M.A. Degree Requirements

The interdisciplinary M.A. program combines two fields of study, Spanish and Portuguese language skills, three core courses, and optional electives or thesis. You need a total of 36 graduate units and the successful completion of a thesis or the written/oral Master’s exam.

Core Courses

  • LAS 500: Introduction to Latin American Studies
  • LAS 550: Qualitative Research Methods in Latin America or other research methods course
  • Interdisciplinary research seminar (taught by a member of our core faculty)

Primary Concentration (12 units)

You'll 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
  • Power and Inequality
  • Brazil Studies

Regional studies focusing on Mexico, Central America or Brazil may also be selected as a concentration area. Disciplinary areas currently available for primary areas of concentration include anthropology, geography and regional development, history, and Latin American literature (Spanish and Portuguese).  

Secondary Concentration (9 units)

You'll 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, as well as from 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.

Exam/Thesis Requirements

All students are required to complete a thesis or written/oral master's exam. See the Master's Exam Options for details.