Latin American and Caribbean Studies

(including classroom and online courses in Quechua, the most spoken native language in the American continent)

Acting Director: Andrew Orta
Associate Director and Academic Programs Coordinator: Angelina Cotler
201 International Studies Building
910 South Fifth Street
Champaign, IL 61820

Director of Graduate Studies: Anna Escobar

Major: Latin American Studies
Degrees Offered: M.A.

Graduate Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Graduate Program

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies administers a program of language and area courses leading to an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree. The master's program facilitates studies in the languages, cultures, and affairs of the region for three constituencies of students: those seeking to match area expertise with professional training; those proceeding to disciplinary-based doctoral work; and those for whom the degree would stand on its own. The center also administers graduate specializations in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with various departments. The center is a Title VI National Resource Center. The center houses the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies.

Language Instruction

The Center offers 3 levels of Quechua, the most spoken language in the American continent, with approximately 13 million of speakers in 6 countries. The Center also offers Quechua online courses and free access to the publication Correo de Linguistica Andina and free exercises on Quechua. Visit

Other languages in the University that fulfill the M.A. requirements are Spanish and Portuguese, both offered at the School Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics.

Faculty Research Interests

More than 100 faculty throughout the University are currently affiliated with the Center. The Center's faculty devote all or a portion of their teaching and research to Latin American subjects, from agriculture to politics, culture and linguistics. Their expertise spans every important discipline and sub-region of Latin America and the Caribbean, with particular strength in the Andean countries, the Caribbean, lowland South America, Mexico, and Brazil.

For a complete list of our affiliated faculty and their research and teaching interests check our people page at

Facilities and Resources

Latin American Library Collection (LALC)

The Center assist the Latin American Collection at the University Library in purchasing teaching and research materials to develop a strong collection that supports teaching and research in those programs sponsored and coordinated by the Center as well as interdisciplinary courses with Latin American subject matter offered by other departments.

The LACL collection ranks among the six largest in the country and is the largest collection in the Midwest region in purchasing teaching and research materials to develop a strong collection that supports teaching and research in those programs sponsored and coordinated by the Center as well as interdisciplinary courses with Latin American subject matter offered by other departments.  It is located in the third floor of the main UIUC library in room 324 and while the Library itself does not house a circulating collection, our knowledgeable staff is available to help locate relevant materials, answer reference questions, and assist you in developing effective searching strategies.

The Latin American and Caribbean Library collection includes:

  • More than 400,000 monograph titles;
  • Newspapers and magazines from over 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries;
  • A strong collection of journals in the humanities and social sciences, as well as publications of professional associations, government agencies, central banks, and non-governmental organizations;
  • Access to HAPI Online (Hispanic American Periodicals Index), the Handbook of Latin American Studies, and other online databases;
  • An extensive collection of videos available at the Media Center in the Undergraduate Library;
  • over 32,000 maps of Latin America (housed in the Map and Geography Library);
  • comprehensive holdings of Brazilian and Andean materials;
  • Extensive holdings by and about Gabriel Garcia Marquez;
  • Publications from the Archivo General de la Nacion de Mexico; and
  • A comprehensive Latin American music collection.


The Center administers a listserv with more than 500 subscribers. Weekly mass messages "CALCS/Lemann Institute this Week" contain information on activities in campus related to Latin America and the Caribbean region (conferences, workshops, movies), new courses and job positions as well as future conferences in other Universities. To subscribe contact: Angelina Cotler (

CLACS Brownbags

Every Thursday at Noon in Room 101 International Studies Building (910 S. Fifth Street in Champaign) CLACS presents a lecture offered by a faculty, graduate student or outside faculty on topics relevant to the region. These are open and free brownbag lectures. For complete list of presentations during the semester visit our website on the events section.

