About Graduate Programs


Master of Arts in Latin American Studies

Why Get an MA in Latin American Studies?

In today’s increasingly globalized world, Latin America is a region of key concern to business leaders, health-care professionals, policy makers, and academics, and an MA in Latin American Studies will help you stand out no matter what your future plans are!  As an interdisciplinary field, our students not only gain a deep understanding of Latin American as a region, but they develop the tool kit necessary to be successful in a verity of exciting and dynamic fields.

Why get your MA in Latin American Studies with CLACS - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the premier centers for the study of Latin American in the world.  With over 140 affiliated faculty members in 40 departments throughout campus, students have an almost limitless range of possibilities to design a highly individualized degree program to meet their specific needs and interests.  Furthermore, CLACS has affiliations with more than 60 institutions throughout Latin America giving our MA students unprecedented ability to engage in field research through the region.  In addition, our MA students are eligible to apply for FLAS funding to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses while enrolled in the program.  The Urbana-Champaign area also has the vibrant night-life of a bourgeoning city but with a low cost of living which makes UIUC an excellent place to get your MA degree.

What do Latin American Studies Majors do After Graduation?

Our MA students go on to compete very successfully in the academic and job markets.  The majority of our graduates continue onto PhD programs at top tier schools such as The University of Chicago, MIT, Brown, and Rutgers among others.  Another 18% of our graduates go into jobs in higher education while 14% find jobs in the private sector with the law and healthcare industries being our two biggest employers.  The rest of our alumni are evenly split between K-12 education, government work, and non-profits.

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Click here for information on how to apply to the University of Illinois Graduate College, Program of Study: MA in Latin American Studies. Master's application frequently asked questions

Application priority dates: January 15th, 2020. Rolling applications after.

Requirements: Minimum 40 hours, 12 of which must be 500-level courses

  • Required Course: Interdisciplinary Seminar in Latin American Studies (LAST 550) - 4 hours
    This course is specifically designed for students in the Latin American Studies M.A. program and examines the interconnections among research approaches and problems in the field of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.
  • Electives: 24 hours in 400- and 500-level courses which focus on Latin America or the Caribbean from at least three different departments or instructional units. At least 8 of these hours must be taken in one (primary) discipline.
  • Theory or Research Methods: 4 hours in 400- or 500-level course on theory or research methods appropriate to the student's objectives and primary discipline.
  • MA Research-Writing Requirement: LAST 599 (Thesis Research) - 4 hours
    Before registering for LAST 599, students need to choose an MA committee composed of 2 faculty members: The Advisor and instructor of LAST 599 who serves as supervisor of the research writing project and a second reader. The committee meets with the student at least once upon concluding a draft of the MA thesis or research papers for assessment and approval.
  • Language Proficiency Requirement: Demonstration of a communicative competence in Spanish, Portuguese, or language indigenous to Latin America (excluding English) equivalent to six semesters' of undergraduate work. This competence must cover the three skills of comprehension, oral production, and reading. Such proficiency can be demonstrated through testing by the appropriate department.
    Proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese will be tested by the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese through procedures developed by that department. Students can also demonstrate language proficiency by completion of 8 graduate hours in 400- or 500-level coursework with a grade of B or higher taught in the target language.
  • Language Training: Students may use 4 hours graduate hours at the 400-level or above for language training.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher.

For further questions, please contact CLACS Associate Director, Kasia Szremski (, 217- 300-2231
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Graduate Minor in Latin American Studies

Brief description:

The interdisciplinary graduate minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies promotes training for Master's and Doctoral students in other disciplines interested in complementing their degree program with an interdisciplinary perspective on Latin America and the Caribbean region. There are no prerequisites for the graduate minor. The Center will provide an online admission form to be submitted to the student's advisor for review. The form will require the student's graduate advisor and program director approval. Applicants must be in good standing in a graduate program at the University of Illinois and should demonstrate an interest in Latin American Studies.

The graduate minor in Latin American Studies will require the student to complete 12 graduate hours; 8 of the hours must be at the 500-level.

  • Area Coursework: A minimum of 8 graduate hours at the 400/500-level from courses in two different departments approved by CLACS every semester. The Center updates and posts approved courses in our website and announce them through our listserv. Our Center has approximately 104 faculty affiliated from different departments in campus, and we approve their courses as part of our curriculum. The Center will record the approved courses on a master list to be kept in the unit that will be used to certify that students took approved courses during their studies in the minor.
  • Language Component: At least 4 hours in language coursework taken in any Latin American language (Portuguese, Spanish or Native American Language or Haitian Creole) while enrolled in the Graduate Minor program.
  • In the case that not enough or advance language courses are offered, The Center also accepts as equivalent area courses taught in these languages, i.e. literature class taught in Portuguese or Spanish.
  • If the chosen language course is at the 400-or 500 level it may count towards the required 12 hours for Graduate Minor. We anticipate that students registering in the Minor already have knowledge of Latin American language.
  • If the Student's Master's thesis or doctoral dissertation deals with a country from Latin America and the Caribbean, we advise students in this minor to speak with their advisor about including a committee member from the minor area.
  • We recommend that the courses taken for the minor not be applied to course requirements in the students' Master's or PhD program

The courses must be selected from the CLACS approved list.

Admission to the minor:

A graduate student who selects Latin American and Caribbean Studies as a minor must get approval from CLACS and from his/her home department.

The Center will provide an online admission form to be submitted to the minor's advisor for review. Graduate Minor application Form (Word), (PDF).

Students will be advised at this time that the 12 graduate credits taken for the Graduate Minor cannot be used towards completion of the student's Masters or PhD. The form will require the student's graduate advisor and program director approval. Applicants must be in good standing in a graduate program at the University of Illinois and should demonstrate an interest in Latin American Studies. Students are encouraged to work closely with the student adviser at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies to design their programs. The minor admission process will be monitored by Kasia Szremski (, CLACS Associate Director. .

Minor Advisor:

CLACS Academic Advisor will also be assigned the responsibility of advising graduate minor students. Currently serves as the main adviser for our undergraduate minor and majors as well as our current M.A. student in Latin American Studies. She will be the person responsible, with the Director, to monitor the admission process and to advise students enrolled in the minor.

Certification of successful completion:

Successful completion of the graduate minor will be monitored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Students will need to declare the minor to the Graduate College as soon as they have decided to pursue it and been approved by their departments. Upon completion of the minor requirements and of his/her Master's or doctoral degree, the student will receive a completion document from the Center indicating that he/she has earned a graduate minor in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. It will be the student's responsibility to petition to have the minor added to their transcripts.

For further questions, please contact CLACS at (217) 333-3182 or

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