Jul 23, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Latin American Studies, M.A.

Location(s): Main Campus

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The master’s degree in Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that highlights the histories, economies, 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 the 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 Program

Applicants must complete the application process for both the university and the program. Visit https://www2.calstate.edu/apply 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 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

Program Requirements

  1. 30-32 units are required, of which, at least 18 units are 5000-level courses. Courses may be chosen from a wide range of disciplines in consultation with the adviser.
  2. Students have the option of passing a comprehensive examination, writing a thesis, or completing a project as the final phase culminating experience of the degree program. 
  • Students who opt for the Comprehensive Examination – LAS 5960 (0 units) as their culminating activity must pass exams successfully in three fields approved by the graduate advisor or program director. Students must register and complete 3 sections of LAS 5910 – Capstone Preparation for Comprehensive Examinations, each section with a different instructor, before or during  the semester when they take their Comprehensive Examination. Students should expect to take the Comprehensive Examination – LAS 5960 no earlier than the semester they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and program requirements. As part of their Comprehensive Examination, the student must pass an oral examination conducted by a committee made up of the three instructors with whom the student completed LAS 5910.  Additional information regarding the comprehensive examination can be found at the Latin American Studies Program website.  
  • Students who opt to write an interdisciplinary thesis as their culminating activity must enroll in LAS 5990 for 3 units. Thesis Students will write their thesis under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee selected in consultation with a thesis adviser, who will serve as chair of the committee. The thesis will be a systematic study of a significant problem. It will identify the problem, state the major assumptions, explain the significance of the undertaking, set forth the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze data, and offer a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product will evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. An oral defense of the thesis will be required.  All students must submit an electronic copy of the thesis or project report according to the university guidelines and deadlines as indicated on the Office of Graduate Studies Office website - http://www.calstatela.edu/graduatestudies.
  • Students who opt to produce an interdisciplinary project as their culminating activity must enroll in LAS 5995 for 3 units. Students will develop their project under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee selected in consultation with a project advisor, who will serve as chair of the committee. It will be a significant undertaking (portfolio, exhibition, performance, documentary, or currulum, or other format) appropriate to a relevant professional field or the fine and applied arts. It must have a specific focus, have appropriate form and organization, show a high level of original thought, and require in-depth research. Prior to the project’s undertaking, students will develop a project proposal with bibliography that specifies why the art form, media, or other chosen format is appropriate to the project’s goals, and how the project relates to the area of Latin American Studies. The final project must include a written report that states the project’s significance, objectives, methodology and conclusion(s), and addresses any changes from the initial proposal. It may also include visual documentation (CD, DVD, USB Flash drive).  An oral defense of the project will be required. Projects will be archived at the Latin American Studies Program. 
  1. No course may be double counted.  
  2. Students cannot earn credit for courses that they.have already completed as an undergraduate. 
  3. Students may also complete several additional courses in other departments and programs that we are unable to list here as they have major-specific prerequisites. Please know that these prerequisites are easily and almost always waived by their instructors so that Latin American Studies MA students can take their courses.

    Learning Outcomes  Roadmap (2023)     


Requirements for the Degree (30-32 units)

Core Courses (18-20 units)

Electives (9 units)

Select 9 units of Electives from the following courses, 3 of which must be LAS coursework. 

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Students may complete the program either by passing comprehensive examinations and LAS 5910, by writing a thesis, or by completing a project.

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