Why study Latin American and Caribbean studies?

Knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean culture, environment, and society is crucial to U.S. hemispheric relations and world understanding.

Graduate Programs

The Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies administers an interdisciplinary program of substantive and language courses leading to the Master of Arts degree. Students may pursue the M.A. as a terminal degree for careers in the public or private sector or as preparation for additional graduate study. The Center also offers a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with optional specialized tracks in Brazilian Studies and Central American and Mexican Studies.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Admission requires a B.A., preferably in one of the social sciences or humanities, and language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese as demonstrated by completion of a fourth-semester course or the equivalent. The Graduate Record Examination is required for U.S. citizens.

Submit your graduate application online. Send transcripts of all completed college and university course work and all other requested application materials to the program:

The University of Kansas The Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Bailey Hall
1440 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 320
Lawrence, KS 66045-7545

M.A. Degree Requirements

Course Work

A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours (500 level or above) is required in social sciences or humanities courses with Latin American content.  Requirements are meant to provide training in research design, content breadth, disciplinary breadth as well as exposure to discipline-specific methods and problems, independent research, and language competence.

  1. Research Design: Research Design in International Area Studies (LAA 700) 3 hrs
  2. Area Content: 7-8 courses with Latin American / Caribbean content, which must meet the following requirements (an individual course may count towards multiple requirements) 21-24  hrs
    1. 12 hours (4 courses) of the area content courses must be at the 700-level or above
    2. 12 hours (4 courses) must be selected from the program's list of approved courses with at least 50% Latin American / Caribbean content
    3. Courses must be drawn from at least two separate disciplines
    4. 9 hours (3 courses) must constitute a “specialization cluster” designed to prepare the student for the thesis / comparative research paper.  The specialization cluster may be in a topic / issue, in a geographical area, in a particular discipline, etc., and is designed in consultation with the student’s advisor and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
    5. For students who will only enroll in 3 credit hours of LAA 899, the remaining 3 credit hours (to complete the 30 required) must be selected from the program's list of approved courses with at least 25% Latin American / Caribbean Content.
  3. Thesis Hours: 3-6 hours of Thesis Research and Writing (LAA 899)  3-6 hrs
    1. MA Thesis option students must enroll in at least 3 hours

    2. Comparative Research paper option students must enroll in only 3 hours

Language Proficiency

M.A. candidates must demonstrate comprehensive proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese. This includes aural, speaking, reading, and writing ability. Completion of SPAN 424 and SPAN 428 or a higher-level course constitutes comprehensive proficiency in Spanish. Comprehensive proficiency in Portuguese requires completion of a 500-level or higher literature course.

The language requirements should be satisfied as early as possible. Students also must complete two semesters in a second language (SPAN 104 and SPAN 108; PORT 104 and PORT 108), or the equivalent (e.g. PORT 611). Quichua, Kaqchikel Maya, or Haitian Creole may be substituted as the language of reading proficiency with approval of the director.

M.A. Degree Options

Thesis and nonthesis degrees are offered. The thesis degree is most appropriate as preparation for a doctoral program and dissertation. Students must declare their intention to write a thesis before the end of the first year and form a committee of three faculty members, each from a different discipline. The student defends the completed thesis in an oral examination before this committee. A student must enroll in at least 3 credit hours of thesis. Students may count up to 6 credit hours of thesis toward the degree.

The nonthesis M.A. degree is suitable for a career in public service or business. The culmination of the nonthesis M.A. is an oral examination during the last semester of the student’s program. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies produces a handout, Nonthesis M.A. Degree Option: Oral Exam Guidelines.

According to the continuous enrollment policy of the College, once the student’s course work is completed, the student must enroll in at least 1 credit hour of thesis/nonthesis (LAA 899) a semester (excluding summers) until the thesis and its defense or the oral examination is completed.

Recommended Graduate Courses

Courses with a blank (_____) at the end of their titles are typically topics or seminar courses that may be repeated for credit. Usually these courses offer different topics each time they are taught. Students should check with the course instructor about the requirements to take the course and what the topic will be when it is offered.

