Graduate Admissions: Master of Arts Program Latin American Studies

Thank you for your interest in the graduate program in Latin American Studies at UCSD! We are a full-time Masters program and only accept students during the fall of each academic year. Please refer to both the Graduate Division and the FAQ below for admission procedures and program information.


Applications for Fall 2018 open September 1st, 2017

Deadline to apply is January 15th, 2018

Prospective students must apply online via

Admissions Requirements:

All prospective students must apply and submit the following information online via GradApply.

Successful applicants must:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution in the United States or from a recognized university-level academic institution abroadUpload official electronic copies of transcripts from all universities attended (scanning official transcripts as a pdf)
    • Must have at least a B average (3.0 GPA) or its equivalent overall or over the final two years of Bachlorette study.
  • Submit GRE scores
  • Submit Statement of Purpose
  • Submit Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Submit a writing sample of 20 pages or less
  • Submit Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

International Applicants:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required for international applicants whose native language is not English
    • Unless you have studied full-time for one uninterrupted academic year at a university-level institution in which English is the language of instruction and in a country where English is a dominant language

*Students who already have a Masters Degree are not eligible to apply for the program unless under limited circumstances. Please view the General Catalog for more information on Duplication of Advanced Degrees.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

Prospective students must apply online via

  • Create an Account: 

    • All application processes are online at the application Admissions website. To create an online application account you will need a valid email address. This email address will be your login name. It will also be the primary line of communication between you and UCSD. Be sure to use an address that will not change: do not use a temporary address. The activation email and additional instructions to complete your registration will be sent to this address.

Can I submit materials via mail or email?

Under no circumstances can applicants submit any materials through the mail.

Application Fee and Fee Waiver

Applicants will be required to pay the application fee or to request a fee waiver at the end of the online application.

U.S. Citizens & Permanent Resident Applicants: $90.00
International Applicants: $110.00

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents may request a waiver of the application fee. Applicants must provide supporting documentation within two weeks of the application submission date.

For more information on how to qualify for and request a fee waiver, please see our Application Fee Waiver page.

How much is tuition at UC San Diego?

Please visit the Financial Support Page.

What are the GRE codes for UCSD and Latin American Studies?

The GRE code for UCSD is 4836. Make sure to send the GRE scores to this code as there are several universities in San Diego. Applicants occassionally make the mistake of sending their GRE to the "University of San Diego (USD)".

How do I submit my transcripts?

All application materials must be submitted online, including Offical Transcripts.  As such, applicants should request offical transcripts from all universities and community colleges attended/listed and scan the materials as a pdf then upload it online.  

For International Applicants, we require that you professionally translate your transcripts into English if they are in a different language. We will interpret the marks based on the committee evaluation process since GPA can vary in each country.  

After you have been admitted to the program and after have accepted your admission, you will be required to send hard copies of your official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you are an international student from a non English- speaking country, you must have your transcripts professionally translated and sent to UCSD.

What is the minimum for GPA, GRE, and TOEFL?

While the Admissions Committee prefers applicants who have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale theUniversity minimum GPA is 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.  GPAs are determined as the higher of your final two years or your overall college GPA. 

There is no formal minimum for GRE scores, however the Admissions Committee prefers applicants who have GRE scores over the 50th percentile. Since scores differ at each testing period, we mainly consider percentile rankings instead of raw scores.

We take the highest of your GRE scores if the test has been taken multiple times. We encourage applicants to retake the GRE if they feel it was not a good indicator of their ability. 

The Univeristy minimum for TOEFL scores is 80 accumulative. However, the Admission Committee preferes applicants who have a score of at least 94 accumulative.

Conditions for the Writing Sample

Writing samples should be academic or scholarly in nature, such as a course term paper, published research, journal article submission, thesis chapter, presented paper, or report.  If possible, that sample should cover an issue related to Latin America, however it is not mandatory. All writing samples must be in English and no more than 20 pages.

Conditions for Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must have a minimum of three letters of recommendation, however it is possible to submit more. All letters of recommendation must be submitted online. 

Perferably, all letters should be from an individual in academia who can attest to your academic abilities; however,letters from individuals outside academia will still be accepted. The most important aspect of letters of recommendation is that they be completed by individuals who are in a position to analyze your academic ability and potential for success in a rigorous graduate program.

Conditions for the Personal Statement

Your Statement of Purpose should include the following:

  1. Any research interests
    • Applying for Concentration: include a short statement explaining your intellectual and career interests in the field
  2. Relevant preparation for graduate study in Latin American Studies (coursework, research experiences, or field work)
  3. Career goals after obtaining your M.A.
  4. Which aspects of the UCSD Latin American Studies program make us a good match for your main interests and professional goals?

Statement of Purpose should be no longer that 1-2 pages or 800 words.

Conditions for Concentrations

As an option to students, you may recieve a concentration in one of the following: 

  • Cultural Studies
  • Gender Studies
  • History
  • International Migration
  • Sociology

It is not necessary for students to have a concentration, however if you know at that you would like to declare one at this stage you may apply by tailoring your statement of purpose to that particular specialization. You also select you concentration of choice in the online application. Remember that the statement of purpose should be no longer that 1-2 pages or 800 words. 

Admission is not dependent on the concentration declared/applied. All students who are admitted are admitted to the general program.

Click here to read more about M.A. concentrations.

What do you look for in applicants to your program?

The Latin American Studies Program at UCSD looks at a variety of factors when evaluating applicants for our program. Some factors that may be considered are: dedication to the field, experience in Latin America, research experience, previous academic performance, and academic potential.

Our Admissions Committee gives equal weight to every part of your application during the evaluation of your application. 

The committee examines GRE scores, but does not base decisions on the scores alone;We will examine application packages in their entirety.

Can I apply to multiple programs at UCSD with one application fee?

Yes, applicants may submit up to three applications with one application fee. However, each application must be submitted to a different department.

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Can I begin the program at a time other than in the Fall?

Under no conditions may a student begin the program at another time than in Fall Quarter. Our program only accepts applicants for Fall admission each year.

Must I complete a Master's Thesis to complete the degree?

Yes, in order to complete the M.A., a student must complete a Master's Thesis.The thesis length is generally between 80-120 pages.

What do must graduates do with an M.A. in Latin American Studies from UCSD?

Our graduates pursue a number of different career paths depending on their individual interests. About half of our graduates go on in academia to pursue a Ph.D. Another quarter of our students pursue careers in the public sector such as teaching, U.S. and foreign government positions, and NGOs. The other quarter of our students pursue various careers in the private sector, mostly in journalism.