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Latin American and Caribbean Studies Major Guide for 2015-2016

What is Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers a broad sampling of courses from Anthropology, Geography, History, Modern Foreign Languages, Political Science, and Sociology which focus on the region’s diverse cultures, languages, and traditions. Study abroad opportunities are strongly encouraged.

Career Opportunities in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Doors are open to a wide spectrum of careers for LAC majors and minors.  Included are: Education, Government, Business, Law, Human Services, Public Administration. Students have gone on to become banking officers, marketing researchers, labor relations workers, hotel managers, travel agents, newspaper reporters, technical writers, immigration inspectors, and import-export agents.

Salary Trends in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

An Arts and Sciences degree can propel students in limitless directions. Majors are not always the deciding factor as to what career path is followed. As with any degree, pre-professional experiences (volunteerism, work experience, internships, etc.) enhance the chances of obtaining desired employment and further affect the projected salary. Applied Spanish and Portuguese language skills acquired by Latin American and Caribbean studies majors enhance their marketability and earning potential.

High School Preparation

A balanced curriculum with strong preparation in the social sciences and the humanities and at least three years of a Latin American or Caribbean language is recommended.

How to Major in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Students interested in considering a major or minor in LAC and wishing to learn more might talk to the program chair, enroll in any LAC course or take LAC 251 and 252 (Introduction to Latin American Studies). These 200-level courses count for the non-US History distribution requirement and are an excellent means of becoming familiar with the many topics studied in the major/minor. Students can begin the major or minor by taking these courses or any of the upper-level classes that count toward the major. To declare a major or minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies, students may do so through the College of Arts and Science Advising Office.

Requirements for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The Latin American and Caribbean Studies concentration consists of two optional tracks: General Studies or Brazilian Studies. Each program requires 30 hours of classes listed in the UT catalog as satisfying the major; courses must be divided among a minimum of three different disciplines chosen from Anthropology, Cinema Studies, Geography, History, Spanish or Portuguese, Political Science, and Sociology.

Highlights of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

The Hodges Library has an excellent collection of Latin American videos and films; the LAC faculty have lived, traveled, and studied extensively throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, in a diverse set of countries including Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and Haiti. As a result, they bring to the classroom a rich blend of first-hand knowledge and scholarly expertise. During each academic year, there are numerous lectures and enrichment activities.

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“Ready for the World” is part of a long-range plan to transform the UTK campus into a culture of diversity that best prepares students for working and competing in the 21st century.  Thus students are encouraged to actively participate in the diverse cultural programs offered on campus.  Some of these events include the guest lecture series, cultural nights at the International House, and international film screenings.  Visit the Center for International Education website or the Ready for the World website for more information on upcoming cultural programs and activities. Learn more about UT’s Ready for the World initiative to help students gain the international and intercultural knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

Students are also encouraged to develop a global perspective within their academic program through study abroad. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, offers study abroad programs in Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. Program lengths vary from mini-term trips to the entire academic year, and students may choose to fulfill general education requirements, study a foreign language, or take courses within their majors. In addition, UTK offers students opportunities for international internships.

Latin American and Caribbean studies majors often spend one or more semesters or summers studying abroad throughout the region or working at international internships. Faculty affiliated with the program frequently lead programs abroad in countries such as Costa Rica and Ecuador. Other students study abroad independently through programs offered via the UTK Programs Abroad Office. In recent years, students have studied or interned in an array of countries including Mexico, Peru, and Brazil.

Students are highly encouraged to begin planning early in their academic career and to consult with an academic advisor about the best time to study abroad as well as what courses to take abroad. For more information about program options, the application process, and how to finance study abroad, please visit the Programs Abroad Office website.

Academic Plan and Milestones

Following an academic plan will help students stay on track to graduate in four years. For first-time, first-year, full-time, degree-seeking students, UT has implemented Universal Tracking (uTrack), an academic monitoring system designed to help students stay on track for timely graduation. In order to remain on track, students must complete the minimum requirements for each tracking semester, known as milestones. Milestones may include successful completion of specified courses and/or attainment of a minimum GPA.

To see a sample academic plan and milestones for this major, please visit the undergraduate catalog.

For More Information

Jana Morgan
1015 McClung Tower and Plaza
1115 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-0410
Work: 865-974-7043


The information on this page should be considered general information only. For more specific information on this and other programs refer to the UT catalog or contact the department and/or college directly.

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