These courses have 50 to 100 percent Latin American or Caribbean content:

AAAS/HIST 574Slavery in the New World3
ANTH 500Topics in Archaeology: _____ (taught by Hoopes)3
ANTH 501Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology: _____ (taught by Metz)3
ANTH 506Ancient American Civilizations: Mesoamerica3
ANTH 507The Ancient Maya3
ANTH 508Ancient American Civilizations: The Central Andes3
ANTH 718Seminar in Latin American Archaeology:_____3
ANTH 775Seminar in Cultural Anthropology: _____ (taught by Dean, Gibson, Metz)3-9
ANTH 785Topics in Ethnology: _____ (taught by Dean or Metz)3
ECON 584Economic Development of Latin America3
ENGL 790Studies in: _____3
FMS 702Graduate Seminar in: _____1-3
GEOG 571Topics in Cultural Geography: _____ (taught by Brown or Herlihy)1-3
GEOG 591Geography of Latin America3
GEOG 592Middle American Geography3
GEOG 597Geography of Brazil3
GEOG 771Topics in Cultural Geography: _____ (taught by Brown or Herlihy)1-3
GEOG 791Latin American Regions: _____3
GEOG 980Seminar in Geography: _____ (taught by Herlihy)1-3
GEOG 990Seminar in Regional Geography: _____ (taught by Herlihy)1-3
HA 505Special Study: _____1-6
HAIT 501Directed Studies in Haitian Culture1-15
HAIT 700Investigation and Conference1-6
HIST 510Topics in Non-Western History: _____ (taught by Schwaller, Cushman, Rosenthal, Kuznesof)1-3
HIST 573Latin America in the 19th Century3
HIST/AAAS 574Slavery in the New World3
HIST 575The Many Faces of Mexico3
HIST 576History of the Caribbean and Central America3
HIST 579The History of Brazil3
HIST 580Economic History of Latin America3
HIST 696Seminar in: _____ (taught by Schwaller, Cushman, Rosenthal, Kuznesof)3
HIST 801Colloquium in: _____ (taught by Schwaller, Rosenthal, Kuznesof)1-6
HIST 808Colloquium in Comparative History: _____ (taught by Schwaller, Cushman, Rosenthal, Kuznesof)3
HIST 820Colloquium on Popular Culture in Latin America3
HIST 822Colloquium in the Urban History of Latin America3
HIST 823Colloquium on Colonial Latin America3
HIST 824Seminar on Labor in Latin America3
HIST 825Seminar in Latin American Foreign Relations3
HIST 826Seminar in Twentieth Century South America3
HIST 827Colloquium in the Social History of Latin America3
HIST 853Research Seminar: The Atlantic World in the Early Modern Period (taught by Schwaller, Kuznesof)3
HIST 950Seminar in Latin American History3
HIST 951Seminar in Latin American Revolutions3
HIST 952Seminar in Ideology, Violence and Social Change in Latin America3
POLS 658Theories of Politics in Latin America3
POLS 659Political Dynamics of Latin America3
POLS 758Revolutionary Politics of Latin America3
PORT 740Survey of Brazilian Literature3
PORT 742The Brazilian Novel3
PORT 746The Brazilian Short Story3
PORT 750Brazilian Poetry3
PORT 760Contemporary Brazilian Literature3
PORT 780Special Readings in Portuguese and Brazilian Literature1-3
PORT 970Seminar in Brazilian Literature: _____3
SOC 531Global Social Change3
SOC 780Advanced Topics in Sociology: _____3
SPAN 520Structure of Spanish3
SPAN 522Advanced Studies in Spanish Language: _____3
SPAN 540Colloquium on Hispanic Studies: _____ (Taught with Latin American focus)3
SPAN 560Colloquium on Latin American Film3
SPAN 570Studies in Hispanic Linguistics: _____3
SPAN 717History of the Spanish Language3
SPAN 720Syntax and Composition3
SPAN 770Spanish-American Drama3
SPAN 771Spanish-American Literature: _____3
SPAN 772The Modern Spanish-American Novel, 1900-19503
SPAN 773The Modern Spanish-American Novel Since 19503
SPAN 774Spanish-American Poetry3
SPAN 776Spanish-American Short Story3
SPAN 781Colonial Identities3
SPAN 784Spanish-American Modernism and Vanguards3
SPAN 785Special Topics in Spanish-American Literature: _____2-3
SPAN 790Spanish Linguistics: Theory and Application to Teaching3
SPAN 795Literary Theory and Criticism3
SPAN 817Spanish Historical Grammar3
SPAN 970Seminar: Spanish American Drama: _____3
SPAN 972Seminar: Spanish American Novel: _____3
SPAN 974Seminar: Spanish American Poetry: _____3
SPAN 976Seminar: Spanish American Short Story: _____3
SPAN 978Seminar: Spanish American Essay: _____3

