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In addition to the MA in Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the center offers specialized graduate certificates that focus on either Mexico & Central America, or Brazil. The Center and the Business School also offer a joint degree: Master of Business Administration and Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. For additional information on either of these programs of study, please contact the director of graduate studies. Archived editions of the KU Latin Americanist highlight activities of current MA students and recent graduates of the program, and contain information on recent funding, travel, and research opportunities.
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Graduate Advising and Appointments
Joint Degree: Master of Business Administration/Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Graduate Student Research
Master of Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Graduate students may pursue the degree of Master of Arts (MA) through either the thesis or comparative research paper track. Both programs require 30 credit hours of graduate-level coursework. Students on either track have substantial flexibility in choosing their courses and will work with the graduate advisor to create a coherent and focused program of study. Thesis and comparative research paper options, admission requirements, coursework and language requirements, and graduate funding are detailed below. Please write (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Center (785-864-4213) with any additional questions.
The MA thesis degree is most appropriate as preparation for a doctoral program and dissertation. Students should declare their intention to write a thesis before the end of their first year in the program and form a committee of three faculty members, each of a different discipline. The student will defend the completed thesis in an oral examination before this committee. In order to prepare the thesis a student must enroll in at least 3 credit hours of thesis research and writing (LAA 899). Students may count up to 6 credit hours of LAA 899 toward the 30 graduate credits required for the degree.
Comparative Research Paper
The comparative research paper MA is a terminal degree particularly suitable for a career in the public or private sector. Students take 3 credits of thesis/comparative research paper credit (LAA 899) with their Chair. Only 3 credits of LAA 899 can count towards the comparative research paper MA degree. The culmination of the comparative research paper MA is an oral examination during the last semester of the program.
For Complete Details: Thesis and comparative research paper Guidelines (.pdf)
We admit students for fall and spring semesters. The Fall 2013 application deadline is January 15th, 2013 for priority and international applications and April 2nd, 2013 for domestic applications. To be considered for financial support applicants must submitt applications by the priority deadline. Spring 2014 admission deadline is November 15th, 2013.
Admission to the graduate program in Latin American & Caribbean Studies requires a BA, preferably in one of the social sciences or humanities, language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese as demonstrated by completion of a fourth-semester course or the equivalent, and acceptance by the graduate division of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the University of Kansas. Applicants whose grade point average is below 3.0 will not be admitted to the degree program. However, a student with less than a 3.0 GPA may be admitted on a probationary or provisional status at the discretion of the departmental Graduate Committee.
A completed application includes:
- Completion of the Graduate Application Form found on the KU Graduate Studies web page (http://www.graduate.ku.edu/01-00_abt_admissions.shtml).
- Submission of the following materials directly to the Center of Latin American & Caribbean Studies (c/o Judy Farmer, 1440 Jayhawk Blvd. #320 Bailey Hall, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045):
- A statement of interest, explaining your background and interest in pursuing the MA degree in Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors familiar with your academic work. (The Graduate Letter of Recommendation Form must accompany each letter, and is included as part of the online Graduate Application Form.)
- One official copy of transcripts from all higher education institutions previously attended.
- Writing sample (in English) of 10-20 pages.
- GRE scores. International students are not required to take the GRE, but are required to take the TOEFL exam.
A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required in social sciences or humanities courses with Latin American content. At least 18 hours must have 50 to 100 percent of their content dedicated to Latin America. Literature courses with Latin American content at the 500-level or above (except PORT 611 and HAIT 500) may be counted as part of the 30 hours of coursework. Required courses include the Introduction to Latin American Library Resources (LAA 700), the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin American Culture and Problems (LAA 701), and two other seminars with at least 50 percent of their content dedicated to Latin America, each in a separate discipline, at the 700 level or above (excluding thesis and reading hours). Incoming students should enroll in LAA 700 during their first fall semester. All students must consult the graduate adviser before enrollment each semester. Up to 12 graduate hours from the University of Costa Rica (UCR) may be applied towards the MA. To be eligible for the UCR exchange, students must have completed one semester's coursework at KU and must obtain the graduate advisor's approval for all courses to be taken at UCR prior to enrollment.
