MA in Latin American Studies

The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (LAS) prepares students for work in the private sector, government, policy and research think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, international institutions, and education. It is a versatile and rigorous one-year program that provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the regional context, languages, dynamics, and issues in Latin America today.

Applicants should preferably have a bachelor’s degree in the humanities or social sciences. Applicants whose undergraduate coursework has been in other fields will also be considered if they can demonstrate commitment to and knowledge of Latin America through their career or extracurricular experiences.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate intermediate-level proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and oral comprehension of Spanish and/or Portuguese or another regional language.
  • Students will demonstrate advanced knowledge of Latin America (history, literature, politics, economics, culture, and social involvements) and do so within an inter-American and global perspective.
  • Students will demonstrate understanding of the shared traditions that unite Latin America, as well as the cultural and societal differences of the varied parts of the region.

Course Requirements

The MA in Latin American Studies requires a total of eight courses (32 credits). In addition to the course requirements listed below, remaining credits should be fulfilled through approved elective courses. At least one elective course must come from history or the social sciences, and at least one must come from literature, culture, or art history. The website for the Center for Latin American Studies has additional information on research methods course options, as well as electives.

  • GRS IR 713 Latin America: Past and Present (4 cr)
  • One 4-credit research methods course chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor

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 student’s choosing is determined by examination by BU language instructors. Students must pass this examination in order to complete the degree. Students should consult with the Assistant Director of the Center for Latin American Studies regarding arrangements for their language exam.

Master’s Paper

Students write a Master’s Paper (commonly referred to as an MA Paper) as the capstone component of their degree. The paper may take one of two forms: either a traditional research paper or a policy paper. Students are given broad latitude in selecting topics and approaches, in consultation with their advisors. Students are expected to confirm a Paper Advisor approximately five weeks after the start of their first term.

All MA Papers must be defended orally in front of a panel of three professors, chosen by the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies (one of the three professors will be the student’s advisor). The purpose of the oral examination is to test the student’s knowledge in the area of research related to the MA Paper as well as the student’s ability to discuss that knowledge at length in a clear and compelling manner.

Graduate Certificate in Latin American Studies