Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Spanish Portugese French Duration:1 year
Local:$ 49.6k / 1 Academic year(s)  
StudyQA ranking:2944

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This one-year program of graduate study provides students with a thorough knowledge of the cultures, history, politics, and languages of the region. Students benefit from various resources that put the University of Chicago at the forefront of research and scholarship on Latin America, including world renowned faculty, top quality library resources, graduate workshops, and field research grant opportunities.

The master’s program attracts students who benefit from interdisciplinary training in a highly individualized and flexible program. Each student works closely with faculty and the program advisor to design a customized curriculum, define an area of scholarly research, and write a master’s paper. Students take advantage of the program’s flexibility to advance their academic and/or career objectives before making a major professional or educational commitment.

Some students approach a research interest from a multidisciplinary perspective. Others strengthen their training in a single discipline as it relates to Latin American Studies, or explore new fields. Through the MA Proseminar, the required core course of the master’s program, students gain a critical understanding of major theoretical approaches, principal research methods, and current trends in Latin American Studies, and use this training to develop proposals for their master’s papers. The master’s paper is meant to demonstrate the student’s ability to apply formal training in Latin American Studies toward a specific and original research problem. Primary Latin Americanist faculty at the University of Chicago serve as guest lecturers in the Proseminar to introduce students to their research.

The master’s program provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance skills and knowledge appropriate for careers related to Latin America or as preparation for further graduate work or professional training.

Graduates of the program enter or return to careers for which the master’s degree is increasingly an entry level requirement, including secondary and higher education, government, NGOs, business, and various cultural and non-profit organizations. Others enter doctoral and professional degree programs with support and advice from Latin American Studies staff and faculty.

Recent graduates have entered top Ph.D. programs in anthropology, history, political science, and sociology at top programs including the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, UW-Madison, UC-Berkeley, UC-San Diego, UC-Davis, San Diego State University, Emory University, Ohio State University, University of Illinois, and UCLA, and in masters programs at the Harris School of Public Policy and the Booth School of Business.

Other alumni have developed careers working in the State Department, at the MacArthur Foundation and other philanthropic foundations, including the Heartland Alliance, the Center for Democracy and Technology and other social service and rights advocacy organizations. Additionally, many students have gone one to work at policy think-tanks like the Brookings Institute and several more as Chicago Public School teachers.

To satisfy the coursework required for an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, students must complete the following:

The MA Proseminar in Latin American Studies

Through the MA Proseminar, the required common core of the master’s program, students gain an introduction to the variety of disciplinary approaches, discourses, and foci that fall under the large rubric of Latin American Studies. The Proseminar introduces students to specialists in the field at the University of Chicago and to the research and investigation in which they are involved. Led by the Post-doctoral Lecturer in Latin American Studies, the Proseminar meets during the Autumn and Winter quarters. 

5 Latin American Content Courses

Each quarter CLAS compiles a list of University-wide courses with Latin American content. Courses which focus on disciplinary, methodological or comparative topics (such as International Relations Theory or Indigeneity) may also be counted toward this requirement, provided the student completes a paper or other major project treating a Latin American theme. 

3 Disciplinary Elective Courses

These courses may have Latin American content, but they are often taken in order to gain a specific disciplinary grounding, to explore a particular theoretical framework, or to develop skills in a particular research methodology. Non-degree graduate level courses taken and completed at the University 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.


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.


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.

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of a one year program, MA students in one year programs at the University are not eligible for FLAS funding.




The cost of attendance (COA) is based on full-time enrollment in a 9-month master’s program consists of tuition and fees for the 2013-2014 academic year.  These figures are taken from the Office of the Bursar and from the Office of International Affairs Financial Resource Statement used to figure the student budget for international students for visa purposes.   You should estimate at least a 3 to 7 percent tuition and fee increase for your own planning purposes for each subsequent academic year.

Merit-based aid for M.A. students Neither the Social Sciences Division nor the Humanities Division is able to provide extensive financial support for students in our stand-alone master's degree program. We offer a limited number of partial tuition scholarships (one-third tuition, one-half tuition, two-thirds tuition) along with a very small number of full-tuition awards. Students who we admit without a financial award or with partial tuition scholarships pay the balance of tuition from a combination of their own resources and educational loans.


On the Office of the Bursar website, you will find detailed information regarding billing dates and payments, electronic billing, agency billing, tuition payment plans, and required fees.


Some international students may qualify for student loans in the United States, although international students are also encouraged to research loans available in their home countries.  The Student Loan Administration provides information about loans available to international students. Please note that some of these loans may require a co-signer in the United States.

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