Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

The Five College Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies enhances rather than replaces the more traditional major, minor or certificate available at the individual schools and can complement the student's major field of study.

Under the guidance of an appointed faculty adviser for the program at each campus, students design a sequential, coordinated and comprehensive course of study drawing on the faculty specialists and course offerings at the five campuses. The program is overseen by the Five College Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Council, whose members include faculty representatives from each campus.

Any degree-seeking student is eligible to earn the certificate. Interested students must consult initially with an advisor for the program at their own home campus, to confirm their eligibility and plan out an appropriate course of study. The home-campus advisor for the program also determines whether a student has met the requirements, and recommends the award of a formal certificate, which is recorded on the student's transcript. Completed applications for the certificate must be signed by the home campus adviser, who will bring the application to the FCLACLS Certificate Program committee.

On This Page


Lloyd Barba- Latinx and Latin American Studies, Religion
Rhonda Cobham-Sander - Black Studies, English, Latinx and Latin American Studies
Sony Coráñez Bolton - Latinx and Latin American Studies, Spanish
Javier Corrales - Political Science (Chair) and Latinx and Latin American Studies
Solsiree del Moral - Black Studies (Chair), American Studies, Latinx and Latin American Studies
Rick A. Lopez - Latinx and Latin American Studies (Chair), History, Environmental Studies; Dean of New Students
Leah Schmalzbauer* - American Studies, Anthropology and Sociology, Latinx and Latin American Studies
Paul Schroeder Rodríguez - Latinx and Latin American Studies, Spanish, Film and Media Studies

*Certificate Advisor & Steering Committee Member

Roosbelinda Cardenas - Latin American Studies and Anthropology
Margaret Cerullo* - Sociology
Norman Holland - Hispano Literature (Emeritus)
Susana Loza - Critical Race, Gender, and Media Studies
Flavio Risech-Ozeguera - Law (Emeritus)
Monique Roelofs - Philosophy (Emerita)
Wilson Valentín Escobar - Sociology and American Studies

*Certificate Advisor & Steering Committee Member

Justin Crumbaugh - Spanish, Latino/a, Latin American Studies
Lowell Gudmundson - Latin American Studies and History (Emeritus)
Christian Gundermann - Gender Studies
David Hernández - Latino/a Studies
Lynn Morgan - Anthropology (Emeritus)
Dorothy Mosby - Spanish; Interim Dean of Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Eva Paus - Economics
Adriana Pitetta* - Spanish

*Certificate Advisor & Steering Committee Member

Fernando Armstrong-Fumero - Anthropology
Ginetta E.B. Candelario - Sociology, Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Velma Garcia - Government
Maria Estela Harretche - Spanish
Marguerite Itamar Harrison - Spanish and Portuguese
Michelle Joffroy* - Spanish
Elizabeth Klarich - Anthropology
Dana Leibsohn - Art, Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Malcolm McNee - Spanish and Portuguese
Javier Puente - Latin American and Latino/a Studies
Maria Helena Rueda - Spanish
Lester Tomé - Dance

*Certificate Advisor & Steering Committee Member

Sonia Alvarez - Political Science
Luiz Amaral - Spanish and Portuguese Linguistics
Benjamin Bailey - Communication
Whitney Battle-Baptiste - Anthropology
Angelica Bernal - Political Science
James K. Boyce - Economics (Emeritus)
Laura Briggs - Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Mari Castaneda - Communication
Leda Cooks - Communication
N.C. Christopher Couch - Comparative Literature
Emiliana Cruz - Anthropology
Alexandrina Deschamps - Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Carlene Edie - Political Science
Gerald Epstein - Economics
Harley Erdman - Theater
Martin Espada - English
Stephanie Fetta* - Spanish and Portuguese Studies
Martha Fuentes-Bautista - Communication
Patricia Galvis Assmus - Art, Architecture, and Art History (Emerita)
Agustin Lao-Montes - Sociology & Afro-American Studies
Jennifer Lundquist - Sociology
Claudio Moreira - Communication
Michael J. Morgan - Communication (Emeritus)
Leonce Ndikumana - Economics
Jose Ornelas - Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Emeritus)
Daphne Patai - Spanish and Portuguese Literature (Emerita)
J. Mohan Rao - Economics (Emeritus)
Margara Russotto - Latin American Literature and Culture
Felipe Salles - Music and Dance
Heidi Scott - History
Millie Thayer - Sociology
Jacqueline Urla - Anthropology
Laura Valdiviezo - College of Education

*Certificate Advisor & Steering Committee Member

Certificate Requirements

To earn a FCLACLS Certificate, students must complete successfully a minimum of eight one-semester courses selected from five different areas; fulfill a specified language requirement; and achieve at least a grade of “B” in the minimum number of courses taken toward the certificate. Courses may be taken at any of the campuses but must be approved in advance by the student's home-campus advisor for the program. Completed applications for the certificate must be signed by the home campus advisor, who will bring the application to the Five College LACLS Council meeting in April.


Eight full courses or educational activities (each 3–4 credits or equivalent) must be completed within the following areas:

  1. A broadly based introductory course on the social and political history of Latin America or U.S. Latinos
  2. One course in the social sciences that focuses substantially on Latin America or U.S. Latinos (including courses in anthropology, economics, geography, political science, etc.)
  3. One course in the humanities that focuses substantially on Latin America or U.S. Latinos (including courses in art, art history, dance, folklore, literature, music, philosophy, religion or theater, etc. )
  4. Four other courses that should be more advanced and more specific in focus
  5. One upper-level seminar in Latin America and/or U.S. Latinos
  6. Those students who begin their studies during or after fall 2013 will be required to have, within all of their courses, at least one course in Latino Studies and at least one course in Latin American or Caribbean Studies
  7. At least one course must be taken at one of the institutions in the Five College consortium other than the student's home campus.

