Undergraduate Specialization in Chicano/Latino Studies


Each Chicano/Latino Studies (CLS) program is designed to focus on the histories and cultures of Chicanas/Chicanos and Latinas/Latinos. As an academic discipline, Chicano/Latino Studies began nationally over 30 years ago, to acknowledge the historical, cultural, and social contributions of the diverse indo-afro-hispano citizens of the United States over the last 500 years. Historically, it has based its academic programs on an interdisciplinary model in the humanities and social sciences and has considered close ties to the community an essential element.

At Michigan State University, the CLS Program coordinates the Chicano/Latino specialization, oversees curriculum development, mentors and advises students, and promotes close faculty, staff, and student relations. In addition, it sponsors academic and cultural activities that benefit not only the university, but also the larger community in the area.

The undergraduate Specialization in Chicano/Latino Studies, administered by the College of Social Science, is available as an elective to students who are enrolled in bachelor's degree programs at Michigan State University. Although the specialization complements a number of major fields, students who plan graduate study related to the social sciences or who wish to pursue careers in education, social work, government or businesses that serve mixed ethnic communities may find the specialization particularly appealing.  With the approval of the department and college that administer the student's degree program, the courses that are used to satisfy the requirements for the specialization may also be used to satisfy the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

The Specialization in Chicano/Latino Studies is designed to help students to understand the multicultural dimensions of society; to gain a knowledge of Chicano/Latino scholarship and scholars; and to apply that knowledge to the study of Chicano/Latino communities and life. The specialization draws on research, teaching, and community service among Chicano/Latinos that:

  • Focuses intensively on the histories of different racial and cultural sub–groups of Latinos.

  • Draws larger theoretical lessons from comparisons among these groups and between non–Latino populations.

  • Seeks to articulate general principles that shape racial and ethnic relations.

  • Explores how ethnic identity is constructed and reconstructed over time.

  • Develops methodologies and principles which empower students to enhance leadership and human relations within diverse communities of peoples and conditions.

Students wishing to be advised should consult the Director of the Chicano/Latino specialization in 200 S. Kedzie Hall. To make an appointment for advising, please contact our undergraduate advisor, Esmeralda Perez de Lopez at 517-353-8685 or by email at perezesm@msu.edu.  You can schedule an appointment by clicking here. The Director, in conjunction with the advisor, assists the student in planning a program of study that is tailored to the student's interests, disciplinary major, and career objectives.  The student's program of study for the specialization must be approved in advance and in writing by both the advisor for Chicano/Latino studies and the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Social Science.

Spring 2012 Chicano-Latino Studies Program classes can be found by clicking here.