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This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Master of Arts in Latin American Studies

The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies is an interdisciplinary program. The curriculum consists of a core set of courses surveying the history, politics, society, ecology, and culture of the Latin American region; advanced language training; and in-depth course work. In consultation with a faculty adviser, students select a course of study suited to their individual interests.


The joint degree program in Latin American Studies and Law allows students to pursue the M.A. degree in Latin American Studies concurrently with the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree, with a significant number of courses that may apply to both degrees. It is designed to train students interested in a career in teaching, research, or the practice of law related to Latin American legal affairs. Students must apply separately to the Latin American Studies M.A. program and to the Stanford School of Law and be accepted by both. Completing this combined course of study requires approximately four academic years, depending on the student's background and level of language training. For more information, see the "Joint Degree Programs" section of this bulletin and consult with the program offices for the two programs.


Stanford offers dual degree programs that grant an M.A. degree in Latin American Studies and a Master of Business Administration degree or a Medical Doctor degree. Students must apply separately to and be accepted by both the Latin American Studies M.A. program and the Graduate School of Business or School of Medicine.


University requirements for the master's degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees General Requirements" section of this bulletin.

The program requires completion of a minimum of 45 graduate units. Each student is assigned a faculty adviser who works with the student to develop a customized program of study. All courses for the M.A. degree must be at the 100-level or higher, with at least half being at the 200-level or higher.

Candidates to the M.A. in Latin American Studies must complete the following:

  1. Core courses (15 units): one core 5-unit course in each of three fields of specialization:
    1. Culture and Society: HISTORY 372B (same as ILAC 372B), Frontiers of Iberian and Latin American Culture and History (Autumn)
    2. Political Economy: POLISCI 248S, Latin American Politics (Winter)
    3. Environment and Ecology: ANTHRO 259 (same as ANTHRO 159), Conservation and Development Dilemmas in Latin America: Galapagos as a Microcosm (Spring)
  2. Cognate courses (15 units): three courses (5 units each), one from each of the three fields of specialization listed in '1' above. For approved courses, see the "Latin American Studies Cognate Courses" section of the Bulletin.
  3. Elective courses (10-15 units): three elective courses (3-5 units each) in one of the three fields of specialization (see '1' above) from across the University's offerings, selected with guidance and approval from the faculty adviser.
  4. Language requirement: at least 3 units of course work on a second Latin American language. Students proficient in both Spanish and Portuguese must take an advanced third-year language course in either Spanish or Portuguese; students proficient in only Spanish or only Portuguese must take a basic course in the language in which they are not already proficient. Up to 6 units of foreign language coursework may be applied toward the MA degree. All foreign language coursework must be taken at the 100-level or higher.
  5. Seminar requirement: 3 units (1 per quarter) of LATINAM 200, Contemporary Issues in Latin American Studies.
  6. Thesis option: students may elect to write a master's thesis; they may register for LATINAM 398 for up to 10 units of thesis research under the guidance of an Academic Council faculty member. Thesis units may be counted toward the elective field unit requirements (requirement number 3, above).
  7. Grade requirements: All courses to be counted toward the MA (with the only exception being LATINAM 200) must be taken for a letter grade and earn a B- or better. M.A. candidates must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

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