Curriculum

The multidisciplinary 40-credit-hour M.A. program in Latin American Studies includes:

Cornerstone course (3 credits)

Students will take an interdisciplinary cornerstone course 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.

  1. Historical Background: offers an overview of Latin America from the time of colonization.
  2. Key Concepts: explores how selected countries have addressed specific economic, social and political concerns.
  3. 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.

Core field (9 credits)

Students will select three courses as part of the required Core Field, which provides a broad multidisciplinary overview of the region. This field combines perspectives from Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, International Affairs, Political Science, and Spanish Literature.

Specialized fields (12 credits)

Students will select two specialized fields and take at least two courses for each, for a total of 12 credits. The specialized fields include Anthropology; Art History, Literature, and Culture; Economic Development; Geography; Global Public Health; History; International Business; Migration; Political Science; and Security. 

Capstone sequence (4 credits)

Students are required to complete an interdisciplinary capstone course 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 typically undertaken over spring break and culminates in a 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 comprised 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.

In addition to the capstone sequence, exceptional students seeking to enhance professional research and writing skills may optionally complete a thesis option

Electives (9 credits)

Students will take 9 credits of elective coursework, which allows students to concentrate on language study (Spanish or Portuguese), career-enhancing one-credit professional skills courses, additional courses from any of the major fields listed above, or special topics 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, students may apply a maximum of 6 credits of advanced, content-based courses in a foreign language (i.e. not basic language acquisition courses) toward their degree.

Foreign Language Proficiency

Students must satisfy 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.

Research Methods

Students must complete a graduate-level research methods course applicable to the their areas of specialization. We strongly encourage this course be taken within the first three semesters to help prepare students for the capstone in their fourth and final semester.