Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

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

Requirements Effective for Class of 2022 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. 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. 

The courses must include at least one survey course providing a comprehensive and comparative view of the region.  Examples include the following: 

Around Latin America in 80 Days: An Historical and Cultural Journey
Arts of the Environment in the Americas
Urban Latin America
Engaged Humanities: Storytelling in the Americas
Encounters: Latin America in Its Literature and Culture
Tropical Fictions: Geography and Literature in Latin American Culture
Modern Latin America
Colonial Encounters and the Creation of Latin America
Latin American Politics
Mapping Food, Eating Meaning, Making Community: A Welcome to the Lusophone world

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. 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 fill and submit via ASK the Internship, Work or Volunteer Service Form, available online in the LACA Undergraduate Concentration webpage (https://watson.brown.edu/clacs/education/undergraduate).  In addition they are expected to submit via ASK a short letter from a supervisor confirming the completion of the work. 

4. 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 project may be completed for honors if the student is eligible (see Honors, below).

All concentrators are required to enroll in LACA 1900 during their junior or senior year to complete their Capstone project requirement (capstone project or honors thesis).  In addition to this course, students may also elect to enroll in one or two semesters of independent study (LACA 1990LACA 1991) with their thesis/project advisor.  All Honors Candidates are expected to attend the Annual Concentration Research Day and to give a 10-minute oral presentation of their honors thesis project followed by a short Q&A.

Writing Requirement

To satisfy Brown's writing requirement as a LACA concentrator (which must be completed by the end of the 7th semester), students are encouraged to consider courses that have an emphasis on revision and feedback such as the following: 

Preparation for Honors and Capstone Projects on Latin American and Caribbean Topics
Latinx Literature
Around Latin America in 80 Days: An Historical and Cultural Journey
Arts of the Environment in the Americas
Engaged Humanities: Storytelling in the Americas
New Worlds: Reading Spaces and Places in Colonial Latin America
Encounters: Latin America in Its Literature and Culture
Colonial Latin America
Gender, Race, and Medicine in the Americas


  • The concentration also allows students to pursue the Engaged Scholars Certificate. The Engaged Scholars Certificate (ESC) 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. Please review the complete certificate description posted here.
  • 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: LACA 1900, ETHN 1200D, LACA 0500, LACA 1630, LACA 1504G, COLT 0710I, HISP 0730, HIST 0233, HIST 1977I. 

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