Degree Requirements

Graduate Program

The Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at the University of Arizona hosts an outstanding interdisciplinary faculty with particular regional strengths in Mexico, Central America and Brazil, and in thematic areas focusing on Borders of the Americas and Immigration, Environment and Development, History and Culture, and Power and Inequality. CLAS coordinates a broad range of instructional, research and outreach activities relating to Latin America and offers Dual Degree programs with Law (J.D.), Public Administration (M.P.A.), Public Health (M.P.H) and Journalism (M.A.).   Complete and updated information is available in .pdf format or by contacting the Center.

Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree in Latin American Studies

The interdisciplinary MA program combines two fields of study, Spanish and Portuguese language skills, three core LAS courses, optional electives or thesis. Students need a total of 36 graduate units (500 level courses or above) and the successful completion and defense of a thesis or a passing grade on the written/oral Master’s exam.

Graduate Coursework

During their first semester of study, all LAS graduate students are required to take a 3 credit seminar (LAS 500) designed to introduce them to Latin American studies and research.  A research methods course (such as LAS 550 – “Qualitative Research Methods for Latin America”) and a LAS interdisciplinary research seminar (taught by a member of CLAS’s core faculty) are also required at some point during subsequent semesters.

Students select a primary field of concentration and complete 12 graduate units in this field including at least one research seminar.  The fields of study available for areas of primary concentration include the thematic areas of Borders of the Americas and Immigration, Environment and Development, History and Culture, and Power and Inequality, as well as regional studies focusing on Mexico, Central America or Brazil. Disciplinary areas currently available for primary areas of concentration are Anthropology, Geography and Regional Development, History, and Latin American Literature (Spanish and Portuguese).  

Students also choose a secondary area of concentration, requiring nine graduate units.  The secondary area can have a thematic or regional focus or can be selected from one of the disciplinary areas listed above in addition to Art History, Journalism, Language, Reading and Culture, Political Science, and Women’s Studies.

Language Requirements

Because of the interdisciplinary nature and regional emphasis of the Latin American Studies program, both Spanish and Portuguese skills are required; one at the level of competence demonstrated by completing Portuguese 305a or Spanish 251 with a minimum grade of B or by an equivalency exam; the other at the level of proficiency demonstrated by the completion of Portuguese 325 or Spanish 330 with a minimum grade of B or by an equivalency exam. Students accepted into the program who do not meet one or both of the language requirements may satisfy this deficiency during the course of their graduate studies.  Portuguese 305a is specifically designed as an intensive course for those fluent in Spanish.  All incoming students are evaluated for language ability at the beginning of their first semester.  An indigenous language of Latin America may be substituted with the approval of the LAS Graduate Advisor and the student’s Faculty/Thesis Advisor.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are asked to submit an online application through the Graduate College website.  To do so, students must click on "Apply Now" on the top right hand side of the following website:  The online application will ask you to upload at least two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose or goals, a résumé or CV, and your Graduate Record Examination results.  Apart from the online application, students must directly send by mail to CLAS the transcripts of all Universities that were listed as previous institutions in their application. An Admissions Committee takes into consideration all factors when evaluating applicants to the graduate program.  The deadline for fall admissions and funding considerations is December 1 for international students and February 5th for domestic students.

Applicants wishing to apply to one of the dual M.A. degree programs will need to submit two applications to the Graduate College, one for each program being applied to.  In addition, any supplementary materials required by either department will need to be completed and submitted as outlined.

For more information regarding the application process, you may contact the Graduate Program Coordinator, Colin Deeds, by email at or by phone at (520) 626-7242.

Ph.D. Minor

Doctoral students in other departments may elect a minor in Latin American Studies.  Requirements include a minimum of 15 units in courses related to the student’s major and demonstrated