Latin American and Latino Studies/Politics Combined B.A.

Information and Policies


A degree in Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) and politics trains students to be critical and analytical thinkers, to be active, engaged global citizens, and to be skilled scholar-activists making the world a more just place for all. A combined LALS and politics B.A. prepares students to collaborate across cultural differences, to understand and interpret complex political moments and social movements, and to integrate interdisciplinary tools and skills, to understand the complexity of current and past political moments, to discover how social, economic, and cultural aspects inform the political, and to use skills from many disciplines and fields.

Since political issues and practices are embedded in and reflective of the whole experience of a community, the study of politics can constitute the center of a broad-based course of study drawing on many areas including history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, political science, economics, literature, science, and law. The combined B.A. in LALS and politics allows students to focus their study of political issues and social movements within Latinx and Latin American communities.

Program Learning Outcomes

Latin American and Latino Studies Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Critical Thinking. Ability to analyze from a transnational/transborder/translocal perspective—to see the interconnections between Latin American and Latino issues, people, ideas, problems and solutions. This includes key skills, such as understanding sources, comparing arguments, analysis, and historical perspective.
  2. Research Methods. Working knowledge of social scientific and/or humanistic approaches to LALS relevant topics. This includes acquiring qualitative and quantitative skills, gathering or obtaining research data, finding/using primary sources, and other research methods.
  3. Communication. Key communication skills, including written, oral presentation, and digital, including an understanding of media sources and ability to apply media literacy to cross-cultural analysis.
  4. Lifelong Learning Skills. Acquisition of practical hands-on skills in community engagement, cross-cultural fluency, familiarity with Latin America, and familiarity with Latino experience acquired through experiential learning, and working with community and civic organizations.

Politics Program Learning Outcomes:

  1. Understand the origins, development, and nature of political institutions, practices, and ideas;
  2. Place particular political phenomena in broader context (national, historical, cross-cultural, and theoretical, etc);
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with various theoretical approaches to the study of politics, and their application in different geographic and substantive areas;
  4. Critically evaluate arguments about political institutions, practices, and ideas based on logic and evidence;
  5. Develop and sustain coherent written and oral arguments regarding political phenomena, theories, and values based on appropriate empirical and/or textual evidence and logic.

Academic Advising for the Program

LALS Undergraduate Advising
32 Merrill Academic Building
(831) 459-2119

Politics Undergraduate Advising
25 Merrill Academic Building
(831) 459-2505

Advising for the combined major in LALS and politics is available from both advising offices, though the major is housed in the LALS Department.

Getting Started in the Major: Frosh

Students interested in the combined major in LALS and politics are encouraged to enroll in the one required LALS lower-division course, chosen from LALS 1 or LALS 5 or LALS 10, and one lower-division politics course, chosen from courses numbered 1-70, at their earliest opportunity.

Transfer Information and Policy

Students planning to apply in this major are not required to complete specific major preparation courses for consideration of admission to UC Santa Cruz.

Transfer Admission Screening Policy

Students interested in transferring in to UC Santa Cruz as a combined LALS and politics major are encouraged to enroll in courses that satisfy the lower-division requirements prior to transfer. Visit Assist.org to review transfer articulations and contact advisors for LALS and politics with any questions.

Getting Started in the Major: Transfer Students

Transfer students must complete the lower-division course requirements to declare the combined major in LALS and politics, and should focus on completing these classes as soon as they start at UCSC (if they have not completed these courses prior to transfer). Students should contact advisors for LALS and politics regarding transferable coursework.

Major Qualification Policy and Declaration Process

Major Qualification

To qualify for the major, students must complete two courses. One course is taken from POLI courses numbered 1-70. This course must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of C or better. The second course is chosen from LALS 1, LALS 5, or LALS 10. This course may be taken for a letter grade or pass/no pass, and must be passed with a C or better, or Pass.

Appeal Process

Students who did not satisfy the major declaration requirement but believe there are extenuating circumstances may file a written appeal. Appeals should be submitted to undergraduate advising by sending an email to lalsadvising@ucsc.edu. Students must file the appeal within 15 days of denial of major declaration. The department will notify the student and college of the decision within 15 days of the receipt of the appeal.

How to Declare a Major

Students may declare the major through the MyUCSC portal. Any questions should be directed to the LALS undergraduate advisor.

Letter Grade Policy

This program does not have a letter grade policy. Major and minor requirements will be met with grades of C or better or Pass, within the parameters of the UC Santa Cruz Pass/No Pass grading policy.