These courses have 25 to 50 percent Latin American and Caribbean content:

AAAS 520African Studies in: _____3
AAAS 555African Film3
ANTH 501Topics in Sociocultural Anthropology: _____3
ANTH 512Ethnohistory: _____3
ANTH 544Origins of Native Americans3
ANTH 563Cultural Diversity in the United States3
ANTH 586Visual Anthropology3
ANTH 595The Colonial Experience3
ANTH 652Population Dynamics3
ANTH 674Political Anthropology3
ANTH 695Cultural Ecology (taught by Gibson or Herlihy)3
ANTH 754Biological Bases of Human Behavior (taught by Crawford)3
ANTH 770Research Methods in Physical Anthropology3
ANTH 794Material Culture3
ARCH 800Special Topics in Architecture: _____ (taught by Swann)1-3
BIOL 607Field and Laboratory Exercises in Plant Ecology2
C&T 807Multicultural Education3
C&T 864International Issues in the K-12 Classroom3
ECON 582Economic Development3
ECON 604International Trade3
ECON 605International Finance3
ECON 715Elementary Econometrics3
ECON 740Theory of Economic Growth and Development3
ELPS 773School and Society in Comparative Education3
ELPS 772Philosophical Problems in Comparative Education3
ENGL 570Topics in American Literature: _____ (If taught by Giselle Anatol or Marta Caminero-Santangelo)3
FMS 902Film Seminar in: _____ (taught by Falicov)3
GEOG 570Geography of American Indians (taught by Herlihy)3
GEOG 670Cultural Ecology3
HA 706Seminar: _____ (taught by Eldredge)1-6
HAIT 500Directed Studies in Haitian Language and Literature1-15
HIST 551Spain and its Empire, 1450-17003
HIST 696Seminar in: _____3
HIST 806Studies in: _____3
HIST 853Research Seminar: The Atlantic World in the Early Modern Period3
IBUS 701International Business (taught by Kleinberg)3
IBUS 895Graduate Seminar in International Business: _____ (taught by Birch)0.5-5
LING 575The Structure of: _____3
LING 700Introduction to Linguistic Science3
LING 791Topics in Linguistics: _____1-3
MUSC 560Music in World Cultures (taught by Wong)3
MUSC 754Music of the Baroque Era3
MUSC 940Seminar on Selected Topics in Musicology: _____ (taught by Schwartz-Kates)3
POLS 600Contemporary Feminist Political Theory3
POLS 660The Politics and Problems of Developing Countries3
POLS 672International Political Economy3
POLS 726Public Policy in Comparative Perspective3
POLS 774International Law3
POLS 850Introduction to Comparative Politics3
POLS 870International Relations3
POLS 960Politics of Developing Countries2-3
POLS 973International Political Economy3
POLS 974International Mediation and Conflict Resolution3
POLS 978Advanced Topics in International Relations Theory3
SOC 533Industrialization in Developing Nations3
SOC 619Political Sociology3
SOC 873International Political Economy3
SOC 892Teaching Seminar1-3
SOC 970Seminar on Special Topics in Social Conflict and Change: _____1-4
SPAN 801Teaching Spanish in Institutions of Higher Learning3
UBPL 565Introduction to Sustainable Land Use Planning3
WGSS 560Race, Gender, and Post-Colonial Discourses (taught by Ajayi-Soyinka)3
WGSS 600Contemporary Feminist Political Theory3

Study in Latin America

The center encourages students to study and do research in Latin America or the Caribbean. Intensive language institutes in Portuguese and Spanish are held in Salvador, Brazil; and Puebla, Mexico; respectively. The center has helped develop exchange relationships with universities in Costa Rica, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil. One of the oldest and most successful academic study abroad programs in Latin America is the Kansas program at the Universidad de Costa Rica.