Duke student with black-billed mountain toucan in Colombia
Duke student with Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Colombia

When pursuing the graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean studies, you will gain cross-cultural fluency, deepen your knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean, learn to develop moral arguments about issues of social justice in the region, and prepare to become active agents of social change in academics, business, non-governmental organizations and many other careers.

The certificate program offers a wide variety of interdisciplinary courses, academic conferences, language training, and access to visiting scholars from this region of the world to expose students to the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Graduate students affiliated with any Duke department or professional school are encouraged to document their specialization in the region by earning a certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in conjunction with their master's or doctoral degree. 

Certificate requirements

Six graduate courses related to Latin America and/or the Caribbean: Successful completion of 6 full credit graduate or professional courses. These courses may be selected from a pre-approved course list each term. Students may request special approval for other courses to count towards this requirement as long as 50% of the graded content deals with Latin America and/or the Caribbean. Introductory language courses cannot count towards meeting this requirement.

Language proficiency: Students must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or a less commonly taught language such as Yucatec Maya, K'iche' Maya, Haitian Creole, etc. Language proficiency can be demonstrated by proof of being a native speaker, evidence of extensive fieldwork in the language in question, language certificates or exams, documentaton of language course-work, etc.

Thesis approval: Students are required to have a thesis or departmental equivalent on a Latin American or Caribbean topic approved by their advisor. At the time of certification, you will be asked to submit to us the title of your thesis as well as a description of the content. It must demonstrate substantial Latin American or Caribbean content.

Students must complete the application process by submitting the application form at least one semester prior to their graduation date (late November if graduating the following May.) Deadline is final day of drop/add final semester.

In addition, in the final semester before graduation (no later than February 1 if graduating in May), students must “apply” to graduate with this certificate in Duke Hub.  This should be done at the same time you “apply” to graduate with your degree.

Around the same time we will also contact you to request the information we need to certify you, including list of courses you are counting toward the certificate, documentation of language proficiency, and title and description of thesis or departmental equivalent.


Email the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), patrick.semmler@
with any questions.