Study Abroad

The LALS Department encourages students to participate in Global Learning programs whenever possible. We offer a summer Global Internship program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that satisfies an elective requirement in LALS. And there are many other learning programs offered throughout the academic year in: California, Washington, D.C., Latin America, and elsewhere across the globe. LALS and politics combined majors are often interested in the learning and internship opportunities offered through the UCDC and UC Sacramento programs. Find out more on the Global Learning website or visit their offices on campus.


For combined majors, academic performance must meet the criteria in both departments to be awarded honors. Honors can only be conferred if both departments agree.

LALS awards honors based on overall student academic performance in courses that count toward the major. To receive the strongest consideration for honors in the major, the following grade point average (GPA) criteria must be met: highest honors, 4.0; honors, 3.7.

For politics, honors are awarded to graduating seniors whose academic performance is judged to be consistently excellent by a committee of politics faculty, based primarily on a review of grades. Highest honors in the major are reserved for students with consistently outstanding academic performance.

Requirements and Planners

Course Requirements

A minimum of 12 courses and one lab are required for the Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) and Politics Combined B.A. Students considering a double major or major/minor plan with the combined major in LALS and politics should contact the LALS undergraduate advisor to discuss their options.

Lower-Division Requirements

Students must complete a lower-division politics course, chosen from politics courses numbered 1-70, and one LALS lower-division course, chosen from LALS 1 or LALS 5 or LALS 10.

One LALS introductory course
LALS 1Introduction to Latin American and Latino Studies


LALS 10Introduction to Chicanx & Latinx Studies


LALS 5Introduction to Human Rights and Social Justice


One lower-division POLI course

Students take one 5-credit course chosen from POLI 1-70.

Upper-Division Requirements

Take the following courses:
LALS 100Concepts and Theories in Latin American and Latina/o Studies


LALS 100AResearch in LALS


LALS 100LResearch in LALS Lab


POLI 140CLatin American Politics


Three politics core courses chosen from:
/LGST 105A
Ancient Political Thought


/LGST 105B
Early Modern Political Thought


/LGST 105C
Modern Political Thought


/LGST 105D
Contemporary Political Theory: Modernity and its Discontents


/LGST 120A
Congress, President, and the Court in American Politics


/LGST 120B
Society and Democracy in American Political Development


/LGST 120C
State and Capitalism in American Political Development


POLI 140AEuropean Politics


POLI 140DPolitics of East Asia


POLI 140EMiddle East Politics


POLI 160ATheories of International and World Politics


/LGST 160B
International Law


POLI 160CSecurity, Conflict, Violence, War


POLI 160DInternational Political Economy


Three upper-division electives

Students choose two additional 5-credit upper-division electives from LALS courses numbered 101-190, and one additional 5-credit upper-division elective from politics courses numbered 100-189.

Disciplinary Communication (DC) Requirement

Students of every major must satisfy a disciplinary communication (DC) requirement. The DC requirement for the LALS and politics combined B.A. is met by completing:

LALS 100AResearch in LALS


LALS 100LResearch in LALS Lab


Comprehensive Requirement

Students satisfy the Comprehensive Requirement by completing either an LALS Senior Seminar (LALS 194 A-Z, excluding L) and LALS 194L, or a politics course number POLI 190 A-Z.


The tables below are for informational purposes and do not reflect all university, general education, and credit requirements. See Undergraduate Graduation Requirements for more information.

Four-Year Sample Course Planner for Frosh Students

Fall Winter Spring Summer
Entering College 1A
Summer Edge (optional)
1st (frosh) LALS 1* POLI lower-division requirement
College 1 WRIT 1/WRIT 1E (if needed)
2nd (soph) WRIT 2** LALS 100 LALS 100A +
3rd (junior) POLI core POLI 140C*** POLI core
LALS elective LALS elective POLI elective
4th (senior) (possible study abroad) POLI core

LALS 194 + LALS 194L or POLI 190

*or take LALS 5 or LALS 10 when offered.

** WRIT 2 should be taken in or before spring quarter of the second year.

***take POLI 140C when offered in junior or senior year.

Two-Year Sample Course Planner for Transfer Students

Fall Winter Spring Summer
Entering KRSG 1T
Summer Edge (optional)
1st (junior) LALS 1* LALS 100 LALS 100A +
POLI lower-division requirement* POLI 140C** POLI core
POLI core
2nd (senior) POLI elective POLI core LALS 194 + LALS 194L or POLI 190
LALS elective LALS elective
(possible study abroad)

*if not already satisfied by transfer credit.

**take POLI 140C when offered in junior or senior year.