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Latin American Studies

Pair with any bachelor’s degree

Studying the politics, geography and culture of Latin America opens the door to a rich history and gives you a competitive edge with employers who value professionals with multicultural perspectives in an increasingly diverse world.

Program Overview

Develop a multicultural perspective of the world.

The Latin American Studies minor will offer you the opportunity to gain a multidimensional perspective of the field and world. By employing the tools of various disciplines—including art, history, Spanish, geography, politics, economics and anthropology—you can begin the process of understanding Latin American people and nations. Through comprehensive coursework—from international economics and globalization—to the history of Latin America, you can begin to understand the complex relationship between the United States, Latin America and the rest of the world. A minor in Latin American Studies is complementary to any degree and will prepare you for a successful career in international business, law, journalism and teaching.

Cultural connections

The Latin American Studies minor combines art, history, Spanish, geography, politics, economics and anthropology coursework to provide students with a well-rounded understanding of Latin American people and nations.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

The Latin American Studies minor consists of 21 credits: 15 credits of core courses and 6 credits of electives:

ART 421Art of Mesoamerica and the Andean of South America3
GEOG 351Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean3
HIST 260Latin American History (GT-HI1)3
SPAN 101Elementary Spanish I 13
SPAN 102Elementary Spanish II 13
LAS 400Latin American Studies Senior Portfolio0
Select two of the following: 26
ANTH 320
Cultural Ecology
ECON 303
International Economics and Globalization
HIST 360
HIST 366
Modern Latin America
HIST 367
Latin American History: Topics
POLS 255
Introduction to Comparative Politics (GT-SS1)
SPAN 341
Latin American Civilization and Culture
Total Credits21

Students may substitute SPAN 101 Elementary Spanish I with SPAN 201 Intermediate Spanish I and substitute SPAN 102 Elementary Spanish II with SPAN 202 Intermediate Spanish II. Requests for substitute languages spoken in Latin America (e.g. Portuguese) may be submitted to the designated coordinators of the Latin American Studies minor for substitution consideration.


Students may petition to have other courses that have at least 40% Latin American content count toward the minor. The student is required to submit written evidence of the Latin American content of such courses, including the instructor’s signature, to the Coordinator for approval


Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.


Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.


Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.


Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.


The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Expand your community and your network.

There are so many ways that you can maximize your educational experience at Western. Take advantage of these opportunities to advance your career.

  • Multicultural Center: Immerse with students from many cultures on campus and participate in community service and organizing cultural events.
  • Volunteering: Students serve at Gunnison County’s Multicultural Resources and Project Hope to provide support for local Spanish-speaking individuals searching for additional resources to succeed in life.
  • Internships: Recent students have interned with local government agencies and businesses to analyze current economic data.
  • Model United Nations: Compete in the National Model United Nations event in New York City.
  • Study Abroad: Travel to India, Ecuador, Prague, London, Italy or Belize through Extended Studies.

Global perspectives

As part of the Latin American Studies program, students study the economic, political, historical and cultural aspects of Latin America. This is examined from the perspectives of people, trade, development, finance, and the environment.

Department Chairperson

Heather Thiessen-Reily, Ph.D.

Professor of History

Administrative Assistant

Patricia McCarthy

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences Administrative Assistant

Campus Location

Western Colorado University
Kelley Hall 240
1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81231

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