certificate is intended both to encourage cross-disciplinary, multicultural, and multilingual scholarship and teaching as well as facilitate formal recognition of this aspect of graduate training. In a way that degree programs often do not, a certificate may signal to potential employers – departments, programs, research institutions, or the private sector – a candidate’s experience with intellectual, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity as well as his or her openness to different perspectives, methods, and professional skills. LACS understands these tools as providing a critical advantage in graduate students’ success at Northwestern and beyond. This credential appears on students’ transcripts.

Students who express interest in the LACS certificate will be asked to chart out a plan of study with the Director of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor.

Additional resources:

Latin American and Caribbean Studies Courses

LATIN_AM 401-0 Special Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (1 Unit)