Central American Studies Certificate

With support from a U.S. Department of Education grant, the Center for Latin American Studies is pleased to offer an undergraduate certificate in Central American Studies.

Why Central American Studies?

Central America has received significant attention in recent years. Central Americans have a long history of immigration to the United States and, today, are among the fastest growing immigrant communities. The region hosts some of Latin America’s most important social and human rights movements, including movements for Indigenous rights, gender rights, justice for war crimes, anti-corruption and citizen security movements, and movements seeking recognition for Afro-descendant peoples. Central America is at the center of debates over the human impacts of climate change, amidst critical efforts to preserve and defend the region’s diverse ecosystems and rich cultural heritage.  This certificate is relevant to students pursuing many careers, including health and social services, education, law, foreign service, security studies, and environmental policy.

What does a Central American Studies certificate offer?

The Central American Studies certificate supports unique travel, engagement, and immersive course experiences.  The program offers opportunities to deepen knowledge of key issues through coursework with renowned UArizona faculty that bring in-depth knowledge and connections to Central America.  Students study indigenous languages of the region and find unique opportunities for direct in-person and virtual engagement with the region through study abroad and internships (scholarships available!).

Who can get a certificate in Central American Studies?

The certificate is available to any University of Arizona undergraduate.

How can you get a certificate in Central American Studies?

The Center for Latin American Studies Awards the certificate upon completion of the requirements listed below. You can include this certificate in your resume.

For more information, please contact: Dr. Elizabeth Oglesby, eoglesby@arizona.edu

  • The certificate requirements are 9 credits of coursework.

This does not have to be new coursework, but can be courses already counted for your major(s), as long as the courses include at least 25% content related to Central America.

  • 3 credits of engagement activities. There are several ways to fulfill this requirement: study abroad, internships, independent research, and/or Indigenous language study. Again, “double-dipping” is ok; these credits can count toward other majors simultaneously.


Examples of courses that count toward the Central American Studies certificate. This is not an exhaustive list. Courses that do not focus exclusively on Central America but have some Central America-related content may be eligible, particularly if you are writing papers or doing class research about a Central America-related topic. Questions and/or additions can be directed to Dr. Elizabeth Oglesby, eoglesby@arizona.edu

  • LAS 150B1 – Modern Latin America: Race, Rights, and Revolutions
  • LAS 206 – Introduction to Central American Studies
  • SPAN 210 – Latin American Film
  • LING 310 – Introduction to Mesoamerican Languages
  • LAS 356 – Indigenous Resistance in Latin America
  • LAS 367 – Human Rights in Latin America
  • GEOG 311B – Geography of Central America and the Caribbean
  • ANTH 334A – Mesoamerican Civilizations: Maya
  • ANTH 453B – Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • HIST 465Z – History of Central America
  • LAS 489– Central American Migration: Root Causes and Lived Experiences

Central America Engagement

Examples of study abroad programs that count for the engagement requirement include the UArizona programs in Costa Rica and Guatemala. See descriptions of these programs at: https://global.arizona.edu/study-abroad.  LING 310: Introduction to Mesoamerican Languages also counts for the engagement requirement. And many internships, both in Arizona and in Central America (as part of UArizona study abroad programs), count toward the engagement requirement. You can mix and match credits for the engagement requirement, e.g., internship credits and independent study focusing on Central America. Study abroad is highly recommended but not required for the Central American Studies certificate. Scholarships are available for UArizona study abroad programs in Central America.