Latin American and Caribbean Studies

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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) is a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center, promoting the study and research of Latin American history and culture, including less commonly taught and indigenous languages such as Quechua, the language of the Incas, which is still spoken by millions of people in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia.

The concentration offered by LACS is designed to provide a broad-based, multidisciplinary approach to the study of this important region.  In our increasingly global world, as a student of Latin America and the Caribbean, you will learn to engage with multiple worlds, gain proficiency in at least one foreign language, obtain a broad-based liberal arts education, and develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills.
Related fields include Romance Languages and Literatures, History, Anthropology, Political Science, American Culture, Latino / Latina Studies, Afroamerican Studies, History of Art, Economics, Sociology, Public Policy, Museum Studies, and Linguistics.


Research / Project Development Skills

Gathering information
Working with original sources
Identifying areas for research
Planning long-term projects
Establishing hypotheses
Applying methodologies from many disciplines

Analytical Skills

Weighing values
Reading critically
Assessing evidence
Comparing different translations
Perceiving patterns
Synthesizing information
Identifying and questioning assumptions

Interpersonal / Cross-Cultural Skills

Sensitivity to problems of ethnicity and nationalism
Understanding / working with people from different cultures
Acknowledging value systems
Understanding historical origins of present societies
Applying interdisciplinary knowledge to a region
Interpreting cultural norms

Communication Skills

Reading and writing in another language
Translating and interpreting
Writing clearly
Explaining complex ideas
Presenting to groups


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. LACS students are active in student organizations, from advocacy to social groups. Honors thesis research and field research with faculty members provide further learning opportunities.

Other options include off-campus employment, volunteering in the community, or studying or working abroad, which is particularly helpful in building language proficiency and cross-cultural skills. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


LACS concentrators develop both general and technical skills applicable to a wide range of careers in government, non-profits, education, and business. For example, cross-cultural communication skills may be equally useful whether working as a social worker, a corporate recruiter, or a freelance journalist. Many concentrators go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by LACS graduates.

Research / Project Development Skills

Population policy researcher open book icon
Professional association director
Archivist, ethnic organization archives
Manuscript curator open book icon
Museum curator open book icon

Analytical Skills

Physician open book icon
Epidemiologist open book icon
Immigration lawyer open book icon
National security agency analyst
Foreign policy analyst open book icon
Investment analyst
Political risk consultant open book icon
International banker
Development officer
College professor open book icon

Interpersonal / Cross-Cultural Skills

Social worker open book icon
Anthropologist open book icon
Foreign service officer open book icon
Court interpreter
Relocation coordinator
Corporate trainer
Relief agency volunteer coordinator
Foundation international programs officer
Diversity trainer
Study abroad director
Peace Corps / VISTA worker

Communication Skills

K-12 teacher
Language school manager
Publishing house acquisitions editor
Foreign correspondent (all media)
Newsletter writer

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


The LACS concentration requires 30 credit hours above the 200 level with a great deal of flexible choice. At least one course must come from each of the following areas: Anthropology, History, Literature, and Political Science. Many students elect to do a double concentration with one of these areas.
Intermediary knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is required. Further language study, as well as study abroad in a relevant country, is highly encouraged, but not mandatory.

An Honors Concentration and a five-course minor are also available. Refer to the LSA Bulletin or the Center website for further information on prerequisites and requirements.

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
International Institute
1080 South University Ave., Suite 2607

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


To begin exploring opportunities for overseas study and work, go to: or

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On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan