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Master of Arts in Latin American Area Studies

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M.A. Degree Requirements

Course Work

A minimum of 30 graduate credit hours is required in social sciences or humanities courses with Latin American content. At least 18 hours must have 50 to 100 percent of their content dedicated to Latin America. Literature courses with Latin American content at the 500-level or above (except PORT 611 and HAIT 500) may be counted as part of the 30 required hours. Required courses are LAA 700 Introduction to Latin American Library Resources, LAA 701 Interdisciplinary Seminar in Latin American Culture and Problems, and 2 other seminars with at least 50 percent of their content dedicated to Latin America, each in a separate discipline, at the 700 level or above (excluding thesis and readings hours).

Incoming students should enroll in LAA 700 during the first fall semester. All students must consult the graduate adviser before enrollment each semester. Up to 12 graduate hours from the University of Costa Rica may be applied to the M.A. To be eligible, students must have completed one semester of course work at KU and must obtain the graduate adviser’s approval of the UCR courses.

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 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 (SPAN 104 and SPAN 108; PORT 104 and PORT 108), or the equivalent (e.g. PORT 611). Quichua, Kaqchikel Maya, or Haitian Creole may be substituted as the language of reading proficiency with approval of the director.

M.A. Degree Options

Thesis and nonthesis degrees are offered. The thesis degree 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. Students may count up to 6 credit hours of thesis toward the degree.

The nonthesis M.A. degree is suitable for a career in public service or business. The culmination of the nonthesis M.A. is an oral examination during the last semester of the student’s program. The Center of Latin American Studies produces a handout, Nonthesis M.A. Degree Option: Oral Exam Guidelines.

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.

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