Because of the geographic location and unique cultural history of New Mexico, the University of New Mexico (UNM) has emphasized Latin American Studies since the early 1930s. In 1979, the Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII) was founded to coordinate Latin American programs on campus. Designated a National Resource Center (NRC) by the U.S. Department of Education, the LAII offers academic degrees, supports research, provides development opportunities for faculty, and coordinates an outreach program that reaches diverse constituents. In addition to the Latin American Studies (LAS) degrees offered, the LAII supports Latin American studies in departments and professional schools across campus by awarding student fellowships and providing funds for faculty and curriculum development.
The LAII's mission is to create a stimulating environment for the production and dissemination of knowledge of Latin America and Iberia at UNM. We believe our goals are best pursued by efforts to build upon the insights of more than one academic discipline. We support research from the humanities and social sciences, as well as the natural sciences, health sciences, and other professional schools. Therefore when allocating materials and human resources, we give special consideration to broadly interdisciplinary projects that promote active collaboration from different schools, colleges, and/or departments.
The University of New Mexico has been granting Latin American Studies undergraduate and graduate degrees since 1941. The Latin American Studies (LAS) program is administered by the Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII) in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, which confers LAS degrees. The LAS program draws on UNM's cross-campus excellence in research, scholarship and teaching on Latin America, and is dedicated to advancing knowledge in, and service to, the field.
The LAS program is an interdisciplinary program that grants the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. In addition to the M.A. in Latin American Studies, the program has established dual degree options with five programs (Business Administration, Community & Regional Planning, Education, Law, and Public Health) housed in professional schools. Faculty and courses linked to the LAS program represent 15 departments and 7 schools/colleges from across campus.