Latin American Studies, B.A.
Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies
Dr. Cristina Herrera, Chair
Social Science Building, Room 211
Degrees and Programs Offered
BA in Chicano Studies, B.A.
BA in Latin American Studies, B.A.
MN in Chicano/Latino Studies, Minor
MN in Latin American Studies, Minor
Chicano and Latin American Studies (CLAS) is an interdisciplinary department that has been successful in presenting a highly informed, active, and challenging view of the Chicanx/Latinx experience in the United States, Latin America, and U.S./Latin American relations. Chicano and Latin American Studies provides an opportunity for a pluralistic exchange of ideas in an interdisciplinary academic setting, where faculty, students, and visiting scholars can share experiences and create a dynamic, intellectual environment.
The Chicano and Latin American Studies Department is designed to meet the following objectives:
- to promote an awareness of the historical and cultural roots of Chicanx/Latinx people in the United States
- to enhance an understanding of Latin America
- to cultivate an appreciation of ethnic and national differences among all people
- to critically analyze the Chicanx and the Latin American experience in terms of significant issues, theories, current problems, and solutions, and
- to provide students with a set of important professional skills to be utilized as they interact creatively and constructively with Chicanx/Latinx communities and multicultural society at large.
The department emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of family life, history, politics, culture, and the arts of Chicano and Latin American communities. The courses reflect an integrated approach in providing students with greater knowledge and understanding of the social reality and diversity of Chicanxs and Latin Americans.
Los Danzantes de Aztlán. Los Danzantes de Aztlán is the premier Mexican Dance group founded in the department
in 1970 by Professor Ernesto Martinez, a pioneer in Mexican folkloric dance in the
Central Valley. The troupe has captivated audiences with its beautiful, authentic
costumes and precise dance execution. Under the current direction of Dr. Victor M.
Torres, the troupe has consistently earned top awards in national and international
competitions. It is the only Mexican dance group in the entire San Joaquin Valley
(Stockton to Bakersfield), and the only University organization in California to be
invited to perform at the prestigious San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival on three
occasions. The group also plays an important role in student recruitment as it inspires
young dancers to attend Fresno State and participate with Los Danzantes de Aztlán.
The troupe achieves this via its many events, such as the High School Folklorico Summit
and the Cal State University Folklorico Show. Due to its professionalism, its exemplary
role as a cultural bridge between the University and the community, and its vital
artistic and educational contributions to the university and to the region, Los Danzantes
de Aztlán has been designated as an official ambassador of the University. Los Danzantes
de Aztlán is the only organization of its kind in the entire CSU system to have this
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
Latin American Studies Major
The Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies requires a minimum of 120 units, which includes courses for the major, General Education, electives, and all university requirements. Students seeking a bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies must be in good standing with the university and must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75. Before enrolling in upper-division courses, students must complete designated lower-division courses.
The B.A. in Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary degree designed to give students an understanding of the region from diverse disciplines and perspectives. Students are strongly encouraged to spend a semester abroad studying in Latin America, Spain, or Portugal. Majors should also develop proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese by graduation. High school students preparing to enter the program should not have less than three years of study in either Spanish or Portuguese.
The B.A. in Latin American Studies prepares students for graduate studies or employment in government services or international organizations. It also provides a strong foundation for students who wish to teach at the secondary school level, at a two-year college, or at the university level. Students are also prepared for careers in the private sector with an emphasis in international business or specialized focus on Latin America.
Latin American Studies Major
1. Major requirements (33 units)
Electives (15 units)*
AIS 103, ANTH 130, ANTH 141, ANTH 143, CLAS 112, CLAS 114, CLAS 115, CLAS 128, CLAS 171, CLAS 172S, CLAS 173, ECON 114, ECON 179, GEOG 170T, GEOG 172, HIST 145, HIST 160, HIST 162, HIST 165, HIST 167, HIST 169T, HIST 183, PLSI 146T, PLSI 148, ARTH 170, ARTH 173, ARTH 175, HUM 130, SPAN 125, SPAN 129, SPAN 143, SPAN 145, SPAN 147
2. General Education requirements (49 units)
3. Other requirements (6 units)
Upper-division writing and Multicultural and International (MI)
4. Sufficient elective units to meet required total units (varies)
5. Total units (120)*
* G.E. and MI courses can be double-counted with major requirements. The writing requirement may be met by taking the upper-division writing exam. See advisor for details.
