The Undergraduate Certificate Program in Latina/o Media and Journalism Studies is Latijam’s curricular pillar. It is an interdisciplinary program sponsored by the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Department of English and Comparative Literature through its Latina/o Studies Minor and Program.

To apply for the Certificate, please submit a resume and a one-page letter with the following information:

  1. Your status (e.g., junior),
  2. Your GPA
  3. Your expected graduation date
  4. Your JOMC specialization (e.g., advertising/PR, reporting, multimedia)
  5. Your double major/minor, if any
  6. A list of the courses accepted for the Certificate that (a) you have already taken and/or (b) that you are taking the semester in which you are applying.

Please bring or mail you application to Carroll Hall 359, Campus Box 3365, School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do students benefit from holding the Certificate?

The Certificate program enhances the educational experience of Journalism and Mass Communication majors by preparing them to live and work in bilingual and multicultural environments. The program provides students with a knowledge base about U.S. Latinos, theories of translation, and Latino media and journalism. It also equips them with translation and Spanish-language composition skills. Therefore, Certificate students improve their proficiency in Spanish language as well as their effectiveness to communicate with Latino and Latina audiences.

The Certificate is noted in the graduates’ transcripts, adding value to their degree and offering an advantage in the current competitive job market. They hold an additional credential that is likely to open career opportunities in bilingual, English- and Spanish-language media. There is a dire need of journalists and strategic communication professionals who can create culturally sensitive messages. Likewise, these professionals are needed in the Spanish-language and bilingual media. While English-language media have cut jobs, Spanish-language and bilingual media are thriving.

Who can apply?

Any degree-seeking, residential student majoring or minoring in Journalism and Mass Communication can apply. The program is ideal for students pursuing a second major in Spanish, or a minor in either Spanish or Latina/o Studies. However, a double major or a minor in such areas is not a requirement for the Certificate. Prospective students must demonstrate Spanish-language proficiency at the fifth-semester level before being accepted in the program. This requirement can be satisfied by completion of an accepted course (SPAN 266) or by an interview exam. To be in good standing, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all Certificate courses.

How and when can students apply?

Students can apply during the fall and spring semesters. The fall deadline is Oct. 2 and the spring deadline is Feb. 2 of each year. To apply for the Certificate please submit a resume and a one-page letter with the following information: your status (e.g., junior), your GPA, your expected graduation date, your JOMC sequence and your double major/minor, if any. Also, include a list of the courses accepted for the Certificate that you have already taken or that you are taking the semester in which you are applying. For further information contact Dr. Julia Cardona-Mack at

How many credit hours are required?

Students must complete 9-12 credit hours to receive the Certificate. However, ONE 3-credit-hour course (and ONLY ONE) counting towards the Certificate may also count towards other programs (e.g, a major in Journalism and Mass Communication, a major in Spanish, a minor in Spanish, or a minor in Latina/o Studies). Students may pursue the Certificate concurrently with the above programs.

What are the required courses?

  • Advanced Spanish proficiency. This requirement may be satisfied by successfully completing one of the following: (a) Proficiency examination, (b) SPAN 326 Spanish Grammar and Composition for Heritage Learners, (c) SPAN 335 United States Hispanic Community or (d) SPAN 375 The Spanish of the US.
  • SPAN 369, Introduction to Translation.
  • Introductory course to the study of Latina/os, which may be fulfilled by MUSI 147 Introduction to Latina/o American Music, HIST 241 (formerly LTAM 291) History of Latina/os in the United States, ENG 364 Introduction to Latina/o Studies, GEO 430 Social Geography: Global Migrations Local Impacts, or GEO 452 Mobile Geographies: Migration.
  • JOMC 443 Latina/o Media Studies

