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Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements - Academic Year 2023-24

The one-year program requires completion of 45 graduate units, excluding the language requirement. Upon entering, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who works with the student to develop a customized program of study. Students are required to take three core courses in three fields of specialization, select three more courses in any of the three fields from the related curriculum of approved courses, and select three elective courses in any field from across the university's offerings. The fields of specialization are Culture and Society; Environment, Ecology and Sustainability; and Political Economy.

Core Courses for 2023-24

Political Economy:

POLISCI 348S: Latin American Politics (Winter 2024, 5 units)

Culture and Society:

 HISTORY 371: Graduate Colloquium: Explorations in Latin American History and Historiography (Autumn 2023, 5 units)

Environment, Ecology and Sustainability:

HISTORY 378: The Historical Ecology of Latin America (Spring 2024, 5 units)


Related Courses

Students must take a minimum of 15 units in three courses, selecting from the three fields of specialization (Culture and Society; Environment, Ecology and Sustainability; or Political Economy) in the related curriculum with the consent of the faculty advisor.

Elective Courses

Students select three elective courses (9-15 units) across the Stanford curriculum, with the agreement of one's faculty advisor,  to further inform the students' own academic interest.

Language Requirement

Students must take at least 3 units of coursework in a second Latin American language (i.e. Spanish, Portuguese, Nahuatl, Quechua, Haitian Creole). Students must take either an advanced third year language course if they are proficient in both Spanish and Portuguese, or take a basic course in a language in which they do not possess competence (i.e Nahuatl, Quechua). Up to 6 units of foreign language coursework may be applied toward the M.A. degree under the elective category. All foreign language coursework must be taken at the 100-level or higher.

Seminar Requirements

Students enroll each quarter in a one-unit seminar: LATINAM200 Seminar on Contemporary Issues in Latin American Studies where invited scholars present lectures on major Latin American themes and topics, followed by questions and discussion.

Students enroll in one-unit writing seminar: LATINAM397 Graduate Writing Seminar for Latin American Studies, which is designed to to aid students in fulfilling their MA in Latin American Studies capstone research paper or thesis requirement.

Unit Requirement

The program requires completion of a minimum of 45 graduate units, excluding the language requirement.  All courses for the M.A. degree must be at the 100-level or higher, with at least half being at the 200-level or higher

MA Capstone Paper Requirement

Each student will have the opportunity to present a topic of research at the CLAS- sponsored symposium held in Spring quarter, 2024.  A final capstone research paper must be submitted to latinamerica [at] (subject: Capstone%2FThesis%20Submission) (CLAS) & online submission to the Stanford Digital Repository.Students may register for up to 3 units of capstone research under the guidance of an Academic Council faculty member. 3 capstone units may be counted toward the elective unit requirements.

Thesis Option

Students may elect to write a master's thesis; they may register for up to 10 units of thesis research under the guidance of an Academic Council faculty member. Thesis units may be counted toward the elective field unit requirements. Please consult the Academic and Student Services Officer for enrollment instructions.

Grade Requirements*

All courses to be counted toward the M.A. must be taken for a letter grade and earn a 'B-' or better. M.A. candidates must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The only exceptions are LATINAM200, LATINAM397, LATINAM398, Law School Courses, and courses in the Graduate School of Business (GSB).

Latin American Studies students may petition a course for consideration by submitting a LAS Related-Course Petition Form (see attachment below).

For further information: 

Contact CLAS Academic and Student Services at latinamerica [at] (subject: MA%20application%20inquiry) (latinamerica[at]stanford[dot]edu)


MA Handbook

Consult the handbook for program -specific policies, procedures, and information to successfully navigate your degree.

2023-24 MA Handbook (550.98 KB)

Program Forms

Helpful Stanford Resources

Students Resources from the School of Humanities and Sciences