Note: A semester abroad in Spain, Portugal or a Latin American country can replace the senior project. The academic components of such a study abroad program would include application of key concepts, comparative analysis of the culture, description and discussion of current political/social issues, and analysis of the impact of globalization on the country visited.
The Chicano and Latin American Studies Department consists of faculty whose teaching and research expertise cover a broad spectrum, including anthropology, education, history, sociology, political science, Latin America, Latinx literature, and the arts. CLAS hosts the yearly Latin American Film Festival to bring Latin American films and filmmakers to the Central Valley. The department is home to one of Central California’s premier Mexican folkloric dance programs, Los Danzantes de Aztlán. This performance troupe is the only group of its kind in the entire CSU system to be designated as an official representative of a CSU campus (Fresno). The offices of the department also serve as a resource center for many of the Chicanx/Latinx student organizations and as an information center for the community.
For faculty phone numbers and e-mail, see the campus directory.
For more on the faculty, see the faculty pages.
The faculty pages are updated by the department or program.
B.A. in Latin American Studies
A Roadmap identifies the specific set of courses students must complete in their major in sequential order. Information on corequisites or prerequisites is listed along with other pertinent information to assist students in completing courses towards the major.
Please note: Roadmaps are not a guarantee of course availability.
If you are looking for archived roadmaps, please click here.
Chicanxs and Latinxs are the largest ethnic group in California. This segment of our population will have a major impact on our society, as its presence translates into an increasing economic and political influence. Crucial social, economic, and political decisions will be made that affect this group and the nation at large. The growth of Latinx-owned businesses, Spanish language media networks, and political organizations are all indicators of the importance of the Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. economy.
Chicano Studies majors are trained to analyze social issues, to think critically, and to conduct research. All majors receive applied as well as theoretical training with a school or community agency to observe firsthand the social issues and theories which they study. These skills are useful in professional life and are valued in the public and private sectors.
Students of non-Latinx origin find that Chicano and Latin American Studies courses are personally rewarding because they enable them to understand and relate to persons of different social and cultural backgrounds. Chicanx and Latinx students find these courses highly conducive to strengthening their sense of identity and pride in their heritage.
Students who graduate with a B.A. in Chicano Studies or Latin American Studies, or who minor in Chicano/Latino Studies and Latin American Studies work in such fields as education, public administration, psychology, marketing, journalism, social services, and throughout the public and private sectors. Physicians, educators, lawyers, counselors, civil service employees, and other professionals have found that training in Chicano and Latin American studies improves their abilities to serve their clients and enhance their employment and advancement opportunities.
Students with a B.A. in Chicano Studies can enter master’s or doctoral programs in the humanities and social sciences and in professional schools in such areas as Chicanx studies, ethnic studies, anthropology, political science, history, public administration, Latinx literature, multimedia, social work, and education. Also, students are encouraged to pursue double majors and minors; one in Chicano Studies and the second in a professional area of their preference. Students with questions related to their future careers or seeking advising assistance should consult with the major and minor advisors of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department.
What You Can Do
Pursue a career in:
- U.S.-Mexico Relations
- Teaching and Education
- Social Work and Counseling
- Government work
Interesting Classes You Might Take
- Music of Mexico and the Southwest
- Critical Thinking in Chicano and Latin American Studies
- Chicano Literature
- Cultural Change and the Latino
What You Can Learn
The Latino population's contribution to the development of a multicultural nation during the late twentieth century
About Latin America and it's nations, history, problems and realities
Chicano artistic expression with attention to cultural continuity
Analysis of the customs, values, belief systems, and their symbols
About the College
The College of Social Sciences studies the human experience, including the depth of the past and the breadth of the entire planet.
We place emphasis on learning practical skills to aid you in your career. Our students do internships, participate in archaeological digs, or do service-learning projects with a non-profit agency. Students can assist on research projects or organize a social change project.
Whatever a student's major, they enjoy our witty and talented faculty and our caring staff as they discover our social world.
College Contact Information
Phone: (559) 278-3013
FAX: (559) 278-7664
5340 N. Campus Drive MS/SS91
Fresno CA 93740-8019
Department Contact Information
Social Science Building, Room 117
(559) 278-8352 or email us
5340 North Campus Drive M/S SS97
Fresno, CA 93740-8019