Latin American Studies, MA

College of Arts & Sciences

Program Description:

The M.A. in Latin American Studies (MALAS) encourages students to design broad-based programs of study in the humanities and social sciences that reflect their particular interests.

The MALAS is used by some students to prepare for graduate training in a specific discipline at the Ph.D. level or in a professional school. Other students use the MALAS as an entry-level degree for careers in government service, teaching, business, travel and tourism, advocacy, or inter-American organizations.

Degree Requirements

Plan I (thesis option): 36 credit hours. Students must select two areas of concentration within the MALAS program. Students have the option of completing 15 credit hours in one concentration and 9 credit hours in the other concentration or completing 12 credit hours in each concentration. The remaining 12 credit hours are divided between LTAM 510 (Pro-Seminar in Latin American Studies), 3 hours of program electives and 6 hours of thesis credits.

Students under the Plan I option must complete a minimum of 12 credits in graduate seminars numbered 500 or above (excluding 551 or 552 Problems courses) and 6 credit hours of thesis credits numbered 599. Students should consult with the Associate Director to determine which courses are considered seminars. Students are required to present an oral defense of the thesis, which integrates the two concentrations, before a thesis committee composed of at least two faculty members in one concentration and one faculty member from the second concentration.

Plan II (non-thesis option): 36 credit hours. Students must take LTAM 510 Pro-seminar in Latin American Studies, and select two areas of concentration within the degree program. Students have the option of completing 9 credit hours in one concentration and 15 credit hours in the other concentration or completing 12 credit hours in each concentration. The remaining 12 credit hours are comprised of electives. In lieu of the thesis, students complete one exit option for each concentration. Students can choose the same option for each concentration or choose a combination of options from the following: complete a professional paper deemed worthy of publication by a Committee on Studies composed of two faculty members from the concentration.

Under the Plan II option, students must complete a minimum of 12 credits in graduate seminars numbered 500 or above (excluding 551 or 552 Problems courses). Students should consult with the Associate Director to determine which courses are considered seminars.

To maintain and improve language proficiency during graduate studies, students under both Plan I and II who are not concentrating in Brazilian Literature and Culture, Brazilian Studies, Spanish American Literature, or Spanish Linguistics will be required to take an upper division language course: Spanish 307 or above; Portuguese 276 or above; or a course in one of Latin American's indigenous languages. If the course is available for graduate credit, it can count as one of the student's elective courses. Students may take appropriate upper division language courses that are not available for graduate credit with the understanding that such courses will not apply towards the credit hours required for the degree.

Concentration/Emphasis Requirements

Students concentrate in two areas chosen from the list below. The combination of concentrations must ensure that the program is interdisciplinary. For example, students selecting a concentration in Art History with an emphasis in Colonial may not also select Art History with an emphasis in Modern. Students are also required to have no more than one interdisciplinary concentration. For example, a student may not choose both Human Rights and Gender Studies as concentrations.

Variations may occur from year to year in the availability of faculty members to support concentrations. Such changes in faculty availability are beyond the control of the LAS program. Thus, it may occasionally be impossible for students to obtain sufficient coursework and advisement in one or more concentrations below. Therefore students must obtain prior approval from the LAS program before selecting a concentration.


Admission Requirements:

Deadlines

  • Fall Semester:
    • February 1st (with consideration for graduate assistantship)
    • April 1st (without consideration for graduate assistantship)
  • Spring Semester
    • November 1st (without consideration for graduate assistantship)
  • Summer Semester
    • April 1st (without consideration for graduate assistantship)

Students are rarely admitted for the Summer semester because course offerings are typically limited in this semester.

Application Materials

Applicants to the MALAS and Ph.D. program will submit materials to two separate units at UNM: (1) either the Office of Admissions or the Office of International Admissions and (2) the LAS program. All application materials must be received by each office on or before the dates indicated above. In addition to submitting materials to the two entities listed above, dual degree applicants must also submit materials to their second degree program.

Domestic students should submit the following materials to the Office of Admissions:

  • Mail the above to:
    • Office of Admissions
    • Attn: Graduate Admissions
    • PO Box 4895
    • Albuquerque, NM 87196-4895

International students should submit the following materials to the Office of International Admissions:

  • Mail the above to:
    • Office of Admissions
    • International Admissions
    • MSC 06 3720
    • Albuquerque, NM 87131-2046

All students should submit the following materials to the LAS Program:

  • Unofficial copies of transcripts from each institution attended by the applicant.
  • A copy of the application submitted to either the Office of Admissions or the Office of International Admissions (if submitting an online application to one of these units, please print a copy before submitting it).
  • A letter of intent that clearly and concisely describes the applicant's academic background and interests, including previous research and faculty associations. The letter should include professional experience and objectives, and any other factors bearing upon qualifications for graduate work related to Latin American area studies. If there are any weaknesses in the application file such as poor grades, lack of previous Latin American studies coursework, or low GRE scores, applicants should address those in the letter. Applicants with professional, volunteer or travel experience in Latin American should include a discussion of such experience in the Letter of Intent. The discussion should demonstrate an understanding of Latin American issues accompanied by an ability to apply this understanding in an academic setting. A discussion of the applicant's recent personal growth and potential is encouraged. This is a more subjective criterion, but is based on our desire for committed and motivated students. Such students have already begun their intellectual development, and have real potential to continue that development in this program and beyond as a Latin American area studies professional. In your letter, please indicate the two areas of concentration you wish to pursue if admitted to the program.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic references that address the applicant's past academic performance including analytical abilities, language proficiency, and potential for success in graduate studies. If an applicant requests a letter from a professional reference, the letter should address analytical abilities and professional qualifications relevant to Latin American area studies. Please ensure references include the completed cover form.
  • A writing sample of approximately 5 - 15 pages in length. The sample may be a previously submitted term paper or an original essay. This requirement provides the applicant with the opportunity to demonstrate research and analytical abilities, as well as capacity to work across disciplines. It may be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required and should be sent to the Testing and Data Management Division of the University of New Mexico (Institutional code 4845). Applicants should use the area studies code (2201) listed under departmental codes. If you receive an error message when entering 2201, type in "Area Studies." If you still receive an error message, contact GRE staff directly at 1-866-473-4373. Applicants should also send a photocopy of the scores to the Latin American Studies Program. Students applying to dual degree programs with Law, Business Administration, or Public Health may submit their LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT scores, respectively, in lieu of the GRE.

All materials submitted to the LAS program should be addressed to:

  • Amanda Wolfe
  • Associate Director for Program Development
  • Latin American and Iberian Institute
  • 801 Yale NE
  • MSC02 1690
  • 1 University of New Mexico
  • Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Contact Information:

M. Robyn CotĂȘ: Program Manager
(505) 277-6843
rcote@unm.edu