The master’s degree in Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that highlights the histories, econ-omies, politics, societies, and cultural diversity of Latin America as well as its relations to other parts of the world and to Latin American populations in diaspora. The program allows students to tailor their studies to their interests and professional needs, and provides training in research skills and opportunities to work with community organizations. The degree affords students a wide range of career opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, including in policy-making and advocacy, the nonprofit sector, research, teaching in community colleges, or pursuing Ph.D. study.
Admission to the MA Program
Applicants must complete the application process for both the university and the program. See www.csumentor.edu for admission requirements and materials for the university. Applicants must adhere to all deadlines for the application to the university and submit one copy of official transcripts to the university ad-missions office. Contact the Latin American Studies Program for program application materials or go to www.calstatela.edu/academic/las for more information. All applications to the department must include: program application form, statement of purpose (1-2 pages), two letters of recommendation, and unofficial transcripts.
Master of Arts Program Requirements
A minimum of 15 semester units in upper division Latin American content courses is prerequisite to the pro-gram; LAS 4970 and LAS 4971 are corequisites for students who do not have a BA in Latin American Studies. Students who have not met these requirements through courses taken as an undergraduate must take courses in post baccalaureate standing as corequisites to program requirements.
Before they may be advanced to candidacy, students must demonstrate written and oral competence in Spanish or Portuguese by passing a foreign language reading examination (ML 9010 ) in the language selected, as offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and with approval of that department.
Requirements for the Degree (minimum 30-32 units)
A minimum of 30 units is required for students taking the comprehensive exam and completing the thesis, with at least 18 in 5000-level courses. Courses may be chosen from a wide range of disciplines in consultation with the adviser. Students have the option of passing a comprehensive examination or writing a thesis as the final phase of the degree program. Those who elect the thesis track work with three members of the faculty in choos-ing a thesis topic, developing a research plan and writing the thesis. Students who elect the comprehensive ex-amination will be tested in two areas to be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor. An oral defense of the thesis or examination completes the degree.
Required Courses (6 units)
Research Methods (3-5 units)
Select one course from the following:
Seminars on Latin America (9 units)
Select 3 seminars from at least two different disciplines:
Electives in Latin American Studies (3 units)
Electives (6-9 units)
Students completing the thesis will take a minimum of 6 units of electives; students completing the comprehen-sive exams will take a minimum of 9 units of electives. Electives may be chosen from the following 4000-level and 5000 level courses.
Women, Genders, and Sexuality Studies
Comprehensive Examinations or Thesis (0-3 units)
Students must successfully complete either comprehensive examinations or a thesis.
Comprehensive Examinations (0 units)
Comprehensive written examinations about Latin America must be passed successfully in two fields approved by the graduate advisor or program director.
Students should expect to take the comprehensive examinations (LAS 5960 ) no earlier than the semester they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and program requirements. Students must submit a comprehensive examination form to the Director of Latin American Studies.
Immediately following completion of the comprehensive examinations, students must pass an oral examination conducted by a two member faculty committee.
Thesis (3 units)
Instead of the comprehensive examinations, students may choose to write an interdisciplinary thesis under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee selected in consultation with a thesis adviser. Students who make this choice must enroll in LAS 5990 , for 3 units. An oral defense of the thesis is required.