The following are a set of advising guidelines to assist students in fulfilling the requirements for a major in Latin American Studies.
Sophomores must declare a major by December 1 if they intend to go abroad in their junior fall semester, and all sophomores must declare a major by March 10. Ideally, students pick a major advisor at the same time that they declare their major. Students should consult with the faculty member they wish to be their major advisor about a plan to complete the major, and this faculty advisor should review and sign major declaration forms.
The major advisor should also be the first person with whom the student consults on all subsequent matters, including approval of major confirmation forms; planning for study abroad and consultation about which courses taken abroad can be counted toward fulfillment of the major; and any plans to amend the student's original major declaration.
All seniors are required to confirm their major by September 30. This requires a confirmation of major form, which is different from the declaration of major form. In essence, the confirmation of major form says that this is what the student actually did rather than this is what the student said she was going to do.
The major advisor should be the first person with whom the student meets to confirm her major. After such consultation, it is the major advisor who should sign the form confirming that the student completed the course of study discussed in the original major declaration form. If a student is attributing courses taken off-campus to her major, she must additionally obtain approval from one of the directors.
In general, all Wellesley students who are considering a semester or more of international study are encouraged to complete a pre-advising form early in their sophomore year to assist the Office of International Studies (OIS) in offering the most effective and efficient advice.
Qualified juniors are encouraged to spend a semester or a year in Latin America. The directors also have information to help students select appropriate sites for study in Latin America. Wellesley offers several opportunities to study and work in Latin America.
Latin American studies majors intending to go abroad should meet with their major advisors and develop a tentative plan for completing the major, including the courses that the student may wish to take abroad. Depending on the year of the student, this may entail either completing or amending the student's major declaration before she goes abroad. If there are any questions about the likelihood that a planned course should be included, the major advisor should contact the directors.
Study-abroad courses are not officially approved in advance, nor are courses ever approved for credit until after the course is completed. Major advisors can advise their students about which courses are more than likely to count toward fulfillment of the major requirements. Some crucial matters for the student to know include:
Wellesley does give credit for internships. At times, students have used information gathered from an internship experience as part of the research for research papers in classes that they later take, including individual independent projects (250 or 350). In order to do so, the student will need to make arrangements with the professor who teaches a regular course or with a professor whose own expertise is in the same broad area as the internship and who is willing to work with the student to design a 250 or 350 that she would take when she is back on campus.
If the student plans to be away all or part of her junior year, she should begin thinking about whether or not she wishes to write a Latin American Studies honors thesis--and with whom she might work--before she leaves. Honors thesis proposals are due in the spring of a student's junior year, regardless of whether the student is abroad at the time that they are due; students studying abroad may submit their honors thesis proposals to the department electronically.
Official approval of each course taken away from Wellesley does not happen until after the student returns, nor does assignation of credit. After the course is completed, students who wish to use study-abroad courses to fulfill major, minor, or distribution credit need to fill out a #Transfer of Credit form for each course and each requirement.
The Registrar , rather than the faculty advisor or the directors, then sets the amount of credit for courses taken somewhere other than Wellesley (the Registrar's office offers guidelines about which courses can and cannot be transferred for credit). It is only after the Registrar has determined the number of units for each course taken away from Wellesley that the directors formally approve each course as counting (or not counting) toward completing the Latin American studies major. At that point, it is often helpful for the student to provide more detailed course outlines and reading lists in case the directors need to see them in order to evaluate the course's relevance to the major.
The student will need the proper number of units for the major (for example: a major who wishes to transfer a course from another university might receive only .8 Wellesley credits for it). So it is crucial that in the pre-study abroad advising process the student checks to see if there is any experience about the number of units that have been assigned to courses from her planned school in the past.
The only route to honors in the major is writing a thesis and passing an oral examination. To be admitted to the thesis program, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 in all work in the major field above the 100-level; the department may petition on her behalf if her GPA in the major is between 3.0 and 3.5. Students who are interested in writing an honors thesis in Latin American Studies should submit a proposal to the faculty committee by the end of their junior year. The proposal should include a description of the thesis project, a sample bibliography and a copy of the student’s transcript. It is required that the student has already completed fundamental coursework in the area in which she proposes to do her honors work.
- A student may take no more than four units in the Latin American studies major away from Wellesley.
- The Latin American studies program does not transfer credit at the 300-level from any other institution, including MIT.
- Courses worth less than 1 credit at other institutions will not be counted towards completion of the major.