Latin American & Latinx Studies Major Resources

The Department of Latin American and Latinx Studies (LLS) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is dedicated to multi-disciplinary teaching and scholarship in the areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, Latinx communities in the United States, and race and ethnicity in the United States. The curriculum is taught by faculty with expertise in a variety of disciplines including criminal justice in the United States, international criminal justice, law, history, culture, psychology, sociology, human rights, politics, and literature.

The major prepares you for a variety of careers in the public or private sector. Our department also has special initiatives to prepare students interested in law school and graduate school. Alums with this major are pursuing a wide-range of careers, including but not limited to

  • Law
  • Public policy
  • Education
  • Community service
  • Social work, counseling
  • Immigrants’ rights and advocacy

Here you will find:

  • Key information about your major
  • How and when to meet with your major advisor
  • Planning tools that will help you track your progress in the major
  • Ways to explore career opportunities related to the LLS major

Take a few moments to look at the information below. It will help you plan effectively and avoid surprises during your studies at John Jay. Please visit the Department of Latin American & Latinx Studies website for information, resources, and opportunities!

LLS Requirements

You are responsible for the major requirements that were in effect when you declared the major. To confirm the requirements you should be following, go to the Undergraduate Bulletin for that academic year. For example, if you declared the Latin American and Latinx Studies major in Fall 2015 or Spring 2016, you would click on the 2015-2016 Undergraduate Bulletin. If you declared the major and then left the College for more than one full semester, you’re responsible for the major requirements in effect when you return, if they have changed. Not sure when you declared the major? Find out here.

Below, find the Undergraduate Bulletin that was in effect when you declared the major.

Many LLS courses can be applied toward completion of your General Education (Gen Ed) requirements.  Each of the following LLS courses can count toward your major requirements and toward your General Education requirements:


World Cultures: AFR/LLS/HIS 263, LLS 227

U.S. Experience in its Diversity:  LLS 124, LLS 241

Creative Expression: LLS/MUS 110, DRA/LLS/SPA 217, LLS 223

Individual & Society: LLS 247, LLS 255

College Option 100-level Justice: LLS 100

College Option 300-level Justice: LLS 322, LLS 325, LLS 341, LLS 363, LLS 364

Learning from the Past: LLS 130

Major Advising

LLS major advising is being done remotely in Fall 2024. Students can email Dr. Brian Montes ( ), the Latin American and Latinx Studies Major Coordinator, and he will arrange to advise them via email or Skype/Zoom if desired. All Latin American and Latinx Studies majors should be advised in the major at least once a semester.

Dr. Brian Montes
8.63.08 NB

You may be assigned another LLS professor to serve as your advisor.  If you do not know who your LLS major advisor is, please consult Dr. Montes.

LLS students can email Dr. Brian Montes ( ), and he will arrange to advise them via email or Skype/Zoom if desired.

Sophomores with 45-59 credits may have a hold on their registration. The hold will be removed when they have a major advising appointment with Dr. Brian Montes or another LLS faculty member recommended by Dr. Montes. This discussion will encourage wise planning and allow students to ask any questions they may have about the major. How do you know if you have a major hold? Go to CUNYfirst and complete the following steps:

  1. Check the Holds box of your CUNYfirst Student Center. If "Advisement Required" appears, click on “details.”
  1. Click on “Advisement Required.”
  1. See which type of advisement you need. If you must see a major advisor, then make a major advising appointment following the steps preferred by this department.

Plan Ahead: Graduate on Time

All LLS majors are urged to see their LLS advisor each semester.  With the support and advice of your LLS advisor, you should create an academic plan that maps out the courses you need to take to complete the major.

LLS major course requirements are divided into seven parts. Be sure to examine carefully what you need to take to meet the requirements in each part:

