MA in Latin American Studies

The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (LAS) is a versatile and rigorous four-semester program that provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the regional context, languages, dynamics, and issues in Latin America today. The program exposes students to a range of facets of Latin America and provides them with in-depth training in chosen Issue Areas.

This MA degree gives students the necessary tools to pursue either professional careers or further academic study. Graduates are well prepared for work in the private sector, government, policy and research think tanks, non-governmental organizations, international institutions, and education.


The MA in Latin American Studies requires 36 credits of coursework at Boston University, distributed among required courses and Issue Area courses (chosen by the student). In addition to coursework at BU, students spend a semester studying abroad in Latin America, compose a Master’s Paper, and fulfill a rigorous foreign language requirement.

Required Courses

  • GRS IR 702    Research Methods for International Relations Practitioners
  • GRS IR 766    Contemporary Issues in Latin America (2 credits)
  • A directed study with the student’s chosen advisor (2 credits)

GRS IR 702 and IR 766 are normally taken during the first semester in the program. The directed study is taken during the final, fourth semester.

Issue Area Courses

Students take four courses in one Issue Area, two in a second Issue Area, and one from any Issue Area. All Issue Area courses must be non-overlapping in content. It is expected that students will take these courses during their first year. The Issue Areas are: Globalization & Development; Politics & Civil Society; U.S. Policy & Inter-American Relations; History & Archaeology; and Literature, Art & Culture. Approved course lists can be found at

Semester Study Abroad

Students spend the first semester of the second year studying abroad. Students are required to complete a minimum of 12 credits at an approved institution in Latin America. To facilitate completion of this requirement, BU has arranged for students to study at the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This program includes three 3-credit courses and a 3-credit internship, to be arranged after arrival in Buenos Aires.

Students with insufficient Spanish skills for graduate study abroad will also need to enroll in an intensive language course offered at the Universidad de Belgrano prior to the start of the regular semester. This language course will not count toward the MA degree and will incur an additional cost for the student.

Students whose language skills are in Portuguese rather than Spanish can work with the LAS Director and BU Study Abroad to identify an appropriate Portuguese language institution.

Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate a high level of competence in either Spanish or Portuguese, including the capability to read, write, and speak the language with sufficient proficiency to understand and be understood. Competence in the foreign language of the students’ choosing is determined by examination by BU language instructors. Students must pass this examination in order to complete the degree.