Administrator, Academic Programs
Please see entry for Center for Latin American Studies for the list of
the Latin American Studies faculty committee, also available at http://clas.uchicago.edu.
The Center for Latin American Studies administers a Master of Arts degree
Program in Latin American Studies. The Master of Arts Program is a one-year
program of graduate studies that provides students with thorough knowledge
of the cultures, history, politics, and languages of the region. Students
benefit from various resources that put the University of Chicago at the
forefront of research and scholarship on Latin America, including world
renowned faculty, top-quality library resources, graduate workshops, and
field research grant opportunities. Please see the Center for Latin American
Studies entry in the Graduate Announcements for full details on Center
resources. The Center also administers a Bachelor of Arts concentration
(major) in Latin American Studies (for details please see
The masters program attracts students who benefit from interdisciplinary
training in a highly individualized and flexible program. Each student
works closely with faculty and the program advisor to design a customized
curriculum, define an area of scholarly research, and write a masters
paper. Students take advantage of the programs flexibility to advance
their academic and/or career objectives before making a major professional
or educational commitment. Some students approach a research interest
from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Others strengthen their training
in a single discipline as it relates to Latin American Studies, or explore
Through the MA Proseminar, the required common core of the masters
program, students gain a critical understanding of the major theoretical
approaches, principal research methods, and current trends in Latin American
Studies. During the winter quarter of the Proseminar students develop
the proposal for their masters paper. The masters paper is
meant to demonstrate the students ability to apply formal training
in Latin American Studies toward a specific and original research problem.
Primary Latin Americanist faculty at the University of Chicago serve as
guest lecturers in the Proseminar to introduce students to their research.
Led by the Associate Director of Latin American Studies, the Proseminar
meets 1/2-time during the Fall and Winter quarters (for a total of one
The masters program provides students with the opportunity to develop
and enhance skills and knowledge appropriate for careers related to Latin
America or as preparation for further graduate work or professional training.
Graduates of the program enter or return to careers for which the masters
degree is increasingly an entry-level requirement, including secondary
and higher education, government, business, and various cultural organizations
and non-profit agencies. Others enter doctoral and professional degree
programs with support and advice from Latin American Studies staff and
Admission to the Masters Program
Prospective students to the Master of Arts Program in Latin American
Studies may apply to the Program through the Division of the Social Sciences
or the Division of the Humanities and will receive the degree from the
division through which they have been admitted. Applicants are expected
to meet the graduate admission requirements of the University and of the
division to which they apply. Students are encouraged to enter the program
in the autumn quarter. Although the program is designed for full-time
students, applications from those who can attend only on a part-time basis
will be considered.
Foreign students must produce evidence of an adequate command of English
by achieving a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign
Language (TOEFL). Candidates should submit TOEFL scores along with the
official academic records of their previous educational experience and
performance, including transcripts and degree certificates, accompanied
by an official English translation.
Students who wish to earn a Ph.D. degree should apply to a degree program
in one of the graduate departments or committees in the Division of the
Humanities or the Division of the Social Sciences. Foreign students should
be advised that in the United States completion of a masters degree program
is generally not a required prerequisite to entering a PhD program.
Upon entering the program, students will work under academic direction
of the CLAS Associate Director to develop a specific program of study,
cultivate their research interests, and identify a faculty advisor for
their masters paper. The basic components of the masters program
are described below.
A fundamental requirement of the program is proficiency in one of the
spoken languages (other than English) of Latin America and the Caribbean,
equivalent to five quarters of study at the University of Chicago. This
requirement normally will be met in Spanish or Portuguese. However, substitution
of an Amerindian language (such as Aymara. Yucatec Maya or Nahuatl) or
a language spoken in the Caribbean, such as French, is permissible with
the approval of the program advisor. Petitions for substitution will be
evaluated in light of the students prior competency and curricular
program and the adequacy of instructional resources in the substitute
language. Placement examinations will be administered to allow entering
students to register at the appropriate level of language instruction.
Students may meet all or part of the language requirement through the
placement examination (as often occurs in Spanish or Portuguese).
The standard course requirement is fourteen quarter courses, to be met
as follows: the MA Proseminar in Latin American Studies; five courses
in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, three disciplinary elective courses,
and five language courses. Most students fulfill the language requirement
through placement examination and complete the masters program in
three quarters of course work. In consultation with the program advisor,
the student will select three elective courses suited to individual curricular
interests. These courses may be selected from the offerings in the divisions
and professional schools of the University. Non-degree graduate-level
courses at the University completed prior to admission to the masters
program may be used in fulfillment of elective requirements, upon approval
of the program advisor.
Credits towards the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies must be
taken at the graduate level (courses designated as 30000 or above). However,
certain lower-level courses may be accepted, at the discretion of the
Program advisor. All course requirements can be met in five academic quarters
or fewer. Students who place out of the language requirement may complete
the remaining course requirements for the degree in three academic quarters,
as most students do.
The Masters Paper
In addition to the course requirements outlined above, every masters
degree candidate is required to submit a masters paper. This paper
is meant to demonstrate the students ability to apply formal training
in Latin American and Caribbean studies toward a specific research problem
developed over the course of the program. The research and writing of
this paper will be conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor.
A student may register for the course Masters Paper Preparation,
which is arranged on an individual basis with the faculty advisor for
the project. This course, while optional, may be counted as one of the
five required Latin American Studies core courses.
Courses pertinent to the Latin American area are offered through the
individual departments and committees of the Divisions of the Social Sciences
and the Humanities, and through the Universitys professional schools.
Please refer to the listings in these Announcements and in the quarterly
Time Schedules for specific offerings. Additionally, special courses are
offered by senior visiting Latin Americanist faculty through the Centers
Tinker Visiting Professorship and through the Rio Branco Visiting Professorship
of Brazilian Studies. Each quarter the Center compiles a comprehensive
list of Latin American and Caribbean courses to be offered at the University
available at http://clas.uchicago.edu/degree/ctbo.html.
This text last revised on 9/03/2003