  • Under Part One of the major, note that LLS 242, U.S. Foreign Policy in Latin America, is a core course.  It has as prerequisites ENG 101, and GOV/POL 101 or permission of the section instructor.
  • Regarding Part Two of the major, all LLS majors should plan to take LLS 315 (Research Methods in Latin American and Latinx Studies) in the fall semester of their final year. This will enable students to complete Part 6 (LLS 425) in the spring.
  • Under Part Three, you will select one of three options—a study abroad course, a fieldwork/internship experience, or an independent research project.
  • Part Four of the major requires one 200-level course in Spanish or Portuguese. In order to complete this requirement on time, be sure to establish the 100 level language foundation early (POR 101-102 or SPA 101-102 or SPA 111-112). Note: Students may be exempt from taking a 200-level course in Spanish or Portuguese if they have taken an equivalent 200-level course at another college, scored sufficiently high on the CLEP exam, or scored sufficiently high on the placement exam offered by the Modern Language Center at John Jay (212-484-1140).
  • In Part Five of the major, you will choose between Track A: Latin America and  Track B: U.S. Latinx. See the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information on each track.
  • For Part Six, you will complete the required Capstone Course LLS 425 (Senior Seminar in Latin American and Latinx Studies: Issues of Justice and Injustice).
  • In order to be eligible for Part Seven (LLS Honors Option course LLS 489), you must earn at least a 3.5 grade point average in the LLS major and an overall cumulative GPA of at least 3.2. Eligible students are encouraged to take this course, as honors courses enhance your academic record.
  • Some course credits in the LLS major might also count towards another major or minor.  However, you may only count two LLS courses toward fulfilling requirements in another major or minor.
  • In order to graduate, you will need at least 120 credits with a 2.0 overall GPA and a 2.0 GPA in the major. Taking an excessive number of credits in any semester can result in lowering your GPA, so be sure to take a reasonable number of credits during the fall and spring semesters. Consider winter and summer courses to avoid taking an excessive number of credits in any semester.

For Part 3 of the major, you will select one of three options—a study abroad course, a fieldwork/internship experience, or an independent research project. This part of the major is intended to expose students to a unique experience outside the usual in-class learning. Many students opt for a study abroad class or the internship course. Please consult your LLS Advisor for more information about any of the following options.

Study Abroad
The LLS department regularly sponsors study abroad courses, and scholarships are available for students to travel abroad.  The department sponsors study abroad programs in many Latin American countries, including Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Mexico. For general information about study abroad programs and scholarship opportunities, see the International Studies and Programs Office webpage.

Fieldwork (Internship)
We encourage you to gain hands-on experience in the field you wish to enter eventually. The LLS 321 Fieldwork/Internship course (4 credits) helps build your résumé; employers, graduate schools, and law schools look for paid and unpaid internship experiences in their selection process.

Independent Research
You will have the opportunity to design your own independent study with the guidance of a supervising instructor. LLS 489* is the course number that allows you to register for LLS independent research once you’ve gained permission of an instructor, the LLS Department, and the Office of Undergraduate Studies. See your major advisor to discuss any questions or concerns related to this opportunity.

*Note that LLS 489 will become LLS 389 by the spring semester of 2018

When developing your academic plan, be sure to make your college studies your first priority. Many students struggle with balancing their studies with work off-campus. If you must work, try to find a paid internship that will help you build your résumé and give you experience in your field of interest.  Check out CUNY Service Corps to find out more about paid internships. Another way to keep your focus on doing well academically is to find work on campus. Please consult your LLS advisor for more information.

  • DegreeWorks degree audit - Use this online planning tool to track your overall progress toward graduation. You will see which of your general education and major requirements are completed, in progress, or still needed.  Refer to the DegreeWorks FAQs to better understand how to use this helpful tool. Note: Confirm the accuracy of your degree audit with a general advisor and with a major advisor.
  • LLS Major Checklist - Fill out this printable worksheet to keep track of which major requirements you have completed and which ones you still need.  Note: This checklist is not a substitute for seeing your LLS major advisor. Your major advisor can provide you with information and advice not included in the checklist.
  • Sample Four Year Plan - See our Track A Sample Four Year Plan and our Track B Sample Four Year Plan for an example of how you could complete all your degree requirements (major, general education, electives) and graduate in four years! Remember that this sample plan shows just one possible way to combine your requirements. Transfer students in particular should work with advisors to determine a plan that works best for them.

A General Academic Advisor will confirm what general academic requirements you still need, make suggestions about smart course planning that will help you graduate without delays, discuss your interest in adding a minor or second major, inform you about opportunities such as study abroad, discuss general questions and concerns, and make helpful referrals. Visit the Academic Advisement Center's webpage for more information.

LLS and Careers

Listen to Professor Jose Luis Morin talk about all the opportunities and career preparation that the Latin American and Latinx Studies major offers students, whatever their professional goals may be!


