May 20, 2024  
University Catalog 2015-2016 (Final Quarter Catalog) 
University Catalog 2015-2016 (Final Quarter Catalog) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Latin American Studies, M.A.

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A master’s degree in Latin American Studies affords students a wide range of career opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. Students are able to tailor their programs to fit career interests and goals. The program provides academic training and research skills as well as the opportunity to work with community groups. The program can prepare students to work in policy-making and advocacy, the nonprofit sector, research, teach in community colleges, or pursue Ph.D. study.

Admission to the MA Program

Applicants must complete the application process for both the university and the program. See 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 admissions office. Contact the Latin American Studies Program for program application materials or go to for more information. All applications to the department must include two letters of recommendation, unofficial transcripts and a statement of purpose essay, 500-750 words in length.

Master of Arts Program Requirements

A minimum of 20 units in upper division Latin American content courses is prerequisite to the program; LAS 497A  and 497B  are corequisites. Students who have not met these requirements through courses taken as an undergraduate must take courses in two or more departments in postbaccalaureate standing. In exceptional cases, the Latin American Studies graduate studies committee may waive a portion of these prerequisites.

Language Requirement

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 901 ) 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 45-46 units)

A minimum of 45-units is required for students taking the comprehensive exam and a minimum of 46 units is required for students completing the thesis, with at least 23-24 in 500- level courses. Courses may be chosen from: anthropology, art, business, Chicano studies, economics, education, geography, history, Latin American Studies, music, political science, sociology, Spanish, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Other fields may be included in consultation with the adviser. The necessary language proficiency is established by examination. 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 choosing a thesis topic, developing a research plan and writing the thesis. Students who elect the comprehensive examination will be tested in three areas to be chosen in consultation with the graduate advisor. An oral defense of the thesis or examination completes the degree.

Electives (12–17 units)

Additional units from among Latin American content courses, including appropriate departmental 499 and 598 courses, selected in consultation with the Latin American Studies graduate adviser. Students completing the thesis will take a minimum of 12 units of electives; students completing the comprehensive exams will take a minimum of 17 units of electives.

400-level Courses

All 400-level courses listed in the undergraduate major, general option, may be applied toward master’s degree requirements except the following, subject to limits established by the department and approval of the graduate adviser:

Comprehensive Examinations or Thesis (0, 6 units)

Students must successfully complete either comprehensive examinations or a thesis.

Immediately following completion of the comprehensive examinations or thesis, students must pass an oral examination conducted by a three-member faculty committee.

Comprehensive Examinations (0 units)

Comprehensive written examinations about Latin America must be passed successfully in three of the following academic fields: anthropology, art, Chicano studies, comparative education, economics, geography, history, Latin American studies, music, political science, women’s and gender studies, or other fields approved by the graduate committee in Latin American studies.

Students should expect to take the comprehensive examinations (LAS 596 ) no earlier than the quarter they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and program requirements. Students must notify the Coordinator of Latin American Studies in writing of their intention to take the examinations.

Thesis (6 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 an adviser. Students who make this choice must enroll in LAS 599 , for 6 units. An oral defense of the thesis is required.

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