Program: Central American Studies, B.A.

Standard Major Option

Program Description

The Central American Studies Program has a trifold mission: to empower the large and growing Central American community in the United States by promoting academic excellence, community involvement and cultural diversity; to open spaces of global citizenship and dialogue between academia and society that contribute to the construction of a Central American transnational identity; and to promote an understanding and appreciation of the diverse Central American cultures, ethnicities, experiences and worldviews from an interdisciplinary global perspective.

Program Requirements

1. Lower Division Required Courses (12 units)

Select one of the following:

CAS 100 Introduction to Central American Studies (3)
CAS 102 The Salvadoran Experience (3)

Required Courses:

CAS 201 Survey of Central American Literature (3)
CAS 202 Survey of Central American Visual, Installation and Performance Arts (3)
CAS 270/F Fieldwork in Central American Communities (1/2)

2. Lower Division Elective (3 units)

Select one of the following:

AAS 201 Race, Racism and Critical Thinking (3)
AFRS 204 Race and Critical Thinking (3)
AFRS 252 Popular Culture and the Black World (3)
ART 112 World Arts: Africa, Oceania and the Americas (3)
CHS 202 Race, Racism and Critical Thinking (3)
URBS 250 Planning the Multiethnic City (3)

3. Upper Division Requirements (21 units)

Select seven of the following courses:

CAS 303 Central American Film (3)
CAS 309 Ancient to Pre-Modern History of the Central American People (3)
CAS 310 Modern History of Central American People (3)
CAS 311 The Central American Diaspora (3)
CAS 350 Urbanization in Central America (3)
CAS 355 Environment, Development and Social Exclusion in Central America (3)
CAS 356 Afro-Caribbean Central American Cultures and Identities (3)
CAS 364 Culture and Violence in Central America (3)
CAS 365 Changing Roles of Central American Women (3)
CAS 366 Contemporary Indigenous Peoples of Central America (3)
CAS 367 Contemporary Religious Movements in Central America (3)
CAS 368 Central American Revolutionary Movements (3)
CAS 369 Contemporary Social Movements in Central America (3)
CAS 410 The Central American Child (3)

4. Upper Division Electives (6 units)

Select two of the following:

ANTH 351 Anthropology of Middle America (3)
COMS 356 Intercultural Communication (3)
ENGL 487 Latino/a/x Literatures of the Americas (3)
GEOG 322 Latin America (3)
GEOG 350 Metropolitan Los Angeles (3)
GWS 351 Gender, Race, Class and Sexuality (3)
HIST 463 20th Century Latin America (3)
JOUR 372 Diversity and the Media (3)
POLS 332 Politics of Latin America (3)
QS 302 L.A. in Transit: Communities, Organizations and Politics (3)
SPAN 380 Latin American Civilization (3)

5. Central American Studies Seminar (3 units)

Select one of the following:

CAS 421 Central American Literature Seminar (3)
CAS 440 Research Seminar on Central American Culture (3)
CAS 460 Research Seminar on Central American Political Issues (3)

6. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

9 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: CAS 201 satisfies C2 Humanities; CAS 270/F satisfies E Lifelong Learning; and CAS 100 or CAS 102 satisfies 3 units of F Comparative Cultural Studies.

If taken, AAS 201, AFRS 204 or CHS 202 satisfies A3 Critical Thinking; CAS 309, CAS 310, CAS 368 and/or CAS 369 satisfies 3-6 units of D1 Social Sciences; GWS 351 satisfies D1 Social Sciences or F Comparative Cultural Studies; CAS 311, CAS 365, COMS 356, GEOG 322, JOUR 372 or POLS 332 satisfies F Comparative Cultural Studies. (COMS 356 or JOUR 372 also fulfills the Information Competence requirement.)

Total Units in the Major: 45

General Education Units: 39

Additional Units: 36

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Department of Central American and Transborder Studies
Chair: Yarma Velazquez Vargas
Jerome Richfield Hall (JR) 254
(818) 677-2736

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Central American Studies will be able to:

  1. Develop critical-thinking, writing and reading skills.
  2. Acquire an awareness of the complexity of the historical, social and cultural developments in Central America, as well as an understanding of the diverse Central American cultures, ethnicities, experiences and worldviews.
  3. Expand their understanding of the transnational Central American community’s experience and its economic and cultural contributions to the United States and Central America.
  4. Develop the intellectual and social foundations and leadership skills necessary for promoting social change in U.S. society, especially in relation to Central American peoples in the United States.
  5. Recognize, understand, evaluate and change the culture of exclusion that has been prevalent in Central America and the United States.

ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps

Students who have graduated with a verified Associate Degree for Transfer and have been admitted to a CSUN program that has been deemed similar will be able to complete the baccalaureate degree within 60 semester units. For additional information, see ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps.

Central American Studies - AA-T in Global Studies (2023-Present)

Central American Studies - AA-T in Social Justice Studies (2023-Present)

Central American Studies - AA-T in Spanish (2023-Present)

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