The LLS major equips students with analytic tools for deep interpretation and critical thinking, information skills for self-guided research, and the communications skills essential for workplace success. It also provides our students access to experiential learning and many opportunities—internships, study abroad courses, law school preparation, and more--to provide students with the intellectual start-up capital for careers in our 21st century, globalized economic order. The LLS major can be a great foundation for a wide range of jobs. Some career possibilities to consider include:

  • Careers in law, education, social work and other fields providing services to the public
  • Public service agencies at the city, state, and federal levels
  • Nonprofit sector positions with advocacy organizations and community service agencies
  • Careers in the international sector
  • Private sector firms

The Center for Career and Professional Development is a great resource for all questions related to job searches, internships, and career preparation. CCPD staff are available to meet individually with students and alumni in L72.00 New Building. To request a 45-minute counseling appointment, log on to John Jay Careers Online. 15-minute drop-in sessions are available all day Mon-Fri. (Stop by in person earlier the same day to schedule a drop-in session.)

Remember that graduating with a low GPA may close the doors to many career options later on. Maximize your chances of getting the job you want or getting into the graduate degree program or law school of your choice by maintaining a high GPA.

The LLS department sponsors a wide variety of opportunities to assist LLS majors and minors in pursuing their career goals. Internship and fieldwork opportunities are available to students in our major and minor, particularly through the 4-credit LLS 321 fieldwork course. In addition, consider the following programs:

Unaccompanied Latin American Minor Project (U-LAMP) engages our students in hands-on paid internship experiences assisting children from Latin America fleeing violence and persecution and the attorneys representing them.  Students who intern in this project find this experience especially valuable if pursuing careers in fields such as law, social work, immigration, public policy and education.  For more information, contact:
Director: Professor Isabel Martinez, / 212-237-8674

Rossana Rosado Fellows Program, provides students in the LLS major and minor with unique paid internship opportunities in a broad range of fields as well as course credit over two semesters.  This program also offers opportunity grants for LLS students in need.  For more information, contact:
Director: Professor José Luis Morín, / 212-393-6481

Students interested in pursuing graduate school in the LLS field should speak with their major advisor and other LLS faculty for perspective and guidance. The LLS Department also encourages students interested in graduate school to apply for the following programs:

The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program encourages low-income and first-generation students (as well as students from underrepresented populations) to pursue graduate study, providing academically enriching experiences and mentoring to prepare for graduate school admission and doctoral study. For more information, see the program description and contact:
Program Assistant: Rachel Rosado / (212) 237-8765
Associate Director: Dr. Ernest Lee, / (212) 237-8760

The Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program, in collaboration with St. John's University School of Law, offers a unique and comprehensive program to prepare students to apply for and succeed in law school. For more information, contact:
Director: Professor Jodie Roure, / 212-237-8672
Associate Director: Professor José Luis Morín, / 212-393-6481
Assistant Director: Gabriela Ramírez Vargas, / 212-237-8710 / 8.62.02NB

The University of Houston Law Center Pre-Law Pipeline Program, in conjunction with the University of Houston Law Center, is another program that provides comprehensive preparation for students interested in law school. For more information, contact:
Director: Professor Jodie Roure, / 212-237-8672
Associate Director: Professor José Luis Morín, / 212-393-6481
Assistant Director: Gabriela Ramírez Vargas, / 212-237-8710 / 8.62.02NB

Below is a sample of what recent graduates in the LLS major are doing today:

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“In the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Department, I found great mentors who truly care about students' personal and academic growth. The courses I took helped me better understand my own world and that of those around me. Expect the shared laughs to get you through the semester, their support to get you through the year, and their high expectations to get you beyond.”

Myriam Santamaría, Class of 2017
Corps Member
Teach For America, Miami-Dade


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“After obtaining my Associate Degree, I transferred to John Jay College and took “Latina/o Struggles for Civil Rights and Social Justice” my junior year. That course opened my eyes to the reality of race relations in the United States. I immediately changed my major to Latin American and Latina/o Studies. The faculty in the Latin American and Latina/o Studies Department at John Jay provided me with a solid foundation for a career in public service. I am truly appreciative of the department and of my time spent in the major.”

Fernando Andrade, Class of 2017
Paralegal/Community Navigator
New York Legal Assistance Group, New York, NY


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“I am so grateful to have been taught and mentored by the faculty in the Latin American and Latina/0 Studies Department at John Jay.  They believe in nurturing future generations of leaders. The department became my home. It is where I came to understanding the struggles and sacrifices of my ancestors; it is where I solidified my identity and built life-long relationships; and it is through the department that I have begun my path to working in state government.”

Claudia Mendoza, Class of 2016
Special Assistant to New York Secretary of State
New York Department of State