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UCLA Graduate Division

2013-2014 Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees

Applicable only to students admitted during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Latin American Studies

Interdepartmental Degree Program
College of Letters and Science

Graduate Degrees

The Latin American Studies Program offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Latin American Studies.


Program Name

Latin American Studies

Latin American Studies is an interdepartmental program.   Interdepartmental programs provide an integrated curriculum of several disciplines.


10373 Bunche Hall
Box 951487
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1487 


(310) 206-6571 


Leading to the degree of


Admission Limited to


Deadline to apply

December 15th 

GRE (General and/or Subject)

GRE: General 

Letters of Recommendation 

3, from academics, unless the applicant has been away from school for some time, in which case one of the letters may be from an employer. 

Other Requirements

In addition to the University's minimum requirements and those listed above, all applicants are expected to submit a statement of purpose discussing the applicant's background in Latin American Studies, proposed program of study, and future career plans. An applicant may also choose to submit an optional résumé or curriculum vitae describing both academic and Latin American experience.

A bachelor's degree in Latin American Studies constitutes the normal basis for admission to the M.A. program. Applicants with a degree in another field can be admitted but must complete certain undergraduate prerequisites subsequent to admission. Applicants with Latin American field experience or special methodological studies background are given special consideration. All applicants should meet minimum requirements in at least one language of Latin America.

Several options are available to combine the M.A. in Latin American Studies with a professional degree. After acceptance by both the Latin American Studies Program and the respective professional school, students may pursue both degrees simultaneously.

Latin American Studies, M.A./Urban Planning, M.A..

The Latin American Studies Program and the Department of Urban Planning offer a two and one-half to three-year concurrent degree program leading to an MA degree in each program. Issues related to migration and settlement, comparative urbanization, human resources development and distribution, and rural economics are all of direct concern to planners and other policymakers working in Latin America. The program provides an integrated curriculum through which students can develop professional knowledge and skills while receiving advanced area studies and language training.

Program and the graduate adviser in the Department of Urban Planning.

Management, M.B.A./Latin American Studies, M.A.

The John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management and the Latin American Studies Program jointly sponsor a three-year concurrent degree program designed for individuals preparing for careers in international management with a special focus on the Latin American region. Establishment of the program was predicated on the belief that individuals employed in the area of international business and management are better equipped to meet the challenges of their employment with complementary preparation in language and regional studies. Application materials should be requested separately from both schools.

Latin American Studies, M.A./Education, M.Ed.

The Department of Education and the Latin American Studies Program offer an articulated degree program which allows students to combine study for the M.A. in Latin American Studies and the M.Ed., with an emphasis in curriculum. Articulated programs do not allow course credit to be applied toward more than one degree. This program is not currently accepting applications.

Latin American Studies, M.A./ Information Studies, M.L.I.S.

The M.L.I.S./M.A. Latin American Studies is an articulated degree program of the Department of Information Studies and the Latin American Studies Program. The student can obtain two degrees: the M.L.I.S. and the M.A. in Latin American Studies. Further details may be obtained from the graduate adviser in the Latin American Studies Program and the graduate adviser in the Department of Information Studies.

Latin American Studies, MA/Public Health, MPH

The School of Public Health and the Latin American Studies Program have arranged an articulated degree program, organized to permit specializations within the MA. And the MPH degrees, with the award of both degrees after approximately three years of graduate study. Qualified students apply to the graduate adviser of the Latin American Studies MA degree program and to a relevant area of public health, such as (1) environmental and nutritional sciences, (2) epidemiology, (3) health education, (4) population and family health.

Potential applicants should contact the Graduate Adviser, Latin American Studies, and/or the Public Health/Latin American Studies Articulated Degree Program Adviser, School of Public Health. 

Master's Degree


Academic advising is provided by the chair of the program and the Student Affairs Coordinator, who assists in program counseling, preparation of student petitions, and processing of student records. A faculty adviser meets with entering students individually to develop a program of study with academic coherence and vigor based on their proposed fields of specialization.

