Latin American Studies Concentration

PROGRAM OVERVIEW The Latin American studies concentration (LASC) is a multidisciplinary program that offers students a regional focus to complement their disciplinary focus. The concentration provides a coherent framework for the study of Latin America. The concentration is designed to prepare students for becoming leaders with specialized knowledge of the peoples, cultures, languages, and social systems of Latin America. It is also intended for heritage speakers of Spanish who wish to gain greater understanding of their identity, as well as for those who simply wish to acquire more knowledge about Latin America.

REQUIREMENTS FOR CONCENTRATION The Latin American studies concentration requires 18 hours of coursework, 12 hours of which must be taken at Drake. No more than nine hours may be completed in any single discipline. Approved coursework is from departments from across campus, such as economics, English, history, education, and study of culture and society. Other courses may be approved by the Latin American studies adviser.

Study abroad in Latin America is strongly advised. The study abroad program in Latin America must be approved by both Drake and the Latin American studies adviser (a tenured or tenure-track Spanish professor or the chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures in consultation with the student's primary adviser). Up to six credit hours from the study abroad experience may be applied toward the concentration. 

The student, in consultation with his or her Latin American studies adviser, determines the distribution of courses comprising the concentration. Together, student and adviser design a multidisciplinary program with courses chosen from at least two different disciplines. Courses chosen to complete the concentration should fulfill the goals of the Latin American studies concentration specified in the program overview above.

Students are required to develop a special thematic or regional interest (potential tracks might include human rights in Latin America; politics in Latin America; the U.S.-Mexican border region and immigration; energy, resources, and the environment; business in Latin America; and languages and cultures) and to pursue that interest through a relevant selection of courses. Students will either select one of these tracks or propose a different one, subject to approval by his or her LASC adviser. Once the student has decided on a thematic or regional interest, he or she should compose a short paper in which the student's individual objectives for the concentration are articulated, as well as the rationale for the selection of particular courses. The LASC adviser will approve the paper and/or suggest revisions.

No capstone will be required, as students are likely to incorporate knowledge acquired while earning the concentration in capstones for their majors. Although there is no capstone for the concentration, once the requirements for the concentration have been completed or in the student's final semester prior to graduation, he or she must write a reflective paper describing the extent to which the objectives the student identified when declaring the concentration were met. The LASC adviser will discuss the paper with the student.

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