Students complete the program in Latin American and Iberian Studies with more than a knowledge of languages, literatures and cultures, but also an understanding of the phenomena that build cultural identity and political communities.
The LAIS curriculum is designed to prepare students for graduate school or a career. Students who are interested in advanced study often parlay their degree in Latin American and Iberian studies into graduate level work in either Spanish literature, Latin American studies, international studies, law or business. Career options vary greatly because of the sheer range of professional fields that appreciate the relevancy of the degree. Graduates find themselves working in business, law, politics, public policy, social work, education, medicine, publishing—the list goes on and on.
Students can also add on courses in Brazilian Portuguese, and recently, the department has expanded its offerings to include Galician and Catalan language and cultural studies.
As a general rule, students planning their program can expect the level of language difficulty to increase as the course numbers increase.
- 100- and 200-level courses stress immersion in the target language and incorporate listening, speaking, reading and writing. Generally, they are offered in an intensive two-semester format.
- 300-level courses allow students to focus on improving specific skills, writing more intensively and gaining a deeper appreciation of literature and culture. Many 300-level literature courses fulfill the University’s general education requirement for literary studies (FSLT).
- 400-level classes introduce students to specific topics in literature and culture, encouraging them to express themselves with clarity and nuance. Students read, write and reflect critically and effectively.
Once students have reached the 400-level in coursework and are approaching graduation, they are asked to participate in the Senior Symposium, a one-day, one-credit forum in which students showcase their research.