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Graduate Admission

Our program only accepts applicants for fall admission each year. The current deadline to apply for Fall Admission 2024 opens on the third Wednesday of September and closes on the third Wednesday of January 2024

Current dates are: Sep 21st  2023 (opening) and Jan 17th 2023 (close) 

In order to complete the M.A., a student must complete a master’s thesis or satisfy a comprehensive exam. 

Prospective students must apply and submit all material online via:

Use a valid email address to create an account as it will be the primary line of communication between you and UC San Diego. (do not use a temporary address) The activation email and additional instructions to complete your registration will be sent to this address once you create your account.


Admission Requirements

Hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent from an accredited institution in the United States or from a recognized university-level academic institution abroad. Prospective students must have at least a B average (3.0 GPA) or its equivalent overall or over the final two years of baccalaureate study.

Please view information on Duplication of Advanced Degrees


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, previous work experience, and academic potential.

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


While the Admissions Committee prefers applicants, who have at least a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale the University 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. 

The University minimum for TOEFL scores is 85. However, the Admission Committee prefers applicants who have a score of at least 94.

English Language Proficiency (


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 interests. 

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)

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


Required Application Material

  • UC San Diego graduate application for admission - submitted
  • Transcripts from all college/university work. Scanned copies of academic transcripts for each postsecondary institution attended, including certification of degrees, submitted electronically in pdf format. Certified hard-copy original transcripts will be requested/required upon acceptance of graduate admission.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Writing sample of 20 pages or less
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Application fee (An Application Fee Waiver is available for applicants that meet certain eligibility guidelines)


Statement of purpose

Your Statement of Purpose should include the following:

  1. Any research interests
  2. Relevant preparation for graduate study in Latin American Studies (coursework, research experiences, or fieldwork)
  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 than 1-2 pages or 800 words.

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.

Letters of recommendation

Applicants must have a minimum of three letters of recommendation; however, it is possible to submit more.

Preferably, 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 entitled to analyze your academic ability and potential for success in a rigorous graduate program.


All application materials must be submitted online via the Graduate Admissions portal, including unofficial transcripts. As such, applicants should include transcripts from all universities and community colleges attended/listed. 

Official copies of final transcripts are only required if you are offered and accepted admission. Official transcripts bear the signature of the authorized official of the issuing institution, the seal of the institution, and are received by the Graduate Division in a sealed envelope from the institution.  You can have your institution(s) mail them to UC San Diego directly at the following address:

University of California, San Diego
Graduate Division
Student Services Center (SSC), 4th floor
Mail Code 0003
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0003

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.