Mission Statement

The Department of Central American and Transborder Studies 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.

Academic Advisement

The Department of Central American and Transborder Studies supports and helps students select the program and courses that best satisfy their needs and interests. Contact the department chair at (818) 677-2736 for information on advisement office hours or for an appointment.


Central Americans are one of the fastest-growing ethnic and transborder groups in the United States. Having intimate knowledge and access to this complex and diverse community gives students vast opportunities to work in a variety of fields, as well as making students with a B.A. in Central American Studies attractive for future employers. It gives students hands-on experience in the community and provides them with practical credentials and professional training to thrive in a dynamically changing world.

A bachelor’s degree in Central American Studies presents an opportunity to explore, critically examine and understand the diversity of human interests, and it develops a network of Central American specialists. The degree offers knowledge that enhances local, regional and transborder experiences, which include politics, nonprofit organizing, education, social counseling, journalism, justice studies and immigration, indigenous rights, medicine, business and entrepreneurship, gender studies, arts, entertainment and film. Completing a major, double major or a minor in Central American Studies is also an excellent opportunity to explore advanced graduate careers.

Clubs and Societies

Students Changing the World

The Central American student organizations CAUSA (Central American United Student Association) and TECUS (Transborder Experiences of Central American University Students) strive for the growing Central American community in the United States to succeed in the world of higher education and to prepare an influential vanguard of future leaders who will impact the changing global, political and economic arenas. Their objective is also to raise and promote awareness of the Central American community at CSUN, in the Los Angeles area and the Mesoamerican region. The student organizations maintain a collaborative partnership with other sister organizations on- and off-campus, work on student recruitment and community support, and play a significant role in the formation of student leadership.

Central American Research and Policy Institute (CARPI)

Director: Douglas Carranza
(818) 677-6487


  • To generate and disseminate research information, analysis and social perspective on issues affecting Central Americans.
  • To work toward developing students’ research, methodological and analytical skills and to directly involve them in documenting and analyzing their history and experience.
  • To actively promote and encourage interdisciplinary investigations and social policy articulation.
  • To suggest alternative policies aimed at improving the quality of life, civic participation and educational development of Central Americans in general and the Central American students at CSUN in particular.

The Central American Research and Policy Institute (CARPI) was established in 2001 for the purpose of developing research, policy and knowledge supporting the socioeconomic, cultural and civic development of the transnational Central American community in the United States and Central America. Policy development and academic research include issues of common concern, such as immigration, civil society, economic development and cultural identity of Central Americans. The research sponsored by CARPI is:

  1. Undertaken by faculty mentors, experts in the discipline and trained students.
  2. Focused on concrete issues in the lives of the community.
  3. Aimed at helping the community understand itself and the challenges and changes it faces.
  4. The basis for viable proposals for community advancement in the future.

CARPI brings faculty, students and community together as partners and participants in creating and disseminating the knowledge that will enable the Central American community to live up to its tremendous potential.


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