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Chicano and Latin American Studies

Chicano Studies Major


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 Chicano/Latino experience in the United States and in 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 Chicano and Latin American scholars can share experiences and create a dynamic, intellectual environment.

The Chicano and Latin American Studies Department is designed to meet the following objectives:

  1. to promote an awareness of the historical and cultural roots of Chicanos/Latinos in the United States
  2. to enhance an understanding of Latin America
  3. to cultivate an appreciation of ethnic and national differences among all people
  4. to critically analyze the Chicano and the Latin American experience in terms of significant issues, theories, current problems, and solutions, and
  5. to provide students with a set of important professional skills to be utilized as they interact creatively and constructively with Chicano/Latino 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 Chicanos and Latin Americans.

Why Study Chicanos?

Chicanos and other Latinos will soon be the largest ethnic group in California. Demographers estimate that in California 40 percent of the population will be of Mexican or Latino ancestry by the year 2030. 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 Latino-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.

Students find that Chicano and Latin American Studies courses are personally rewarding because they enable them to understand persons of different social and cultural backgrounds. In addition, Chicano and other Latino students find both majors to be highly conducive to strengthening their sense of history, identity and pride in their heritage.

Major, Double Major, and Minor

Chicano Studies Major

Students are encouraged to pursue a major in Chicano Studies. Chicano Studies majors are required to see a CLAS advisor during their first semester on campus.

Double Major in Chicano Studies

A double major in Chicano Studies must have prior and final approval of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department. Students must see a CLAS adviser to plan their double major programs. The double major consists of 33 units of CLAS courses, 21 of which must be upper-division. However, up to 9 units may be double counted. The CLAS adviser, in consultation with the student, will select and approve courses that complement the student's other major.

Chicano/Latino Studies Minor

Students are encouraged to focus on an area of interest in Chicano/Latino studies or on a social issue affecting the Chicano/Latino population in the United States. General Education can be double-counted for the minor.