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Latin American and Latino Studies

Latin American and Latino Studies

Latin American and Latino Studies

Why Latin American and Latino Studies?

Latin American Woman in traditional clothing dancingLatin America, stretching from North America through Central America to South America, is one of the major regions of the world and home to 620 million people. Since the mid-19th century, the history of the region—including its politics, economics, and material cultures—has been intertwined with that of the United States. Today, over 60 million people of Latin American origin live in the United States and comprise nearly 20% of the population. In 2017, there were 2,122,000 Latino/as living in the Chicago metropolitan area alone, representing 22.6% of the population (Pew Research Center). 

Whether you plan to pursue graduate studies or a chosen career field, Latin American and Latino studies will equip you to understand and engage with the global realities of today's ethnically diverse church and society.

Why Should You Pursue Latin American and Latino Studies at Wheaton College?

Many schools offer Latin American studies programs. But Wheaton's Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) uniquely blends academic rigor with a distinctly Christ-centered approach. This combination will allow you to delve deeply into Latin American history, language, faith, and culture with our committed Christian faculty as your guides. Wheaton's dynamic program also offers a multidisciplinary experience, with collaboration and input from many academic disciplines. The LALS program will be an excellent fit for anyone whose disciplinary interests or personal identity intersect with Latin America or the Latino experience. 

What Will I Learn?

The Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program prepares students to flourish in the vibrant and increasingly interconnected Americas

The LALS major consists of 36 hours of coursework including Latin American Cultures and Civilizations, Spanish language and conversation as well as 20 hours of electives, a senior capstone seminar, and one semester of study abroad in Latin America. 

The Latin American and Latino/a Studies minor consists of 24 hours of coursework. 

Through multidisciplinary courses and study abroad, you will develop knowledge, skills, virtues, and attitudes needed to engage deeply with people from the diverse societies and cultures of Latin America and with emigrant communities from the region.

As an LALS major, you will explore the complexities and vitality of Latin America while honing your Spanish language proficiency. Opportunities to practice your Spanish language skills are abundant on campus, locally in Wheaton, and in the greater Chicago area.

With a course of study that is both rigorous and flexible, your LALS curriculum will be integrated with studies in the humanities and Bible/theology, arts and communications, and the social sciences.

Majors and minors are prepared for graduate study and for work in diverse fields—education, government, business, medicine, non-profit, missions and church ministry—in an increasingly diverse and competitive job market in the United States and in Latin America.

Opportunities for Latin American and Latino Studies Majors

Wheaton in Costa Rica Students

Every LALS major is required to complete a semester of study abroad. And Wheaton makes that easy with our semester programs like Human Needs and Global Resources or "Wheaton In" programs like Wheaton in Mexico.

Wheaton College also partners with many recommended study abroad organizations to provide you with a variety of exciting opportunities to fulfill this requirement. 

Mesa de Español and Grupos de Conversación offer opportunities to speak Spanish casually with your fellow students on campus.

About 1.4 million Latinos live in the Metropolitan Chicago area, comprising 17.4 percent of area residents. That means Wheaton students have plenty of opportunities to connect with local Latino communities through internships, volunteering, ministry activities, and more.