The multidisciplinary 40-credit-hour M.A. program in Latin American Studies includes:
An interdisciplinary cornerstone course (3 credits) that introduces students to key issues in Latin American Studies. The interdisciplinary cornerstone course, IAFF 6341 LAHSP Cornerstone, introduces students to the study of Latin America from multiple perspectives, considering the past, the present and the future of the region. The course is divided into three main sections.
- Historical Background: offers an overview of Latin America from the time of colonization to (roughly) the 1930s.
- Key Concepts: explores how selected countries have addressed specific economic, social and political concerns.
- Current Challenges: addresses contemporary demands faced by the region on different fronts, from persistent social inequality and drug trafficking, to economic and financial uncertainties.
This course is only offered in the Fall semester and should be taken in the student's first year.
A required Core Field (9 credits) that provides a broad multidisciplinary overview of the region.
Two specialized fields (12 credits) that allows students to choose any two fields, in each of which they take at least two courses.
An interdisciplinary capstone course (4 credits) that involves collaboration with sponsoring institutions outside the university on a project of mutual interest and research in Latin America or the United States. In the fall of their second year, students form teams and identify sponsoring organizations (usually NGOs, but possibly also government agencies) with whom they develop a research plan. The research is undertaken over spring break, and culminates in a half-day seminar of presentations at the end of the spring semester. The capstone allows students to apply their knowledge and to gain real-life skills and experiences that are likely to enhance future professional opportunities. The capstone is made up of 2 courses, a 1-credit pre-capstone course that must be taken in the Fall of the student's 2nd or 3rd year and a 3-credit capstone course that must be taken in the Spring of the student's 2nd or 3rd year.
Elective course work (12 credits), which allows students to concentrate on language study (Spanish or Portuguese), career-enhancing one-credit skills courses, additional courses from any of the major fields listed above, or special topic courses (IAFF 6358) that contribute to the students' professional knowledge and development. It is recommended that students develop a firm foundation in economic studies, including microeconomics, macroeconomics and international trade. With Program Director approval, graduate students in regional programs can apply a maximum of 6 credits of advanced, content based courses in a foreign language (i.e., not language acquisition courses) toward their degree.
Skills courses (1 credit each), which offer professional development and specialized knowledge. The Elliott School offers a wide variety of skills courses, and these courses count toward elective course work.
A language proficiency requirement. The ability to communicate across cultures in more than one language is a distinguishing and expected skill of the international affairs professional. Therefore, completion of the M.A. in Latin American Studies requires a demonstrated oral and reading proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese.
A graduate-level research methods course applicable to the student's area of specialization. We strongly encourage this course be taken within the first three semesters to help prepare students for their capstone in their fourth and final semester.
A thesis option for exceptional students seeking to enhance professional research and writing skills. Students who select the thesis option must still take the capstone course.
Please note: before exercising thesis option, a course in research methods is required. Students are encouraged to take this course during their first three semesters. Students may choose one course from a list of more than 10 courses in different disciplines.