Opportunities and Events

The Center keeps update a complete list of jobs, grants, conferences, and fellowships in the U.S. and abroad for graduate students and faculty. Check it at

Outreach Program

One of the goals of our mission is to increase knowledge and awareness of Latin America and the Caribbean in the educational community and the general public by promoting language and area studies in their broadest sense. Outreach at CLACS is a service-oriented program funded through a Title VI Federal Area Studies grant. It is designed to increase public knowledge about Latin America and the Caribbean and Latin American and Caribbean peoples and cultures. All our services are free!
Services include

  • Speakers Bureau composed by graduate students and faculty for presentations in schools on Latin American topics.
  • Outreach Library for k-14 teachers and instructors that includes books and DVDs.
  • Collaborates with the Illinois International Review, the University of Illinois' new international publication; produces CLACS this Week, a weekly Calendar of Events; and an annual newsletter on Quechua instruction, Correo de Linguistica Andina.
  • Publishes several curriculum development workbooks including: Columbus: Beyond the Myth, A Teacher's Workbook on Tropical Rain Forests, and Historia Oral: The Latina/o Experience in the United States.
  • Organizes the Latin American Brownbag Colloquium, a weekly series of noon seminars in which faculty, students, and visiting scholars present current research and speak on topics of special interest. Additionally, the Center sponsors many cultural events, such as Latin American music and dance ensembles, and art exhibitions.
  • Maintains links to Web based curriculum-related materials on its outreach Web pages as a means of facilitating access to curriculum resources and research materials on Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more information visit


Links to local museums, units and clubs that offer Latin American and Caribbean services as well as external links to institutions abroad and in the U.S.

Financial Aid

The Center is a recipient of Federal Government Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships for Graduate Studies in any discipline that includes a specialization in Latin American Studies and an intensive program of language instruction. Academic year language courses and summer fellowships for intensive language courses abroad or in the United States are available. Information on how to apply, requirements and datelines are posted in

The Center offers Tinker Summer Fellowship Research Grants for graduate students in any department wishing to do research during the summer in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Iberian Peninsula. Both these programs depend on outside funding and thus cannot be guaranteed in any given year. Information on how to apply, requirements and datelines are posted in

Master of Arts in Latin American Studies

Specializations in Latin American and Caribbean Studies are administered by the director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Candidates for the master's degree who elect a specialization in Latin American and Caribbean Studies must complete 8 graduate hours from the courses prescribed by the center. Doctoral candidates who elect a specialization in this area must complete 16 graduate hours for one specialization or 8 graduate hours for a split specialization. Courses must be taken in at least two departments; a list of courses fulfilling the specialization is available from the center. A specialization in agricultural economics and foreign areas studies (in this case, Latin American and Caribbean Studies) is also available. A high level of proficiency in one or more languages of the region (Spanish, Portuguese, and Amerindian Indian languages) is required. For course information, requirements, and methods used to establish the level of proficiency, contact the center's academic programs coordinator.

Students in technical and professional colleges and schools of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who seek knowledge of the Latin American and Caribbean region and languages are invited to consult with the director of the center or with their adviser in order to develop programs suited to their individual needs. Such a program may often be adopted as a specialization under existing regulations if the student so desires. These courses are of particular value to students who intend to undertake technical or professional work in the Latin American and Caribbean area for government, private business, publishing, or religious organizations.

Core interdisciplinary seminar (LAST 550 or different if indicated) 4
Graduate hours in 400-500 level courses in theory or research methods appropriate to the student's objectives and primary discipline4-8
Area Courses that focus on Latin America or the Caribbean, of which at least 8 graduate hours must be taken in one (primary) discipline20-24
Language Requirement: Demonstration that a communicative competence in Spanish, Portuguese, or other language indigenous to the area (excluding English) equivalent to six semesters' (undergraduate) work has been achieved.
LAST 599Thesis Research (min/max applied toward degree)8
Total Hours40

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
A thesis is required.
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 12
Minimum GPA: 3.25

Graduate Minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The graduate minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies promotes training for Master’s and Doctoral students in other disciplines interested in complementing their degree program with an interdisciplinary perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean region. There are no prerequisites for the graduate minor. The Center will provide an online admission form to be submitted to the student’s advisor for review. The form will require the student's graduate advisor and program director approval. Applicants must be in good standing in a graduate program at the University of Illinois and should demonstrate an interest in Latin American Studies.

Note: Students within the major cannot minor in the same program.

Area Courses: 400-/500-level courses from two different departments from a list approved by CLACS every semester and posted in our website and announced through our listserv8
Language coursework taken on this campus in either Portuguese, Spanish or Native American Language or Haitian Creole, OR the language course could also be selected from the area courses offered in these languages, i.e. literature class taught in any of these languages.4
The chosen language course must be at the 400-or 500 level to count towards the required 12 hours for Graduate Minor.
Total Hours12

Other Requirements1

If the student's master's thesis or doctoral dissertation deals with Latin America and the Caribbean, students are strongly recommended that a faculty member from the Center be a formal member of their committee