Frequently Asked Questions

Latin American Studies M.A. Program

An FAQ for graduate students currently enrolled in the Latin American Studies Program.

The FAQ for prospective students on admission process to apply for the M.A. Latin American Studies Program found here.

Time Limits & Leaves

Students typically complete all masters requirements by the end of their second year.

Latin American Studies MA graduate students do not have time limits--graduate students may technically take as long as they want to complete the MA.

Latin American Studies MA graduate students allotted seven (7) quarters maximum of support are for MA Students—no matter how many quarters of actual support may have been received. Students will no longer be eligible for financial support from any source at UCSD once they have met the Support Time Limit.

Graduate students are eligible for a maximum of three (3) quarters Leave of Absence. The support tiime limits are adjusted accordingly when students go on leave.  If you are considering going on leave, contact the Graduate Coordinator.

In addition, the MA program has a normative time, the period within which students, under normal circumstances, are expected to complete requirements for the Master’s program.  Latin American Studies’ normative time is six (6) quarters.

How do I demonstrate language proficiency?

Students must demonstrate language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese which can be done in a variety of ways:

  1. Letter from a Literature professor with whom you took an upper division/graduate level Literature course, vouching for your language skills
  2. Successfully complete foreign language exam in Spanish with Beatrice Pita (bpita@ucsd.edu) or Portuguese with Denise Paladini (paladini@ling.ucsd.edu). Students must contact them directly to schedule an exam
  3. Be educated to at least the high school level in Portuguese/Spanish speaking country
  4. Letter from Linguistics (if TAing for the dept)

Proof of language proficiency completion must be sent to the graduate coordinator to place in your academic file. All results or letters should be forwarded to the graduate coordinator.

Why can't I enroll in a particular course? (Preauthorization)

During your first year you may encounter courses that are on our approved course list that you are unable to enroll in through WebReg.  This is due to the manner in which the course was coded in the system.  

If you find yourself wanting to enroll in a course on our list the blocks you from enrolling due to a prerequisite or restriction, simply contact the instructor of record, asking for his/her permission to be preauthorized to enroll in the course.  If emailing the instructor, state your name, PID, your program (include your specialization if you have one), and the particular requirement his/her course fulfills.  Once you have the instructor's permission, an appropriate staff member within the department the class is being offered should preauthorize you to enroll in the course.  

If it is not clear that the instructor contacted the appropriate staff member, don't be shy to ask!  Being preauthorized to enroll does not be you are in fact enrolled-- it merely means that the prerequisite or restriction has been lifted.  You will still need to enroll in the course on WebReg.

This is relatively common, so do not feel bad if you need to ask to be preauthorized! 

TED Site - For TA's and students

Getting Started

Contact Instructional Technology Support for help with Ted

*If you enroll in LATI 298/299 for an upgraded course, you will need to request access as an auditor and subit your request to:

Email - its@ucsd.edu

Or submit an online request - https://wheatley.ucsd.edu/iwdc/help_request.php

I need to add/drop a class. It's past 2nd week. What should I do?

Please review the procedures on how to add a class (same procedure as for undergraduates) and how to drop a class. Contact your Graduate Coordinate for an add/drop card.

After the 10th week of the quarter, any changes to a student's class schedule are considered a retroactive action. As such, a general petition is required to be submitted for Dean Barrett's review and recommendation to Committee on Educational Policy (CEP).

How do I petition a course?

Petitioning courses to count towards your M.A. program requirements it quite common--most students will require 4 or 5 petitions.

Petitions must be approved by the director prior to taking the course.  It is up to the director's discretion whether a course will be approved or disapproved.  It is best to know this information before you complete a course.  

Petitions for courses that have at least 50% Latin American content, but are not on our approved list of courses will only require that you forward the syllabus to the Graduate Coordinator, who will ensure the petition will be processed.  

Petitions for courses that do not have at least 50% Latin American content, yet are still relevant to your research will require you to submit the syllabus and an letter of justification (email is ok) to the Graduate Coordinator.  You may be required to approach the director personally to state your case if the justification is not clear from your letter.  The director may make approval conditional upon completion of the course to review your coursework.

How do I sign up for a LATI 298?