Course descriptions

MUSI 147: Introduction to Latin/a/o American Music. How do we explain the significance of mixing jazz, rock, and hip hop with samba and maracatu in Brazil? How do Andean ethics of community play themselves out in musical performance in the highlands, and how do these ethics change among migrants living in the cities of Peru? What do songs about 9/11 as performed by musicians in the Andes and Mexico teach us about their own experiences with terrorism? Is salsa Puerto Rican, Cuban or Nuyorican? What is transnationalism, and how has it shaped contemporary Latin American popular music like reggaeton? What kinds of Latin music are accessible in North Carolina, and what can these music scenes teach us about the music and cultures of Latinas/os and Latin Americans in the United States? This course will introduce students to Latin American music and Latina/o music of the United States. We will also learn about this music’s historical, cultural, social, and political significance by addressing the questions listed above and others like them. We will do this by listening to, reading about, researching, and even playing some of the musical traditions that encompass South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the United States. Instructor: David García. Fall 2011.

HIST 241 (formerly LTAM 291): History of Latinas/os in the United States. This lecture course examines the historical, social, political, economic, and cultural experiences of Latinas/os in the United States. The main emphasis will be on Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans but attention is given to other Latina/o ethnic groups. A comparative historical perspective will help explain the contrasting experiences of Latinas/os. Our readings and discussions will take a broad historical perspective, including links with topics such as the legacies of American colonialism and conquest immigration; community formation; the impact of the Great Depression on Latinas/os; Latina/o lives during the World War II and postwar periods; the 1960s civil rights struggles and subsequent nationalist movements; constructions of race, ethnicity, and gender; U.S. neo-imperialism; and cultural commodification by Latinas/os in the contemporary period. We will also be investigating those historical periods and issues that have attracted controversy or new methods and findings, and which therefore offer rewarding oportunities for research and writing. Instructor: Zaragosa Vargas.

SPAN 265 Spanish Language and Culture for the Professions
All-skills course geared toward the language of various professions including business, journalism/mass communications, medicine, and law. Emphasizes cultural knowledge to enhance professional work in the U.S. Hispanic community. Pre-requisite: SPAN 204 (if you have taken or are taking SPAN 300, your level is too high to enroll in SPAN 265).

SPAN 266 Conversation for Heritage Learners (native speakers) or 255 Conversation I. A beginning conversation course, generally taught by native speakers. The main goal of the course is to build students’ oral proficiency while increasing their awareness of Hispanic culture. Emphasis is also placed on building vocabulary and addressing problematic grammatical structures. Class size is limited to allow each student to participate. Span 255 is not open to native speakers. Spanish 266 is reserved for native speakers (Heritage Learners). Prerequisite: Spanish 204 or equivalent.

SPAN 322 Spanish for Journalism and Mass Communications. All-skills course with review of grammar and extensive writing and speaking practice. Vocabulary, readings, and activities geared toward the language of journalism and mass communications within the context of the U.S. Hispanic community. Pre-requisite: SPAN 265.

SPAN 326 Spanish Grammar and Composition for Heritage Speakers. Study of language and society from the perspective of Spanish speakers in the United States, focusing on vocabulary building through situational practice, review of basic grammar, and practice in reading and writing. Prerequisite: SPAN 255 or 266.

SPAN 369 Introduces basic theory and practice of translation through a dual approach of conceptual readings and classroom discussion and workshops in interdisciplinary fields. Emphasis on increasing competency in reading and writing in the target language and the cultural role of the translator as mediator and negotiator of meaning.

ENGL 364 Introduction to Latina/o Studies. This discussion course introduces students to the transdisciplinary field of Latina/o Studies, a field that generally combines the humanities and social sciences. Given this transdisciplinarity, the course contents will draw from histories, memoirs, theoretical essays, fiction, films and/or documentaries, music, and media. The course will begin by contextualizing the historical experiences of different Latina/o groups, including Chicanas/os, Puerto Ricans, Dominican Americans, and Cuban Americans. It will investigate what it means to be Latina/o in the United States, critically examining the formation of, and differentiation between, group labels such as “Latina/o” and “Hispanic.” It will familiarize students with some of the major issues affecting the field of Latina/o Studies, such as border issues, immigration and migration, labor, and national allegiance(s). In addition to being transdisciplinary, the course will be intersectional, as it will encourage students to think critically about the ways race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality shape discourses and representations of Latinas/os in the United States. Instructors: Laura Halperin and María DeGuzmán.

