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Course Requirements

The course requirements for the Accelerated Master’s in Latin American and Caribbean Studies are fulfilled by a combination of 12 hours of graduate credit courses taken while still an undergraduate degree-seeking student, which count toward both undergraduate and graduate degrees, and 18 hours of graduate credit courses taken in a final year of graduate study. 

The student must be approved to begin coursework toward the Accelerated Master’s prior to enrolling in any courses that are to count for both undergraduate and graduate credit.

Requirements for the B.A. Major (see CLAS page)

A. Language Requirements

The language requirement must be met in one of the following: Spanish, Portuguese, Kaqchikel Maya, K'iche' Maya, Haitian Creole, or Miskitú (through 4th semester or equivalent). See the Academic Course Catalog page for accepted classes. 

B. Core Requirements (9 hours)

Core Courses: (9 hours/3 units) Majors must complete each of the following:

-LAA 100: Latin American Culture and Society

-LAA 300: Interdisciplinary Themes in Latin American Studies 

-LAA 450: Capstone Course in Latin American Studies 

C. Disciplinary Diversity

A minimum of 24 hours (8 different courses) is required. These courses may also be used toward a minor. Students must take 9 hours in two of the following disciplinary groups. The remaining 6 hours can be taken in any disciplinary group. No more than 9 hours can be taken at the 100-200 level. See the LA&CS Catalog Page for approved courses: 



-Spanish American Literature and Culture 

-Music, Film, Arts

-Geography and Environment

-Politics, Society, Business and Economy

-Transatlantic and Transnational

-Latino/a and Caribbean Culture

-Methodology and Theory (maximum 6 hours in this cateogory)

D. Hours and Major GPA

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards. Students earning a duble major must have 15 hours unique to each major. Minimum major requirements: 33 hours. 

See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator


Requirements for the M.A. Degree 

In addition to the 12 credit hours of graduate coursework taken while an undergraduate, students must complete an additional 18 credit hours of graduate coursework, for a total of 30 hours of graduate credit. In the final year of graduate study, students in the Accelerated program will complete the following master’s degree requirements:

A. Area Content

15 credit hours (at least two courses per semester) with 50% Latin American / Caribbean content at the 700 level or above. LAA 701 is strongly recommended. Whether taken while still completing the undergraduate degree or during the final year of graduate study, area content courses must:

  • Be drawn from at least two separate disciplines AND
  • Include a “specialization cluster” of at least 9 hours 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
B. Research Hours

3 Research Hours (LAA 899)

C. 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 conducted in Spanish (or with significant readings in Spanish) 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.

Please go to http://clacs.ku.edu/courses to view a complete listing of graduate courses. The course list is updated every semester prior to enrollment.  

M.A. Degree Options

Thesis and nonthesis (comparative research paper) degree options are offered. 

The thesis option 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 preparation (LAA 899). A student may enroll in as many as 6 thesis credit hours of LAA 899 for the thesis option, but this will probably extend the time of the accelerated MA degree.

The comparative research paper option is particularly suitable for a career in the public or private sector. Students take 3 credits of LAA 899 with their chair. The research topic must consist of an interdisciplinary analysis of a broad issue that goes beyond the student’s coursework and involves more than one country for purposes of comparison. The culmination of the comparative research paper M.A. is an oral examination during the last semester of the program. The student will form a committee of three faculty members for the oral examination.

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. Students must prepare a research paper and successfully pass an oral defense of that paper to the satisfaction of an M.A. examination committee. For more information, please refer to the Graduate Student Handbook.

Progression Requirements

Given the accelerated nature of this program, each student’s progress will be closely monitored at various points during the program:

  1. Once approved to begin graduate coursework in the Junior year, the student will meet with the LA&CS Academic Director of Graduate Studies and the Undergraduate Advisor for Global and International Studies to plan the final year of undergraduate study.
  2. In the final semester of undergraduate study, the Director of Graduate Studies will review the student’s performance in all graduate LA&CS coursework. The student must earn a B or better in each of these courses to be eligible for regular graduate admission.  
  3. Following completion and award of the undergraduate degree, the admitted student will again meet with the Director of Graduate Studies to review the courses taken in the final year of undergraduate study and review/update the course plan for the final year of graduate study. The student’s performance in the final semester of graduate courses taken as an undergraduate will be evaluated.  
  4. The student will not be permitted to enroll in additional courses for graduate credit toward the LA&CS MA degree until the baccalaureate degree has been conferred.
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