About the Program


The Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) program is designed to prepare students for the close cultural, political, and economic relationships developing between Latin America and the United States. Trade agreements such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and the proposed FTAA, a growing community of immigrant laborers, and the expansion of Latin American and Latino communities in the US with significant political and economic power make this interdisciplinary, language-based minor essential for student success in our Western hemisphere where national boundaries are becoming increasingly porous. Upon completing either the minor or major, students will have the language skills and the cultural and historical knowledge with which to flourish in both Latin American settings and in a growing variety of U.S. settings in which Spanish language and knowledge of Latin America are indispensable.


The LALS Minor was approved by the Montana University System Board of Regents in 2007, and the LALS Major was approved in 2012. In recent years, MSU has acquired a critical mass of faculty who specialize in Latin American and Latino Studies. We have also been expanding library resources available for the study of Latin America and Latino culture. Finally, LALS faculty are developing study abroad programs in Latin America in order to enhance the undergraduate experience. We encourage MSU students to consider a minor or second major in LALS.

Local Setting

Montana State University, a land-grant institution is located in Bozeman, Montana. About 12,000 students attend the university, of whom about ninety percent are undergraduates. Montana has a Latino heritage centered in the city of Billings. More recently, Bozeman’s Latino population has been growing due to the need for service sector workers in the expanding, nearby resort of Big Sky. Located in a “non-gateway” state for Latin American immigration, Montana State University provides a unique setting for both Latin American and Latino Studies academic coursework and service learning.