The Certificate in Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) is an interdisciplinary program open to all undergraduate students enrolled at Catholic University. The certificate is intended to provide students with qualifications that supplement their course of studies in their major area of concentration. Specifically, the goal of the LALS certificate program is to produce graduates who are well-versed in multidisciplinary perspectives on an area of the world, as well as competent in a relevant foreign language.

In comparison to the LALS minor, the LALS certificate provides students with a richer opportunity to engage in a deep, rigorous, and integrated educational experience, while developing advanced linguistic proficiency, in the following ways:


  • Core Courses: LALS certificate students must complete TWO required courses for the certificate, chosen from the following courses.
    • HIST 140 Travel and Tourism in Latin America, or 
    • HIST 371A (Colonial Latin America), or
    • HIST 371B (Modern Latin America), or
    • POL 350 (Latin American Politics), or
    • PSY 493, Section 2 (Research Apprenticeship with Latin American and Latino communities), or
    • SPAN 300 (Thinking Critically: Literature, Film, and Media in the Spanish-speaking World), or
    • SPAN 380: (Fim, Culture, and History), or
    • TRS 328 (Makers of Hispanic Catholic History).
  • Elective courses: Four additional courses must be taken.
    • Like the minor, the courses must be taken from at least two different departments.
    • However, unlike the minor, the certificate students must take a minimum of two courses from a specific department outside the student’s major in order to strengthen their understanding of how another discipline approaches the study of Latin American and Latino Studies.
    • Elective courses can be selected from an approved list; any course not on the course list could be reviewed for approval.
    • These courses may also satisfy general education or “distribution” requirements.
  • Language proficiency – The LALS certificate requires completion of
    • SPAN 204: Advanced Spanish Conversation and Composition, or
    • SPAN 211: Spanish for Heritage Speakers II.
    • Equivalent courses in Portuguese, or an equivalency exam in either language would also meet this requirement. Other replacements may include Spanish or Portuguese study abroad and/or intensive summer programs. Note that language courses do not count towards the 6 courses for the certificate. The language requirement is not a prerequisite for beginning the certificate program; students may work towards the language requirement while also taking their substantive LALS-approved courses.


Students who achieve at least a 3.5 GPA average in the six courses completed for the certificate will be awarded the Certificate in Latin American and Latino Studies with Distinction.


The LALS certificate is open to all undergraduate students at Catholic University.

Progress and Advising

Students electing the LALS certificate are encouraged to meet with the LALS director each semester to discuss course selection, to obtain assurance that selected courses count toward the certificate, and to discuss their progress toward fulfilling the language proficiency requirement. Students should obtain prior approval from the LALS director for participation in study abroad programs and for internship selections if these are to count for their LALS certificate.