Graduate Certificate in LALS

Doctoral students affiliated with any department or School at the University of Pennsylvania who have focused at least part of their academic training on Latin America and Latinos are encouraged to document their specialization by earning a Certificate in LALS in conjunction with their doctoral degree. The Certificate documents that the student has developed rich cross-cultural fluency in Latin American traditions and culture and acquired specific knowledge about the history, social conditions, political challenges, or environmental issues affecting the region. Such recognition is expected to be valuable in academics, business, non-governmental organizations and other institutions dealing with Latin America and Latinos in the U.S.

Certificate requirements

  1. Five approved graduate level courses related to Latin America, including the Caribbean, or Latinos in the U.S. These courses may be selected from LALS courses listed each term. Students may request special approval for other courses to count towards this requirement as long as 50% of the graded content deals with Latin America or Latinos.
  2. Students must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or a less commonly taught language such as Yucatec Maya, Quechua, Haitian Creole, etc. Language proficiency can be demonstrated by proof of being a native speaker, evidence of extensive fieldwork in the language in question, language certificates or exams. In rare cases students can petition a waiver of the language requirement if their research focuses on Latinos in the U.S. or other situations where foreign language proficiency might not be necessary. In such situations, the student must substitute the language requirement with an additional course.

Students interested in applying to the Certificate should contact LALS ( or the LALS director directly. For those that are interested, please download, print, and fill out the Graduate Certificate Form.