Master of Arts in Latin American Studies


The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies is designed for students who seek to integrate a broad range of disciplinary approaches to a world region of growing international significance.

Upon graduation, most students pursue advanced degrees in academic or professional fields, while others move into careers in the private sector or in government.

Degree Requirements

  1. Demonstrate foreign language competency in Spanish or Portuguese.
    - Letter from Professor of upper division LTSP course
    - Letter from instructor in study abroad program
    - Successfully complete Foreign Service Exam (2+ or better)
    - Native fluency (educated to at least high school level in Spanish/Portuguese high school)
  2. Maintain a 3.0 grade point average in 40 units of course work (ten courses). Twelve units (three classes) must be taken in the Latin American Studies Core Curriculum (LATI 200, methodology seminar, and theory seminar). The remaining 28 units (seven courses) are electives from the approved list of Latin American Studies Courses.  They may include a LATI 298 (Directed Reading) and LATI 299 (Independent Research). A student must take courses from at least three different departments, with no more than 16 units (four courses) in any one department.
  3. Successfully complete either a comprehensive exam or master's thesis.


UCSD's Latin American Studies Program offers students the option to choose one of five optional areas and topical concentrations. Read more about the general requirements for a concentration or about the specific thematic focus areas:

Application to a Concentration

In addition to the general requirements for all candidates applying for admission to the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies, applicants to any of the concentrations must submit a statement explaining their intellectual and career interests in this field.

Please Note: The History and Sociology Concentrations are primarily designed for students who see the Master's program as an opportunity to receive training for a subsequent academic career in History or Sociology. Following graduation, most of these students will apply for admission to Ph.D. programs in History, Sociology, or related areas of study. Other students will proceed to private sector or government careers in which their general knowledge about Latin America and the specific skills they gain through the concentrations will be important assets.

The Gender Studies, Cultural Studies and International Migration Concentrations are intended for students who seek interdisciplinary training and are particularly interested in gender studies, culture or migratory movements involving Latin American populations. Upon graduation, some of these students will pursue more advanced degrees in academic or professional fields. Others will move on to private sector or government careers in which their general knowledge about Latin America and background in international migration or gender issues may be particularly useful.

Time to Completion

Students may be able to complete the program in three quarters of full-time academic work plus one summer session. Completion of the degree is normally expected within two academic years. Those individuals needing (a) intensive language instruction,( b) part-time employment, or (c) extensive field research for the thesis may require longer.


Learn more about admission to the CILAS graduate program by reading the most Frequently Asked Questions.

Financial Support

The Latin American Studies program offers several opportunities for financial support. There are two graduate student researcher positions and various research fellowships available. Once you are accepted to the program you will also be advised of opportunities on campus for teaching assistantships in different departments as they occur.

The Office of Graduate Studies provides information on fellowships and scholarships and links to national sources of information.

For additional financial aid assistance, contact UCSD Student Financial Services (858) 534-4480

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