JOMC 443 Latina/o Media Studies. An introductory course to Latino media studies that covers three major areas. First, it analyzes the media portrayal of Latinos in the U.S. mainstream media. Second, it examines the media catering to U.S. Latinos, including both transnational media (e.g., Mexican telenovelas) and local ethnic media in the continental United States (e.g., New York’s newspaper El Diario-La Prensa). Third, the course explores the way in which U.S. Latino audiences use the multiple media offerings available to them. Instructor: Lucila Vargas

GEO 430: Social Geography: “Global Migrations, Local Impacts: Urbanization and Migration in the United States.” Immigration has been a defining feature of U.S. cities since their inception. A rich academic history has documented and theorized the experiences of immigrants in urban areas. Significant increases in immigration to the United States over the last fifteen years, however, make this topic particularly salient. In recent decades, U.S. cities have been transformed by unprecedented rates of migration, particularly from Latin America. Intense conflicts have arisone over urban space, access to social goods (for example, housing, healthcare, and education), and, in some cases, there has been a re-working of racial hierarchies. At the same time, however, cities are places of possibility for migrants where they can often enjoy upward mobility, political freedoms, and exciting cultural exchanges. This course provides students with an opportunity to explore these contradictory experiences, drawing on a variety of theoretical and empirical sources. This course is designed for advanced undergraduates and Master’s students in Geography and Latina/o Studies, though students from related disciplines, such as Sociology, City & Regional Planning, Political Science, and Anthropology, are welcome. There are no formal prerequisites for this class, though familiarity with urban studies, economic sociology, urban politics, and/or migration theory would be an asset. Instructor: Nina Martin.

GEO 452: “Mobile Geographies (Migration).” This course focuses on Latinos and Latinas who have migrated to North Carolina in recent years as well as explores local social change, transnationality, translocality, and related theoretical concerns. How are the politics of identity and place-identity caught up in local experiences? Do Latinos/as establish parallel worlds in the rural South? Do geographies of work determine the pattern of settlement for new migrants? These questions will be contextualized by examining historical and geographical changes in global and regional migratory impulses. Instructor: Altha Cravey.

Who administers the Certificate Program?

The Program is housed at the JOMC School and the Associate Director is Dr. Julia Cardona-Mack (Department of Romance Languages and Literatures). There is a Steering Committee composed by Dr. María deGuzmán, Director of the Latina/o Studies Minor and Program, and other faculty who teach the required courses for the Certificate.

Why is the Certificate Program important for UNC?
Because the Certificate Program:

  • Presents journalism majors with the possibility to better prepare themselves for a career in a rapidly expanding area of media communication.
  • Establishes the first undergraduate JOMC specialization in Latino Journalism and Media Studies in the South East, making UNC one of the very few universities that offer such specialization in the nation.
  • Creates the first-ever curricular collaboration of the JOMC School with both the Romance Languages and Literatures Department, and the English and Comparative Literatures Department.
  • Furthers the goals of UNC’s diversity plans in general and of the sponsoring academic units in particular.
  • Advances the university’s internationalization strategic objective of preparing students to live in a global and multiethnic society, especially to its specific goal of “expand(ing) courses and programs that enhance students’ knowledge of the world, including foreign language instruction” (Board of Governors Internationalization Strategy).
  • Contributes to the university’s commitment to serving the state of North Carolina through public service and engagement. Two of the Certificate’s courses are service-learning (APPLES) classes and most of the remaining courses include experiential-learning components that require students to serve Latinas and Latinos from underserved groups.