Master's Requirements

Program Requirements

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 master's paper. The basic components of the master's 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 student's 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 in Spanish or Portuguese.

The Master's Paper
In addition to the course requirements outlined above, every master's degree candidate is required to submit a master's paper. This paper is meant to demonstrate the student's 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 Master's 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.

Course Requirements
The standard course requirement is fourteen quarter courses, to be met as follows:

The Masters 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 master's 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 master's 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.

Course Offerings
Courses pertinent to the Latin American area are offered through the individual departments and committees of the Divisions of the Humanities and the Social Sciences, and through the University's professional schools. Please see our Courses page, or the quarterly Time Schedules for specific offerings. Additionally, special courses are offered by senior visiting Latin Americanist faculty through the Center's Tinker Visiting Professorship.

For information on how to apply to the MA program, click here.

The University of Chicago does not offer a Ph.D. degree program in Latin American Studies. Those interested in obtaining a Ph.D. degree focusing on Latin America must apply to a specific disciplinary degree program (i.e. History, Anthropology, Romance Languages and Literatures). Please see the University of Chicago's main site for a comprehensive list of the University's divisions of graduate and undergraduate study and professional schools.