Areas of Study

Students are expected to develop and integrate two or three fields in Latin American studies, to be selected from the following: anthropology; art history; economics; education; engineering; folklore; geography; history; information studies; law; linguistics; management; music; political science; Portuguese; public health; sociology; Spanish; theater arts; and urban planning. At least one of the chosen fields must be a social science.

Foreign Language Requirement

Proficiency equivalent to 24 quarter units of university-level Spanish and 12 quarter units of university-level Portuguese or 16 quarter units of university-level Portuguese and 20 units of university-level Spanish is required. Only coursework taken within five years of the award of the M.A. degree may be used to demonstrate current proficiency. Since these courses may not be applied toward the M.A. degree, students are encouraged to pass these proficiency levels by examination. Degree candidates who completed their language training five years prior to their advancement to candidacy must demonstrate their current proficiency by examination. A major Indian language of Latin America may be substituted for either Spanish or Portuguese. Students must fulfill the foreign language requirements by examination or petition for a waiver of the examination if they have gained competency in another manner (i.e., native speaker, upper division coursework, Peace Corps service).

Course Requirements

Latin American Studies 205 is a core course required of all M.A. students, to be taken during the first Fall Quarter in residence. All courses must be selected from the department-approved list of courses. Other courses must be petitioned in advance. Courses numbered in the 300 and 400 series are not applicable toward the M.A. degree. Graduate courses may be repeated unless they are of the lecture type. No more than eight units of 500-series courses may be applied toward the total course requirement for the M.A. degree; no more than four units may be applied toward the minimum five graduate courses required for the M.A. degree.

Teaching Experience

Not required.

Field Experience

Not required.

Comprehensive Examination Plan

A minimum of nine courses is required, eight of which are to be distributed among three fields or disciplines on a 3-3-2 basis or among two fields on a 4-4 basis. Of the nine courses, five must be at the graduate level, with at least one in each of the three fields.

The examination requirement is fulfilled by the submission of three research papers written for at least two of the three fields included as part of the student's program of study. At least two of these papers must have been submitted for graduate courses in the 200 series. The papers are evaluated by a three-member faculty committee representing the degree candidate's three fields or both fields if the candidate is doing only two fields. Two positive votes among the three-member faculty examination committee constitute a pass. The committee evaluates the papers in the following terms: honor pass (a unanimous vote); pass; pass subject to revision of one or more of the research papers; or fail (majority vote). If two of the three members of the committee so request, an oral examination based on the papers may be required. When papers are passed subject to revision, one member of the committee is assigned the responsibility of working with the student on the revision, and determining when the paper has been satisfactorily revised. No reexaminations are permitted. The degree is awarded on recommendation of the faculty committee. Copies of the papers are filed in the Latin American Studies Academic Programs Office.

Thesis Plan

Every master's degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research.

A minimum of 10 courses is required, nine of which are to be distributed on a 4-3-2 basis among three fields. Three graduate-level courses are required in the first field, with one each in the two minor fields.

Although students are generally expected to follow the M.A. comprehensive examination plan, in special cases they may be allowed to follow the M.A. thesis plan. The student must develop a carefully prepared proposal to be approved by the academic coordinator in consultation with the student's faculty committee chair. To be approved, the proposal must provide sound justification for the thesis plan, including provisions for funding any field research.

Once the thesis plan option has been approved, the student chooses a three-member faculty thesis committee consisting of one professor from each of three disciplines, one of whom has already agreed to serve as chair. The thesis committee works closely with the student in the development, writing, and revision of the thesis and is responsible for reading, evaluating, and approving the drafts and final version of the thesis, ensuring thereby that it meets the University standards of scholarship. Once the final version is approved, the thesis committee recommends the award of the M.A. degree. By the end of the quarter before graduation, the student must file for advancement to candidacy with the Graduate Division.


Full-time students with no deficiencies upon admission can expect to complete all requirements for the M.A. degree within four academic quarters. Students who undertake field research in conjunction with the thesis plan may take up to seven academic quarters.

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

A recommendation for termination is made by the interdepartmental degree program committee, in consultation with the academic coordinator and, when appropriate, the student's M.A. committee. A student may appeal a recommendation for termination through submission of a letter to the chair of the interdepartmental degree program committee which is submitted to the entire committee for a final decision.