The University of Chicago | Graduate Admissions

Latin American & Caribbean Studies - MA

Division: Social Sciences
Degree Type: MA

Program Description

The Center for Latin American Studies administers a master's program in Latin American & Caribbean Studies. This one-year program of graduate study provides students with a thorough knowledge of the cultures, history, politics, and languages of the region. Students benefit from various resources that put the University of Chicago at the forefront of research and scholarship on Latin America, including world renowned faculty, top quality library resources, graduate workshops, and field research grant opportunities.

The master's program attracts students who benefit from interdisciplinary training in a highly individualized and flexible program. Each student works closely with faculty and the program advisor to design a customized curriculum, define an area of scholarly research, and write a master's paper. Students take advantage of the program's flexibility to advance their academic and/or career objectives before making a major professional or educational commitment. Some students approach a research interest from a multidisciplinary perspective. Others strengthen their training in a single discipline as it relates to Latin American & Caribbean Studies, or explore new fields.

The master's program provides students with the opportunity to develop and enhance skills and knowledge appropriate for careers related to Latin America or as preparation for further graduate work or professional training. Graduates of the program enter or return to careers for which the master's degree is increasingly an entry level requirement, including secondary and higher education, government, NGOs, business, and various cultural and nonprofit organizations. Others enter doctoral and professional degree programs with support and advice from Latin American & Caribbean Studies staff and faculty.

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Application Method

Applications should be initiated through the online application. Paper applications are not accepted.


Deadline for admissions and financial aid: January 5

The Center for Latin American Studies admits applicants once a year for the following Autumn Quarter. Applications received after the deadline cannot be considered.

Campus Visits

Campus visits and interviews are not required. Contact the department for more information.

Degree Objective

The Center for Latin American Studies admits applicants only for the MA program.

Application Requirements

  1. Online Application Form
  2. Non-refundable application fee Fee waiver information »
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. GRE and TOEFL Scores
  5. Statement of Academic Purpose
  6. Resume/CV
  7. Writing Sample
  8. Transcripts

Admissions Decisions

Admissions decisions are emailed in early March. Direct all questions about your application directly to the admissions office.

Program Requirements

Upon entering the program, students work under the academic direction of the CLAS Lecturer to develop a specific program of study, cultivate their research interests, and identify a faculty advisor for their master's paper. The basic components of the master's program are described below.

Language Requirement

A fundamental requirement of the program is proficiency in one of the spoken languages (other than English) of Latin America and the Caribbean, equivalent to five quarters of study at the University of Chicago. Students are required to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen language upon matriculation into the program.

The Master's Paper

In addition to the course requirements outlined above, every master's degree candidate is required to submit a master's paper. This paper is meant to demonstrate the student's ability to apply formal training in Latin American & Caribbean studies toward a specific research problem developed over the course of the program.

Course Requirements

The standard course requirement is nine quarter courses, to be met by taking (1) the Master's Proseminar in Latin American Studies, (2) five courses in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and (3) three disciplinary elective courses. Most students fulfill the language requirement through placement examination and complete the master's program in three quarters of coursework. In consultation with the Program Advisor, the student selects three elective courses suited to individual curricular interests. These courses may be selected from the offerings in the divisions and professional schools of the University.

Costs & Financial Aid

For information on the estimated cost of attendance, please visit the Social Sciences Division website.

Loans for Domestic Students

Admitted students may need to apply for loans (private or federally supported) and/or the federal work-study program to cover any tuition and living expenses not covered by a University award. If you need to subsidize your graduate studies through loans and/or work-study, you will need to complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for student loans through the University's Student Loan Administration. Visit the Student Loan Administration to download loan forms and to search the frequently asked questions. Students admitted for Autumn Quarter who wish to be considered for a student loan should submit a loan application to the SLA office by the May 15 priority deadline; notifications concerning loan approval are sent out in the summer. SLA also determines eligibility for the work-study program, but job assignments cannot be made until the student is actually on campus.

Merit-based Scholarships and Fellowships

All applicants who indicate on the graduate application that they would like to be considered for financial aid will be reviewed for merit-based scholarships and fellowships; there are no separate forms to complete. The Division of the Social Sciences has limited resources, which are allocated based on the criteria of academic record and scholarly promise; financial need and United States citizenship are not factors. We offer a limited number of partial tuition scholarships (one-third tuition, one-half tuition, two-thirds tuition) along with a very small number of full-tuition awards. Students who we admit without a financial award or with partial tuition scholarships pay the balance of tuition from a combination of their own resources and educational loans.

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