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Current MA Students

Graduate Requirements for Latin American Studies MA

The program requires a total of 30 credits, including 8 elective courses (24 credits), thesis research or project research (6 credits). While there are no required courses for the MA degree, all students must complete a foreign language requirement, complete the requirements for a  disciplinary concentration, fulfill a methods requirement, fulfill a regional breadth requirement, and complete a substantial research paper (thesis). Disciplinary concentrations can focus on one of the departments participating in the program or can involve creative and practical interdisciplinary combinations of courses that fit with the student's career goals. 

Students will be required to take classes or write a thesis that examines at least two of four broad regions in Latin America. The regions are defined as Mexico and Central America, South America (not Brazil), Brazil, and the Caribbean.

Typically students will satisfy the field or disciplinary concentration requirement by taking a minimum of four classes (12 credits) in a specific discipline or an interdisciplinary area of study (e.g. Environmental Studies).

The concentration can be based in any department or academic program at the university including professional programs (e.g. Social Work, Nursing, Urban Planning, Public Administration), or involve creative and practical interdisciplinary combinations of courses that fit with the students' career goals (e.g. Gender Studies or Environmental Studies).

Students must take at least one core methods course or research seminar appropriate to their discipline or field of concentration. This course should be chosen in consultation with their faculty advisor.

All students must demonstrate third-year proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese and first-year proficiency in a second Latin American language spoken. Language proficiency can be demonstrated by one of the following:

  1. Through successful completion of relevant language courses with a grade of B or better as indicated by an undergraduate transcript
  2. Through coursework completed as a graduate student in the MA program
  3. Through providing evidence of proficiency that is certified by the Second Language Teaching and Research Center at the University of Utah

Overall at least 15 credit hours (five courses) must come from approved LAS content courses. To qualify for the MA, courses must be taken at the 6000-level or higher. 6000-level courses may include advanced undergraduate courses in which students complete appropriate additional assignments and readings for graduate credit.

Students must complete an MA essay and have it approved by their supervisory committee. An MA essay is a substantial research paper on an issue or topic related to Latin America. Typically, students will register for 6 project research credits during their second year in the MA program in order to complete their essay. These credits count toward the overall credit requirement. The course is LAS 6971, which the student will set up with the program advisor. We encourage students to complete the MA project, although a thesis option is also available upon request. 

Students must complete 6 credits of thesis research coursework, and in this time, will be working with their chosen supervisory committee on researching and writing their thesis.A thesis is not required to complete the MA program, instead a project/non thesis can be submitted, please see above for more information about the project requirements.


Last Updated: 8/30/23