Certificate in Latin American Studies and Thesis Prizes

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) awards a Certificate in Latin American Studies to Harvard College students who have completed an approved course of study as part of their work toward the A.B. degree. To be eligible, students must take 20 credits through a combination of courses from the Core Curriculum and the related general requirements, the concentration, electives, and senior tutorial. Students must also submit an approved Seniors Honors Thesis on a subject related to Latin America. However, as of academic year 2016-17, students may petition to have the thesis requirement be substituted by a Significant International Experience in Latin America, namely at least one semester spent participating in a for-credit study abroad program in a Latin American country during their time at Harvard College.

DRCLAS also awards a Certificate in Latin American Studies to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences PhD candidates who complete an approved course of study as part of their work toward degrees in their own disciplines. The Certificate was created by Harvard faculty to set minimum standards for their expectations for professional training in Latin American Studies and to promote interdisciplinary work on Latin America within Ph.D. program. Students must be engaged in a Ph.D. program and write a dissertation that focuses on one or more Spanish American country or Brazil.

  • 2018 Certificate Recipients

    Class of 2018 Recipients of the Certificate in Latin American Studies

  • The celebration begins

    The celebration begins...

  • Ieva Jusionyte, Keynote Address

    Friends and families gather to celebrate the success of the class of 2018

  • Keynote Address by Ieva Jusionyte

    Professor Ieva Jusionyte delivers the Keynote Address

  • Thesis Prize Winners

    Congratulations to the 2018 Thesis Prize Winners

    (From Left) Minyoung Jang, Eduardo González, Alexandra Cunningham

  • Steve Reifenberg Travel Fellowship

    Julia Ernst, winner of the Steve Reifenberg Travel Fellowship

    Julia will work in various prostethic clinics in Colombia during her fellowship

  • Hutchins Thesis Prize

    Joan Hutchins & Eduardo González

    Winner of the Joan Morthland Hutchins Thesis Prize in Latino Studies

  • Hammond Prize Winner

    Minyoung Jang and James Hammond

    Winner of the James R. and Isabel D. Hammond Thesis Prize

  • 2018 Graduates

    Congratulations to the Class of 2018 Certificate Recipients, Thesis Prize Winners & Refeinberg Fellow!

    Click to see more photos from this year's celebration!

Information for Undergrads

Domain of Countries

The countries included are the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries of the Americas.

Language Requirement 

Students must demonstrate knowledge of Spanish, Portuguese, or an Amerindian language spoken in Latin America. Language knowledge can be demonstrated by satisfying at least one of the following requirements:

  1. Scoring at least 670 on the Harvard Placement Test (native and heritage speakers are encouraged to take the placement test).
  2. Successfully completing the requirements for a Language Citation in Spanish or Portuguese from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
  3. Successfully completing a Spanish or Portuguese language course at level 30 or above and conducting a minimum of four weeks field research or study abroad in a Spanish- or Portuguese- speaking country. 

Students who wish to use an Amerindian language to satisfy this requirement should contact Rachel Murray-Crawford for more information.

Senior Thesis or Equivalent

Students must complete a significant project involving the study of Latin America by satisfying one or both of the following requirements: 

  1. Students may write a senior thesis on an approved subject related to Latin America.
  2. Students may petition to have the thesis requirement be substituted by a Significant International Experience in Latin America, namely at least one semester spent participating in a for-credit study abroad program in a Latin American country during their time at Harvard College.

