Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Requirements for the Undergraduate Concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA)

Requirements Effective for Class of 2020 and beyond:

1) Ten courses on Latin American, Caribbean, and/or Latinx subjects

  • These may be explicitly designated as LACA classes, but do not need to be. 
  • Up to two of these courses can be language learning classes. 
  • Relevant courses from study abroad may count toward this total. 
  • For double concentrators, up to two classes can count toward the course requirements of both LACA and another concentration. 
  • At least two different academic disciplines should be represented in the ten courses. 
  • The courses must include at least one survey course providing a comprehensive and comparative view of the region (examples include LACA 0100, HISP 0730, HIST 1381, HIST 0234, DEVL 1560, MUSC 0021, ANTH 1030, ANTH 1120, ANTH 1505, ECON 1570).
  • Courses in which the student did substantial work on a Latin American, Caribbean or Latinx subject may count toward this total, even if the course as a whole has a more general subject matter.  
  • Concentrators should periodically update their courses on ASK and confirm with the Director of Undergraduate Studies that they are on track to meeting the coursework requirement.

2) Competence in a Latin American and/or Caribbean language. Competence in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Haitian Kreyol, Kaqchikel Maya, etc. may be demonstrated through a departmental test, AP credit, language courses at Brown or elsewhere, study abroad, etc; please contact the concentration advisor to confirm. (If the student’s primary area of study is the Anglophone Caribbean, a field language is not necessary.) 

3) A capstone project. This may be a senior honors thesis or creative project, supervised by a primary advisor and a secondary reader; a non-honors research paper; or a reflective paper about non-academic work (such as service or foreign study) related to Latin America, the Caribbean, or the Latinx experience. The capstone project may be completed for honors if the student is eligible. 

Students undertaking a capstone project are encouraged to enroll in LACA 1900. Alternatively, they may elect to enroll in one or two semesters of independent study (LACA 1990, LACA 1991) with their thesis/project advisor. 

4) An internship or volunteer service, located in the U.S. or overseas, for one semester or one summer. Work completed during study abroad may count toward this requirement. The service work will connect theory to practice, applying scholarly knowledge to social challenges. Students are encouraged to consult with the Swearer Center for Public Service for assistance finding a volunteer placement. Students should also meet with the DUS by the beginning of junior year to discuss their work plan for their service component. Upon completion of the internship or service work, students submit a brief summary report to the concentration advisor linking their experience to their scholarship, accompanied by a short letter from a supervisor confirming the completion of the work.


  • The concentration also allows students to pursue the Engaged Scholars Program. The Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACA) is designed for LACA concentrators who are especially interested in making deeper connections between their academic work and local communities in Providence and beyond. Engaged Scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian, and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, social engagement.
  • To satisfy Brown's writing requirements as a LACA concentrator, students are recommended to consider courses that have an emphasis on revision and feedback, like: AFRI 0210, DEVL 1560, HISP 0730, HISP 1330V, HIST 0232, HIST 1947A, MUSC 0021F, POLS 1285, POLS 0820U, POLS 1820F. 

Requirements Effective through the Class of 2019 

For students declaring their concentration prior to the 2018-2019 academic year the requirements are the same as above, except that the ten courses may include up to one language learning course and that a survey course is recommended but not required. Students who declared the LACA concentration prior to the 2017-2018 academic year may elect to follow the new guidelines if they wish, or maintain the previous requirements. 

Questions? Contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Erica Durante (erica_durante@brown.edu).