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The LACS certificate is intended both to encourage cross-disciplinary, multicultural, and multilingual scholarship and teaching as well as facilitate formal recognition of this aspect of graduate training. In a way that degree programs often do not, a certificate may signal to potential employers – departments, programs, research institutions, or the private sector – a candidate’s experience with intellectual, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity as well as his or her openness to different perspectives, methods, and professional skills. LACS understands these tools as providing a critical advantage in graduate students’ success at Northwestern and beyond. This credential appears on students’ transcripts.

Students who express interest in the LACS certificate will be asked to chart out a plan of study with the Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Lina Britto,, in consultation with the student’s departmental advisor.


Students must take five letter-graded (A, B, C) courses authorized for Graduate School credit. Note that the Graduate School allows students to count courses toward both a certificate and degree.

Courses must be distributed across the following three disciplinary areas. No more than two courses from any area may count toward the certificate. The disciplinary areas are intended to extend the student’s expertise into different disciplines and fields and are as follows:

For example, a student from Spanish and Portuguese seeking a certificate may propose the following distribution across the disciplinary areas:


Finally, students must meet a language requirement. Students must have fluency in the language most appropriate to their course of study, and have functional competence in at least one of the region's other languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, or any of the region's autochthonous languages. Language competence can be certified by any of the regularly scheduled language exams offered by Northwestern's foreign language departments, or by coursework in the appropriate language.

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