Language Requirement

Proficiency through second-year college level in an official (other than English) or indigenous language of Latin America.

Minimum Standard

To receive the certificate, the student must receive a grade of “B” or better in every course that qualifies for the minimum certificate requirement.

Study Abroad

The Council will accept relevant study abroad courses, as long as they are accepted for credit or equivalent by a student’s home institution. If no grade is reported on the transcript, the Council will waive the “B” grade requirement for courses taken abroad.


Many courses in addition to those listed below may be eligible for fulfilling the requirements of the Five College Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies Certificate. Students are encouraged to consult an LACLS Program campus advisor to identify courses that are appropriate for their interests.

Fall 2023 Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
LAS 260 01 Colq:Animal Hist-Latin America Javier Puente Smith College TU TH 10:50 AM - 12:05 PM


Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (LACLS) has a long and distinguished history in the Five Colleges (the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, and Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges). For over three decades, the main goal of FCLACLS has been to promote the multi- and inter-disciplinary study of Latin America.

With respect to the individual programs, the University of Massachusetts–Amherst Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies offers an undergraduate certificate, a graduate certificate and a minor. The Mount Holyoke College and Smith College Latin American Studies Programs offer a major and minor. At Hampshire College, students may develop an area of specialization in Latin American Studies in conjunction with or in addition to their area of concentration. At Amherst College, students may design a major in Latin American Studies.

FCLACLS Certificate

The FCLACLS Council administers the Five College Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Certificate. The requirements include the successful (a grade of B or higher) completion of eight one-semester courses selected from five different areas. The five areas are a broadly based introductory course on the social and political history of Latin America, a social science course, a humanities course, four advanced elective courses and an interdisciplinary senior seminar. Language training is crucial. Certificates are awarded only after having demonstrated proficiency through at least the advanced intermediate level in Spanish, Portuguese or an indigenous language of the Americas. Students are encouraged to take advantage of cross-enrollment opportunities at the other colleges.

UMass Undergraduate Certificate

The undergraduate certificate and minor at UMass allow students to develop a concentration in LACLS as a complement to their disciplinary major. The certificate program offers two options, one emphasizing competence (at the advanced intermediate level) in both Spanish and Portuguese, the other, one language and a greater number (six rather than four) of area studies courses. The area studies courses must be from at least three different disciplines. Both tracks require an advanced interdisciplinary seminar. The minor requires six area studies courses. Students may major in LAS through the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration program.

Latin American Studies Minor and Certificate at UMass

Mount Holyoke College Major and Minor Programs

The LAS major at MHC requires a minimum of 10 courses of which at least half must be at the advanced level; the minor requires a minimum of five. Among the required courses is an introductory course in either Latin American cultures or economies, one advanced literature course and a course focusing on less studied Latin American social groups. The program requires a command of Spanish or Portuguese at the advanced intermediate level and recommends at least an elementary knowledge of the other language. At Smith, the LAS major is anchored by a core set of four required courses in literature and history that provide the foundation for in-depth interdisciplinary study. Students must complete an additional six courses at the intermediate or advanced level, with two of these in the social sciences and at least one in the arts. A proficiency in Spanish at the advanced intermediate level is required and reading knowledge of Portuguese is recommended. The LAS Minor requires six courses. At Amherst College students develop their own major in LAS by writing a senior honor’s thesis in consultation with three advisors. At Hampshire, which does not have majors and minors, students develop a concentration in Latin America by writing their required senior honor’s thesis on a relevant topic and through an appropriate selection of inter-disciplinary courses.

Latin American Studies at Mount Holyoke

The Graduate Program at UMass

The graduate certificate at UMass is intended to structure graduate study with a LAS focus, foster interdisciplinary scholarship and promote foreign language competence. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a regular disciplinary or professional master’s or Ph.D. program. Candidates must complete a minimum of four graduate area study courses in three disciplines, demonstrate language proficiency at the advanced intermediate level, complete a thesis or dissertation on a Latin American theme and present their research results in the CLACLS Research Workshop.

Graduate Certificate in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies at UMass

Five College Libraries

The total size of the Five College Latin American collection is in excess of 225,000 volumes, placing it among the 20 largest LAS collections nationwide, a true gem for undergraduates. The Pauline P. Collins Collection at UMass numbers 200,000+ volumes, over half of these in Spanish and Portuguese. The four colleges have not enumerated their Latin American acquisitions, but an analysis of their Latin American holdings (by LC call numbers) in Latin American history and literature yields a total of 25,812 volumes.

Five College Library Catalog

The Lorna M. Peterson Prize

The Lorna M. Peterson Prize supports scholarly and creative work by undergraduate students taking part in Five College programs. The $500 prize is awarded annually based on nominations from Five College programs.

Contact Us

Faculty Committee:

Leah C. Schmalzbauer, Amherst College

Margaret Cerullo, Hampshire College

Adriana Pitetta, Mount Holyoke College

Stephanie Fetta, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Michelle Joffroy, Smith College

Five College Staff Liaison:

April Shandor, Academic Programs Coordinator


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