Latin American Studies

  • Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Minor

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    A college education is more than just taking courses. Meet new people, apply your skills and stretch beyond your comfort zone. Make your education an experience.

    Opportunities in Complementary Programs


    • Backyard Laboratory: Tenderfoot (aka “W”) Mountain, just one mile away from campus, is home to structures dating to the Paleo Indian period—more than 10,000 years ago. Western has conducted field schools on the site since 2001.
    • Research: Anthropology students have many opportunities to research in the field and have access to state-of-the-art technology and sites. All students are encouraged to develop and present their own creative and relevant research projects at conferences. 
    • Study Abroad: Travel to India, Ecuador, Prague, London, Italy or Belize through Extended Studies.


    • Gallery Exhibits: Students have opportunities to display their work in numerous shows, exhibits, convocations and galas—on campus and in the community.
    • Pathfinder Magazine: An annual publication for student creative work.
    • Student Art League: A branch of the Council for Creative expression, the Student Art League is dedicated to providing visual arts, experiences, professional development, educational opportunities and outreach for Art students.


    • Capstone Experience: Senior economics majors incorporate the tools learned throughout the program to engage in an in-depth analysis of increasing economic inequality.
    • Internships: Recent students have interned with local government agencies and businesses to analyze current economic data.
    • Model United Nations: Compete in the National Model United Nations event in New York City.
    • Study Abroad: Experience Harlaxton College in the English Midlands.


    • Field Experience: Seniors travel to historical locations, such as the Sand Creek Massacre and Bent’s Old Fort national historical sites to study the role of commemoration and memory.
    • History Honor Society: Join Iota Nu Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, one of Western’s oldest academic honor societies.
    • History League: Sponsors activities including a book club and catapult construction.
    • Internships: Land an internship with the Crested Butte Heritage Museum.
    • Study Abroad: Travel to India, Ecuador, Prague, London, Italy or Belize through Extended Studies.

    Politics & Government

    • Events: Global Justice Film Series, visiting speakers, political debates and voter registration.
    • Internships: Students intern with political candidates, elected officials, nonprofit organizations and legal professionals.
    • Mock Trial: Introduces students to real criminal or civil cases to prepare for trial after graduation.
    • Model United Nations: Competes in the National Model United Nations event in New York City.
    • Politics Clubs: A student-led club that tackles political topics, provides professional development opportunities and works to bring dynamic debate to campus.


    • Multicultural Center: Immerse with students from many cultures on campus and participate in community service and organizing cultural events.
    • Volunteering: Students serve at Gunnison County’s Multicultural Resources and Project Hope to provide support for local Spanish-speaking individuals searching for additional resources to succeed in life.


    Institutional Scholarships

    Common Scholarships

    Western offers approximately 70 common scholarships for which a wide variety of students are eligible (e.g., locals, veterans, transfers). Apply for any number of these common scholarships using Western’s Common Scholarship Application, which is due April 1. For more information, visit

    Early Action Credit

    If a student is accepted to Western by Nov. 1 and qualifies for a merit scholarship, the student will receive an additional $500 for the first year. Use our Net Price Calculator to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

    Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

    Western Colorado University alumni can nominate prospective students for a $500 scholarship ($250 per semester) for first year only. Application deadline is typically June 1. For more information, visit

    Neighboring States Program

    Students with a permanent address from one of the seven contiguous neighboring states to Colorado who have demonstrated financial need are automatically considered for a special $1,000 per year grant, totaling $4,000 over four years.

    The Western Neighboring States program can be added to WUE, CP or merit scholarships. So, if you are a permanent resident of one of those seven states—and show financial need—you are eligible.

    For more information about the Neighboring States program, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Presidential Promise

    The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

    For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential promise, visit

    Tuition Discount Programs

    Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

    For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

    Western Merit Scholarship

    Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student's GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship. 

    For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit

    Faculty & Staff


    Brian Bernhardt, Ph.D. headshot
    Associate Professor of Politics & Government
    Phone: 970.943.3025
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 205
    Philip L. Crossley, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of Geography
    Phone: 970.943.2800
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 217
    Heather Thiessen-Reily, Ph.D. headshot
    Professor of History; Director of Master in Gallery Management & Exhibits Specialization
    Phone: 970.943.7128
    Office Location: Kelley Hall 225
  • Pair with any bachelor's degree
    • Minor

    The minor in Latin American Studies provides students an opportunity to study this field from many angles. By employing the tools of various disciplines—including art, history, Spanish, geography, politics, economics and anthropology—students can begin the process of understanding Latin American people and nations. The increasing interdependence of the Americas demands that students gain exposure to the issues and forces related to the constantly changing relationships between the United States and Latin America.

    Sample Courses

    • Art of Mesoamerica and the Andean Region of South America
    • Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean
    • History of Latin America
    • Beginning Spanish I & II
    • Cultural Ecology
    • International Economics and Globalization
    • Comparative Politics