Course Requirements

For an idea of relevant courses that are being offered this year throughout the University, view the 2018-2019 Guide to Courses here (view past years' guides here)

Students must complete twenty semester credits (five courses) -- beyond any courses associated with the senior thesis -- in the manner prescribed:

  1. Department distribution: The twenty qualifying credits (five courses) must include courses in three different departments or concentrations. Core courses are considered a distinct department. Courses may not be taken pass/fail.
    1. At least one of the courses must be taken in the social sciences (includes government, anthropology, economics, social studies, sociology) and at least one must be in the humanities (including history, literature, religion, or romance languages).
  2. Topic distribution: At least sixteen of the twenty credits (or four of the five courses) must be devoted exclusively to Latin American or Latinx topics. This means they have either 'Latin America,' 'Latinx,' 'Latino/a,' or the name of a Latin American country in the title of the course.
    1. The remaining four credits can be filled by another course devoted exclusively to Latin America, or by two courses related to Latin America that count as two credits each. These related courses that count as two credits each include those about Spain, Portugal, non-Spanish-speaking Caribbean countries, and courses that are comparative and topical, like those listed in the DRCLAS Course Guide.
  3. Classes not at Harvard: Students may petition to count up to three courses taken at other institutions, (i.e. classes taken while a student was studying abroad).

How to Apply 

Undergraduate Certificate Application and Plan of Study

Students must fill out an application and plan of study showing how the Certificate requirements will be met, no later than April 1 of their graduating class year).

Upon approval of the plan of study, the student becomes eligible for the Certificate, provided the plan of study is fulfilled.

Changes consistent with the Certificate program can be made at any time subject to the Director's approval.

Upon verification by the Registrar that the work recorded in the plan of study has been fulfilled, the Certificate will be awarded during Commencement week.

 

Information for Graduate Students

 

Field Research

Students must have conducted research in at least one relevant country for a minimum of three months.

Other Work

Students must have either (1) written a research-seminar paper on a Latin American topic under FAS faculty supervision; (2) offered a Latin American topic on the Ph.D. General Examination; or (3) taken two half-courses that focus entirely on Latin America.

Work Outside the Ph.D.-Granting Department

Students must also pass (with a grade of B or higher) a half-course in a department other than the one in which they are working towards a Ph.D.

DRCLAS Thesis Prizes

Prize

Description and Eligibility

Deadline

James R. and Isabel D. Hammond Thesis Prize

 

The Hammond Prize is awarded by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) for the best Harvard undergraduate senior honors thesis related to Spanish-speaking Latin America.  It was established in 1992 by a gift from James R. Hammond '57.  Each department may nominate one candidate*, and a faculty committee selects the prize recipient. The winner is determined in late May, and announced at the DRCLAS Certificate Ceremony held on the Wednesday before Commencement.  This prize carries a monetary award of $500. 

April 5, 2019

Joan Morthland Hutchins Thesis Prize in Latino Studies

 

The Joan Morthland Hutchins Thesis Prize is awarded by the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) to recognize the Harvard College senior who writes the best thesis on a subject concerning Latinos (either recent immigrants or established communities of Latin American descent in the United States). It was established by gift from Joan Morthland Hutchins. Candidates may be nominated by their department, concentration, instructional committee, or they may nominate their own theses*. The winner is determined in late May, and announced at the DRCLAS Certificate Ceremony held on the Wednesday before Commencement. This prize carries a monetary award of $500.

April 5, 2019

Kenneth Maxwell Senior Thesis Prize

 

The Kenneth Maxwell Thesis Prize in Brazilian Studies was awarded for the first time in the Spring of 2005, and was established to recognize the best Harvard College senior thesis on a subject related to Brazil. This annual prize is funded by a gift to DRCLAS from Professor Kenneth Maxwell. The winner is determined in late May and announced at the DRCLAS Certificate Ceremony during Commencement Week. The prize carries a monetary award of $500.

April 5, 2019

History and Literature Thesis Prize

 

Thesis Prize in History and Literature honors a senior thesis of high distinction in the field of Latin America. This prize is awarded by the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature and carries a monetary award of $100.

Rolling, contact History and Literature Department Administrator Jessica Shires

For more information, please contact: Rachel Murray-Crawford, Manager of Student Programs

*Department Administrators: Please submit the student’s name and email address, department, thesis advisor(s), and 2 hard copies of the nominated thesis to DRCLAS via university mail or drop off at 1730 Cambridge Street, 2nd Floor. In addition, please send an electronic version to Erin Goodman.