Distance Learning Latin American Studies Programs

Get info about online programs in Latin American Studies. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Distance learning certificate and degree programs in Latin American studies are rare, so potential students may want to consider a campus-based program. Those interested in this field may want to consider a bachelor's degree in international relations with Latin American Studies concentration. Some on-campus programs may offer some coursework in an online format.

There is at least one certificate-level online program in Spanish and Latin American studies that includes coursework in the Spanish language as well as electives in Latin American civilizations, culture and literature to round out the curriculum. At least two years of Spanish at the high school level are required before entry into the program. At the bachelor's degree level, Latin American studies may be explored through an online degree program in international relations. Special software may be necessary for some courses.

Certificate in Spanish and Latin American Studies

Online certificate programs in Latin American studies are rare. However, a language intensive program is offered for distance learners interested in polishing their Spanish while learning about Latino and Spanish cultures. Applicants must possess a high school diploma, or GED equivalent, and at least two years of Spanish at the high school level. Transfer credit for college level Spanish may be approved.

Program Information and Requirements

A certificate in Spanish and Latin American studies may be completed in one year. Distance learners are required to participate in weekly class discussions through interactive Web chats. Special software may be necessary for some courses. While fieldwork opportunities are available, they are usually not mandatory for program completion.

Common Courses

Spanish language courses provide the foundation for studying Spanish and Latin American culture. Spanish proficiency enables students to research primary sources, learn about current events from Spanish newspapers and translate historical and fictional literature for elective courses.

Spanish Language

Advanced Spanish language study focuses on sharpening listening and conversational skills. Students hone their ability to communicate and comprehend written and spoken Spanish.

Latin American Culture

Culture permeates the way we think about and understand our world, as well as our expressions through daily actions. A historical survey of Latin American contributions to art, politics and literature introduces students to the diversity of Hispanic cultures.

Spanish and Latin American Literature

Online students explore themes common to Latin American and Spanish authors. Stories expressing cultural identity are discussed.


Bachelor's in International Relations with Latin American Studies Concentration

While various on-campus Latin American studies programs exist, offering some online courses, fully online programs are rare. The lack of online program options may be due to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. Distance learners may pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International Relations with a geographic focus on Latin America. Students gain a historical perspective on the political and economic relationships that have shaped this dynamic region.

Program Information and Requirements

Online students can complete a B.A. in international relations in four years. There are no on-campus requirements, and asynchronous courses start monthly, so students can adapt their studies to fit their personal schedules.

Online Courses

General education requirements provide a well-rounded knowledge of math, humanities, and social and natural science. The major coursework introduces students to international relations, global economic development, foreign policy and law. Latin American studies electives cover regional political and economic history in-depth.

Latin American Politics

Distance learners study the political systems that have shaped the economic development of Latin America. Current developments are discussed.

Latin American Foreign Relations

In this course, foreign policy between the United States and its Latin American neighbors is examined in a historical context. Students review policies of diplomacy as well as of war.

Latin American Economy

Students explore the role of Latin America in the global market and issues of economic dependency in this class. Attention is given to the impacts of colonialism and political policy on the economy.


Career Information

Cultural knowledge is indispensable to any professional working in Latin America or with Latino communities, as is the ability to communicate effectively. A Spanish certificate can provide language instructors and translators an additional credential.

A liberal arts education with a focus on Latin American studies prepares graduates for a wide range of occupations in government agencies, non-profit organizations and private industries. International relations majors may be particularly interested in careers in the Foreign Service or international business. Continued education in law, business, anthropology or language may be necessary for some career paths.

Continuing Education Information

Depending on their career goals, graduates of a bachelor's degree program focused on Latin American studies may complete a graduate program; examples of fields of study in which they may continue their education are international business and anthropology.

While there are not many choices for those who want to enroll in an online Latin American studies program, there are some certificate program and Spanish language courses that will satisfy some of a student's learning goals. Bachelor's degree programs in international relations with a Latin American Studies concentration are one possible alternative.


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