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Requirements | U.S. Latina/o Studies Program



The Minor in U.S. Latina/o Studies provides students with the opportunity to study critically the broad range of experiences of Latinas/os in the United States. To apply, select the Advising & Forms tab.

I. Description:

The Minor addresses issues pertaining to historically recognized U.S. Latina/o subgroups, among them Mexican Americans/Chicanos, Puerto Ricans/Nuyoricans, and Cuban Americans, as well as distinct local and regional communities such as Salvadoran Americans, Guatemalan Americans, Colombian Americans, Afro Latinas/os, and others. Through an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach drawing from various comparative critical frameworks, students examine the histories, communities, and cultures of Latinas/os both as distinctive group formations as well as interconnected with the broader themes of diversity, ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexuality, and immigration in the U.S. The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary minor prepares students to understand recent demographic and cultural transformations of Latino populations in local, regional, and national contexts.

The Minor, which requires a total of 15 credits, is intended for students who wish to develop a specialization in U.S. Latina/o Studies alongside their degree pursuits. It is optimal for students engaged in work with U.S. Latina/o communities in a variety of professions and academic fields including history, literature, education, urban studies and planning, health care, social services, business, government, public policy, among others.


II. Requirements:

A. Two Lower-Level Courses (6 credits)

All students are required to take the two foundational courses:

USLT 201/U.S. Latina/o Studies I: An Historical Overview to 1960s; and

USLT 202/U.S. Latina/o Studies II: A Contemporary Overview, 1960s-Present.

These courses engage students with the disciplines, debates, and methods that constitute the field of U.S. Latina/o Studies. Students acquire an historical understanding of why various Latina/o peoples immigrated to the United States, how those already living within the geopolitical borders of the United States adjusted to (neo)colonization, how Latina/o immigrants and their descendants have been treated in American history, and how they have responded to such treatments. This approach is not merely additive, but potentially transformative in the manner in which it expands the boundaries and revises the conceptualization of United States history.

USLT 201: An Historical Overview to 1960s is an interdisciplinary course in which students learn about the history of Latinos/as in the U.S., about how Latinos/as construct “Latinidades,” that is, Latino/a identities in the United States, and about current issues in Latino/a Studies. The course begins with a general examination of terminology associated with various Latino subgroups, including Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, Dominicans, and Central Americans. Through readings of poems, short stories, autobiographical narratives, novels, and other materials, students will explore the history and cultural expressions of these groups. Attention will be paid to U.S. Latina/o cultural expressive practices such as music (e.g., corridos, salsa, spoken word, etc.) and visual images in art, video, film, and photography, among other things. Students will be expected to engage critically and creatively with the materials of this course. At the end of the semester, students will produce an individual project on an aspect of Latina/os in the U.S. and/or the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area that pertains to the history of that community before 1960. They will present their findings in panel format during the last weeks of classes.

USLT 202: A Contemporary Overview: 1960s-Present is an interdisciplinary course on emerging populations of Latinos beginning in the 20th Century U.S. with a focus on the multiple waves of Latino immigration as a result of colonialism, imperialism, globalization, and community-based social movements. It examines the positioning of immigrant waves in the political, socio-cultural and historical contexts of U.S. Latinidades. Apart from providing students with grounding in the historical knowledge of a particular people, place, and time, this 200-level course will help students develop certain skills including the ability to critically analyze the writings and arguments of historians, social scientists, and other interdisciplinary scholars. Discussions, lectures, and writing assignments are designed with these goals in mind. At the end of the semester, students will produce an individual project on any aspect of Latinos/as in the U.S. and/or the Greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. They will present their findings in panel format during the last weeks of classes. Ultimately, this course is about how Latinos/as construct Latinidades, that is, Latino/a identities in the geo-political borders of the United States.

B. One Upper-Level Course (3 credits)

All students are required to take the upper-level course: USLT 488/Senior Seminar in U.S. Latina/o Studies. This variable topics seminar exposes students to interdisciplinary critical readings, writing, and research in U.S. Latina/o Studies. This course broadly addresses interdisciplinary research methodologies. Students will gain skills and practice in reading critical analytic texts and will develop writing skills. Students will work closely with the instructor and the McKeldin Library Subject Area Specialist in U.S. Latina/o Studies.

C. Two Upper-Level Elective Courses (6 credits)

In addition to the three required foundational courses, students will select two elective courses in consultation with the USLT advisor, one from each of two of the following categories: Humanities; Social Sciences; Languages; and Education.

For these electives, students can choose USLT 498/Special Topics in U.S. Latina/o Studies and from a list of pre-approved courses offered through other departments or programs. Elective courses will explore the historical, cultural, political, economic, and sociological dimensions of U.S. Latina/o experiences.

Additional courses that include comparative U.S. Latino content, such as in LASC, GVPT, or AMST, would be eligible for inclusion in the minor with the approval of the USLT advisor. Each semester, in advance of pre-registration, the USLT advisor will circulate a list of courses with US Latino content for the next semester. Please select the Courses tab to view current and recently offered courses.

III. Eligibility and Application Process:

In order to apply for the minor in U.S. Latina/o Studies, students must have:

1. Completed at least 30 credit hours prior to application to the program
2. Completed USLT 201 or 202 with a C (2.0) or better
3. Applied before the add/drop deadline in a given semester.

The U.S. Latina/o Studies Minor can be a flexible complement to a student’s four year course of study. Please select the Advising & Forms tab to view the forms necessary for application.

IV. Restrictions:

A student may use a maximum of six credits (or two courses) to satisfy the requirements of both a major and a minor.

Courses completed in one minor may not be used to satisfy the requirements in another minor. No more than six of the required credits (or two courses) may be taken at an institution other than the University of Maryland, College Park. However, at least six upper division credits applied to the minor must be taken at the university.

No course with an earned grade below “C” (2.0) may count towards a minor.


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