The Latin American collections at Penn support the University's academic programs, including undergraduate major and minor degrees in Latin American Studies, graduate certificates, and doctoral programs in Anthropology, History, Demography, Sociology, Romance Languages, Political Science, and Linguistics, among other departments. Other users of the collection include Music, Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies, Religious Studies, Education, Social Work, Communcation, Environmental Studies, the interdepartmental program in International Relations, and the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies.
As of 2018-2019 there are approximately thirty-five faculty affiliated with the Latin American and Latino Studies Program. There are approximately 60 Latin America-specialized doctoral candidates.
Penn was among the nation's first universities to offer courses on Latin American subjects, and through the first decades of the century there was continuing interest in the area, particularly in History, Political Science and Anthropology. With the exception of the strong commitment to archaeological work in Mesoamerica sponsored by the University Museum, however, Penn's interest in the area declined after World War II, but its importance within the curriculum has rebounded sharply since the 1980s. The numbers of faculty and graduate students working in the area have grown, and major and minor undergraduate programs in Latin American Studies have been implemented. Moreover, Latin America as a topic of undergraduate research has shown noticeable increase.