Graduate students are able to enroll in two LATI 298s for their MA Program. LATI 298 can be used as an upgrade Undergraduate course offered at UCSD (most common) or directed reading (uncommon).  

When upgrading an undergraduate course, you will need to first speak to the instructor of the course you wish to take. The instructor must agree to work with you to create graduate level course work for the undergraduate course. Generally, students are required to attend class, complete assigned readings for undergraduates and any additional readings assigned to you, and complete a graduate level paper at the end of the quarter instead of the midterms/finals undergraduate students are required.

Students must select an undergraduate course on our preapproved list to upgrade. Any courses outside this list must be petitioned beforehand. See the section on petitions for more information.

Directed Study course is used when an instructor creates an impromptu course that does not exist in the General Catalog and instructs a small group of graduate students. This is uncommon.

Students must demonstrate instructor approval by submitting the LATI 298 Request Form (TBA) with the instructor's signature to the LAS Graduate Coordinator before the end of Week 1 of any given quarter. Please note that Associate-Ins are not eligible to teach LATI 298s.

Once the form is submitted, the Graduate Coordinator will email you the course number for you LATI 298. You will need to log onto WebReg and add the class to complete enrollment. Be sure to indicate the course will be 4 units.

How do I sign up for a LATI 299?

Graduate students should enroll in LATI 299 - Independent Research during their second year. Students are able to enroll in either one or multiple LATI 299s under different faculty (generally faculty who will be serving on your MA Thesis Committee) in a single quarter. Students assign their own units for each LATI 299, which will reflect the level of work you will be performing under the instructor. Students must maintain their fulltime status by enrolling in a minimum total of 12 units each quarter.

Once enrollment for the quarter begins, contact the Graduate Coordinator with the instructor you wish to enroll in a LATI 299. It is up to the student to contact the instructor of record prior to the create of the LATI 299 to recieve confirmation/permission to work with them. All LATI 299s are taken S/U.

Who can be on my thesis committee?

Please review our Thesis Committee Membership Form to see who can serve on your committee. Students are required to have a minimum of three committee members and they must be from at least two separate departments.

Any faculty from an outside university (non-UC) may only serve as a fourth member on a thesis committee per petition to the Office of Graduate Studies.  A letter of explanation indicating why the faculty member should be on the committee and the faculty's CV must be submitted when you Advance to Candidacy or submit a Reconstitution Form.

What is the UCSD-SDSU Graduate Exchange Program?

In 1985 the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University formed a Latin American Studies Consortium and were funded as one of the twelve Title VI National Resource Centers for Latin America in the United States.

In 1993, as part of the consortium a collaborative graduate student exchange program was implemented. The purpose of the exchange program is to expand the curriculum available to graduate students of Latin American Studies.

Pleast note that this is not a joint degree. Students may take courses as guests of the Host campus which are transferred back to their Home campus and applied toward their own Master's program. While on the Host campus, students are subject to all the policies (such as add/drop/grading, etc.) of that campus.

Get more information.

Where can I get Writing Support?

Graduate Writing Support

• one-to-one consultations for academic writing in any discipline
• ongoing assistance with long-term projects
• support for career and professional writing tasks
• graduate student consultants who want to help
• Writing Lounge: a quiet and comfortable place to work
• all services free of charge


How to use our services:
• Go to the Graduate Students page of our website to create an account.
• Call or email to arrange an appointment.
• Drop in to the Writing Lounge on Thursday mornings.

Employment

I'm going to be a TA/GSR for the first time. What do I need to do?

Notify your department of your employment plans.

If you have not worked at UCSD before, you will need to fill out New Hire paperwork with the department.

This paperwork requires that you bring in proof of your eligibility to work.

See page 5 of the I-9 form(PDF) for a list of acceptable documents to establish this.

New hires should also bring in a voided check to apply for Direct Deposit.

International students will need to bring in additional documents when filing out New Hire Paperwork.

First time TAs are required to attend ASE TA Orientation - Dates distributed by email 

How many hours does a 25% employee work?

40 hours a week is considered 100% employment.

Therefore, a 25% TA/GSR should work an average of 10 hours a week over the course of their appointment, a 50% TA/GSR should work an average of 20 hours a week, etc.