Welcome to the Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies!

The Department of Latino and Caribbean Studies has its origins at Rutgers University as a Program in Puerto Rican Studies established in the fall of 1970 in response to demands initiated by 16 Livingston Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) students. It became a Department of Puerto Rican Studies in 1973 and its first Chair was Dr. María Canino. Central to its mission was the understanding and critical analysis of colonial relations in the history of Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States; the rigorous inter and trans-disciplinary study and creative elaboration of the art, history, and knowledges of Puerto Ricans in the island and in diaspora; and the understanding of the social and material conditions as well as the cultural expressions of Puerto Ricans, and by extension, other “minoritized” populations, in the United States.

Responding to the evolving nature of Latina/o and Caribbean migration and the fields of Latina/o and Caribbean Studies, the Department was renamed Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies in the mid-1980’s, Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies in 2005-06, and Latino and Caribbean Studies as of January 2016. Today, the Department counts with specialists in various linguistic and geopolitical regions of the Caribbean and of Latina/o communities in the U.S.

Majoring in Latino and Caribbean Studies can take you where you want to go!

Our program is relevant for lawyers, social workers, teachers, researchers, journalists, doctors and nurses, sports managers, and more…


These concepts will become increasingly important in 21st Century American society. A major or minor in Latino and Caribbean Studies will give you the needed competency in these areas, a key asset when seeking employment or admission to graduate programs.

There are over 50 million Latinos in the US and a long history of Caribbean migration to New Jersey and the northeast. Between 2000 and 2010 alone Latinos grew 39.2 percent in New Jersey. Whether you’re of Latin American or Caribbean descent—or any background—our courses provide you with tools to better understand the politics, culture, and history shaping the experiences of US-born Latinos as well as migrant and Caribbean populations—people you’ll encounter in your professional lives.