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Master of Arts in Latin American Studies

The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies is designed for students who seek to integrate a broad range of disciplinary approaches to a world region of growing international significance.

Program Strengths:

  • Students have the option to choose their own focus of study or choose a specialized area of concentration
  • Five concentration options give students the opportunity to pursue specialized academic study
  • Small cohort of graduate students maximizes access to faculty and campus resources
  • Location near the border, facilitates study of U.S.-Mexican issues
  • Over 90 leading faculty members with expertise in Latin America
  • The M.A. program in Latin American Studies is distinctive because the majority of its graduate students travel abroad to conduct their research.

Latin American Studies Degree Requirements

1. Demonstrate foreign language competency in Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Course work: LTSP 2C or higher for Spanish or LIPO 17 for Portugues. Placement Exams are available through the Linguisitcs Department
  • Proficiency Exam through the Linguisitics Department 
  • Letter from Professor of upper division LTSP course
  • Successfully complete Foreign Service Exam (2+ or better)
  • Native fluency (educated to at least high school level in Spanish/Portuguese high school)
2. Maintain a 3.0 grade point average in 38 units of course work (nine courses).
  • Twelve units (three courses) must be taken in the Latin American Studies Core Curriculum:
      • LATI 200 Core Seminar on Interdisciplinary Research and Methodology in Latin American Studies
      • Methodology Course
      • Theory Course
  • Twenty units (five courses) are electives from the approved list of Latin American Studies Courses. Undergraduate level courses may be upgraded to graduate level by enrolling in LATI 298 (Directed Reading) 
  • Six units (one course) LATI 299 (Independent Research). Theiss research and writng under the direct supervision of a faculty adviser during the second year. 
  • At least sixteen units must be taken in graduate-level courses, and up to twelve units may be taken in upper-division, undergraduate-level courses.
  • A student must take courses from at least three different departments, with no more than 16 units (four courses) in any one department.

3. Successfully complete a master's thesis or comprehensive exam

Completion of the degree is normally expected within two academic years of three quarters full-time academic work plus one summer session. Those individuals needing (a) intensive language instruction,( b) part-time employment, or (c) extensive field research for the thesis may require longer. While there is no maximum amount of time students can take to complete the program, students are only eligible to recieve University financial support for a maximum of 7 quarters.

Concentrations in Latin American Studies

M.A. students in Latin American studies who are interested in specific disciplines or research topics have the OPTION to apply for a disciplinary or thematic concentration. However,  most of our students choose a general studies degree and then build a focus on their particular interest. 

Currently students may choose from the following concentrations or develop their own area of focus:

  • History Concentration (with the collaboration of the Department of History and Latin American historians in Ethnic Studies).
  • Sociology Concentration (with the collaboration of the Department of Sociology)
  • Gender Studies Concentration (with the collaboration of the Critical Gender Studies Program)
  • International Migration Concentration (with the collaboration of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies
  • Cultural Studies Concentration

Please Note: The History and Sociology Concentrations are primarily designed for students who see the Master's program as an opportunity to receive training for a subsequent academic career in History or Sociology. Following graduation, most of these students will apply for admission to Ph.D. programs in History, Sociology, or related areas of study. Other students will proceed to private sector or government careers in which their general knowledge about Latin America and the specific skills they gain through the concentrations will be important assets.

The Gender Studies, Cultural Studies and International Migration Concentrations are intended for students who seek interdisciplinary training and are particularly interested in gender studies, culture or migratory movements involving Latin American populations. Upon graduation, some of these students will pursue more advanced degrees in academic or professional fields. Others will move on to private sector or government careers in which their general knowledge about Latin America and background in international migration or gender issues may be particularly useful.

Summer Field Research

All MA students are encouraged to conduct their research during the summer between their first and second year in order to begin writing their thesis in their second year. The MA program in Latin American Studies is distinctive because the majority of its graduate students travel abroad to conduct their research. 

Information about applying for Tinker Pre-Dissertation Travel Grants can be found by visiting contacting the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies (CILAS).  

Course Information

To view the lists of all applicable courses towards are various requirements in Latin American studies, please view our Courses Webpage.

Please click here to view the courses that are being offered for the upcoming/current quarter.


For more information on admissions, please visit our admissions page or contact the LAS Student Services Advisor, Applications open for Fall 2022 on Wednesday, September 8th 2021. Fall applicants accepted only. Please apply here:


Additional resources for Latin American Studies Graduate Students on our website:

Have more questions? Check out our frequently asked questions about the Latin American Studies Program.