The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) offers an interdisciplinary MA program to students interested in exploring and advancing knowledge in the histories, cultures, and social, political and economic affairs of the region. Our program is distinguished by its quality and long term national recognition, facilitating graduate research at home and abroad, sponsoring events that promote transcultural competence, and development of outreach resources to regional educators.

Latin American nations account for almost two thirds of the total population of the Western hemisphere. Today, Latinos represent the largest minority group in the United States, accounting for approximately sixteen percent of the population. Knowledge of Latin American and Caribbean culture, environment, and society is crucial to understanding U.S. hemispheric relations and world understanding. For over 50 years, the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS) has provided KU students the opportunity to study this region and its people, and encourage the development of foreign language, research, writing, and critical thinking skills. 

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. 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. Please contact the Graduate Academic Advisor with any additional questions.

KU is situated in Lawrence, Kansas, and is a vibrant college town. The state's flagship university has many resources for academic and financial support. Lawrence has an active arts community, and there are many opportunities for cultural engagement, health & wellness activities, and professional development. Feel free to review KU's comprehensive graduate studies Welcome Guide​.


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 faculty advisor. 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: Comparative Research Paper Guidelines (PDF)

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