According to the enrollment policy of KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, of which the Center of Latin American & Caribbean Studies is a part, students must be enrolled in at least one credit hour in the semester that they plan to graduate from KU.
MA candidates must demonstrate comprehensive proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese. Comprehensive proficiency includes aural, speaking, reading and writing ability. Completion of SPAN 424 and 428 or a graduate literature course constitutes comprehensive proficiency in Spanish. Comprehensive proficiency in Portuguese requires completion of a literature course at or above the 500 level. The language requirements should be satisfied as early as possible in the MA program. Students must also complete two semesters in a second language: SPAN 104 and 108 for Spanish, PORT 104/106 and 108/110 or PORT 611 for Portuguese. Kaqchikel Maya, Quichua, or Haitian Creole may be substituted as the second language.
Scholarships, and Research Funding
Students may apply for Honors Fellowships, Summer Fellowships, Minority Student Fellowships, and Graduate Fellowships. The Center provides further support through the Stansifer Fund to support PhD research on Central America, the Oppenheimer Memorial Fund ($6,000 per year for student research on Latin American topics), and Tinker Field Research Grants (1995-97; 2000-03, 2007-10). Students interested in a less commonly taught language (Portuguese, Quichua, Kaqchikel Maya, Miskitu, or Haitian Creole) may apply for an academic year FLAS or summer FLAS Fellowship. To learn more about these funding opportunities visit the Graduate Student funding page. Interested graduates may also apply to become GTAs in Spanish & Portuguese.
KU strongly supports Study Abroad and intensive language opportunities for Graduates. The Chancellor has a fund of $46,000 yearly for Costa Rican fellowships and exchanges. Such opportunities are critical for developing advanced language abilities. Other financial aid may also be available through external sources.
Current and prospective graduate students should contact the center to set up an appointment with the graduate advisor if they have additional questions concerning the graduate program.
Tony Rosenthal, Associate Director and Graduate Advisor
Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies
320 Bailey Hall
University of Kansas
Lawrence , KS 66045
Students already admitted into a KU graduate degree program are automatically eligible for the certificate programs. Students seeking to come to KU only for the certificate must meet the same admission standards as KU Latin American & Caribbean Studies MA students, which includes significant training or experience in Portuguese or Spanish, a solid undergraduate GPA (usually 3.25 or better), a letter of intent, three letters of recommendation, evidence of writing proficiency, and solid GRE scores.
The Brazilian Certificate requires Portuguese language proficiency - which includes aural, speaking, reading and writing ability and can be demonstrated in a variety of ways - and four courses (12 hours) that include the following: 1) the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin American Cultures and Problems (LAA 701) offered each Spring Semester, 2) a research colloquium on Brazil (LAA 703), and 3) two electives from different departments allowing a Brazilian focus. Course registration must be made in consultation with the Graduate Advisor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
Central American and Mexican Certificate
The Central American & Mexican Certificate requires language proficiency in Spanish - which includes aural, speaking, reading and writing ability - and four courses (12 hours) that include the following: 1) the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Latin American Cultures & Problems (LAA 701), 2) a research colloquium on Central America & Mexico (LAA 704), and 3) two electives from different departments allowing a Central America or Mexico focus. Course registration must be made in consultation with the Graduate Advisor in Latin American & Caribbean Studies.
Joint Degree: Master Business Administration/ Master Arts in Latin American & Caribbean Studies
The MBA/MA in LAS allows students to combine a business education with a specific focus on the Latin American geographic area and languages. The opportunity to be involved in international business is growing at an exponential rate as companies race to serve both national and international customers. Candidates that possess knowledge of foreign language coupled with a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American business arena.
The joint MBA/MA degree program requires 64 credit hours, structured as follows: MBA requirements include 40 credit hours, including foundational courses (16 credits), and business electives (16 credits). CLAS MA requirements include 24 credit hours, including advanced language study (3 credits), disciplinary courses (18 credits), and seminar work (3 credits). For more details, see the MBA-MA LAS Curriculum Guide.