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Latin American Studies Program

Latin America encompasses two continents, extending from Mexico and the tropical islands of the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America. Its rich and diverse cultures have their roots in Indigenous, African, and European civilizations. Latin America today reflects both the past - one that is marked by colonialism, economic depedency, and revolutions - and the future - one that is represented by diversity, multiculturalism, creativity, and entrepeneurship -. It is a region that continues transforming itself and finding its place within complex global realities.  

The Villanova Latin American Studies Program, established in 1988, offers students in all of the university's four undergraduate colleges the opportunity to acquire a broad multi-disciplinary understanding and appreciation of Latin America. Students may pursue either a minor or the more comprehensive major (GLAS). Both are designed to complement a variety of majors; many concentration and minor courses can also be used to satisfy core curriculum requirements.

Since language is essential to understanding any culture, a degree of language proficiency is an integral part of both the major and the minor. And, since living in Latin America offers invaluable experience in language, culture, and contemporary life issues, students in the program are strongly encouraged to spend a summer or semester in the region.

In addition to its attractive course offerings, the Program sponsors overseas academic activities in Mexico and Costa Rica, and a variety of scholarly and cultural events for the Villanova community.

We have many exciting and informative events throughout the year!


The Latin American Studies Program (LAS) is dedicated to increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion through its academic curriculum, the different backgrounds of our faculty and students, and service-learning initiatives. As faculty members of LAS, we foster an inclusive, respectful, and intellectually stimulating academic environment that embraces our individual differences. These differences among individuals and groups of people come together with concepts of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, disability, political opinions, and ideologies.

To prepare our students for interacting in a global and multicultural world, our program embraces Villanova's commitment to the respect and tolerance of differing perspectives, ideas, and beliefs in our community. As educators, we commit ourselves to cultivating the conditions for meaningful cross-cultural dialogues by encouraging intercultural social interactions and the recognition of the variety of cultures, languages, and peoples from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latinx communities in the United States.

At the Latin American Studies program we are committed to:

  • Supporting diversity through the study and our teaching of the works and intellectual contributions produced by underrepresented groups and minorities.
  • Fostering a safe and respectful learning environment and preparing students to be culturally aware.
  • Creating an intersectionality framework in our courses to promote social justice.
  • Building networks with local organizations to work together in the eradication of all forms of racism and discrimination against communities of color, minorities, and migrants.

Contact Information

Program Director
Raúl Diego Rivera Hernández, Ph.D. Associate Professor,
Romance Languages & Literature