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MA in Latin American Studies

The MA program is a flexible and rigorous two-year degree program that allows students to deepen their knowledge of Latin America by taking courses in a wide range of academic departments and professional schools.

The MA degree is flexible because students can design a program of study that best fits with their career or professional goals. Students can take courses in a wide range of departments and professional program, including the sciences, the social sciences and humanities, Social Work, Education, Nursing, Public Health, Business, Architecture and Urban Planning, Law, etc.

It is also rigorous because all MA students are required to develop strong language skills, acquire deep and broad knowledge of Latin American countries and cultures, and develop research skills and specialized knowledge in an academic discipline, professional program or interdisciplinary concentration.

 program requirements

There are no required courses for the MA degree. However, to graduate 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).

Students must complete 30 credit hours, including eight 3-credit courses (for a total of 24 credits of coursework) and 6 thesis hours.

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) as part of the program of study for the MA

3) through providing other evidence of proficiency that is certified by the Second Language Teaching and Research Center at the University of Utah.

*Language courses do not count toward the minimum of 30 credit hours required for the degree unless they are taken at the 6000 level or higher.

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.
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.
Overall at least 15 credit hours (five courses) must come from the approved list of 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 thesis 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 6975, which the student will set up with the program advisor.

We encourage students to do the MA essay, although a thesis option is also available upon request.

career paths

Graduates confront a job market that demands knowledge of foreign cultures and languages, a reflection of both globalization and significant demographic shifts at home. Many graduates will pursue international careers in the public, private and non-profit sector. But immigration from Latin America to the United States also creates a need for expertise in Latin American culture and language domestically. This demographic shift now requires that social workers, school teachers, nurses, lawyers, and doctors have much greater linguistic and cultural competency to adequately serve this population.

A core purpose of the MA program is to provide students with the skills and expertise to become leaders in their chosen fields. The MA degree is ideal for both professionals seeking regional knowledge and students intending to pursue a Ph.D and academic careers. It prepares graduates for careers in government, public policy, academia, international law, international business, non-profit organizations, journalism, education, social work, and other professions.

application information

All applications for the MA in Latin American Studies must be submitted online through the Graduate School.

        Click here  for information and instructions on how to apply to the MA in Latin American Studies.

        Click here to begin your application.

Last Updated: 10/4/17