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FAQ

Do I need to take the GRE?

For applications for Academic Year 2020-21 and onwards, the GRE general test scores are optional and no longer a requirement. Please visit the How to Apply webpage for detailed information regarding application materials.

If you believe your GRE score will supplement your application, you may choose to include it. Your application will not be adversely affected by choosing not to submit a GRE score. 

What is the minimum GPA required for admission?

There is no minimum grade point average required for admission to the M.A. in Latin American Studies, though strong applications usually include strong GPAs as well.

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

If you have completed an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree either at a U.S.-accredited institution or at a foreign institution in which the primary language of instruction was English, you do not need to take the TOEFL.

If your previous degree is from an institution outside the U.S. where the primary language of instruction was not English, you must take the TOEFL.

Please consult the Graduate Admissions website for additional information about the TOEFL requirement.

What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?

Evidence of adequate English proficiency must be submitted before enrollment is approved by Graduate Admissions. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions are:

Internet-based TOEFL: 100

What are the application requirements?

A complete application includes the following:

  • Online application (accessed via the Grad Admissions website)

  • Statement of Purpose (no more than 500 words; submitted online)

  • Resume or CV (submitted online)

  • Academic writing sample in English (2,500 - 3,750 words; submitted online)

  • Three letters of recommendation (submitted online)

  • Official transcripts (1 unofficial copy of each must be scanned and submitted online with your application. 1 official copy of each from all institutions attended must be submitted directly to Graduate Admissions. )

  • Official GRE General Test scores (optional; sent directly from ETS)

  • Official TOEFL scores (if applicable; sent directly from ETS)

It is stated that proficiency in Spanish or Portuguse is required for admission. What is the level of proficiency expected of applicants? Are all of the courses taught in English?

Students do not need to be native speakers but should have a proficient knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese so that they are fairly confident in being able to both converse and read in Spanish and/or Portuguese. All required courses are taught in English (except for language courses), however, some content (readings, films, lectures) may be in Spanish or Portuguese on occasion (most often Spanish when this occurs).

The application requirements state that applicants must have "some experience studying, working, or otherwise living in Latin America or Iberia." How important is this criteria for consideration?

While there is no set standard for the type of connection a student has with Latin America or Iberia, consideration will be given for those students with a history of having worked, lived, and/or studied in Latin America or Iberia.

Where should I send supplementary materials?

Stanford is no longer accepting paper supplementary materials. Applicants are expected to upload scanned copies of all their materials, including unofficial copies of transcripts, to their online applications.

Official transcripts are also required upon admittance into the program, and should be delivered either via Certified Electronic Transcript or official hardcopy via mail directly to Graduate Admissions.

  • For Certified Electronic Transcripts: they must be passcode protected, digitally signed, and properly certified by the issuing institution are required and are sent only from the issuing institution or its authorized agent.

Current Stanford undergrads: your statement of purpose and letters of recommendation should be submitted along with the rest of your online application.

Application Fee Waiver

Fee waivers are available for some applicants. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on applying for an Application Fee Waiver.

I am a current Stanford undergrad and am interested in the M.A. in Latin American Studies. How should I apply?

DO NOT access the standard online application for Stanford graduate programs. Instead, you will submit your application online.

All supplementary materials listed under the application requirements above are also required for Coterm applicants. Completed applications will be accepted online only.

For more information and resources about Coterminal degree programs at Stanford, consult the Coterm section of the Stanford Undergrad Advising and Research website.

I have a paper that I’d like to submit as my writing sample, but I wrote it in Spanish (or Portuguese). Is this okay?

No, the Latin American Studies admissions committee will only accept writing samples in English.

What type of writing sample should I submit?

The sample should be an academic essay  written in English (i.e. a final term paper, a chapter from an undergraduate thesis, undergraduate capstone paper, a paper submitted for publishing, etc.) and the content does not need to be related to Latin America. Applicants who no longer have access to materials from their undergraduate career, will need to write one that meets the application requirement.

Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

CLAS strongly recommends that at least two of the letters of recommendation be from former or current professors who can speak about your academic strengths. CLAS also recommends that at least one letter from a professor in your major. However, letters from professional contacts will also be considered.

Can my recommendation letters be written in Spanish or Portuguese?

Yes, the Latin American Studies admissions committee accepts letters of recommendation written in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

I attended school where the primary language was not English. Do my transcripts need to be translated?

Yes, if an institution you attended issues transcripts in a language other than English, originals must be submitted along with official translations.

Please consult the Graduate Admissions website for more information about transcript requirements.
 

Is there a specific undergraduate degree required for admission?

Stanford Graduate Admissions requires that applicants have completed (or expect to complete before enrollment) a bachelor’s degree (or the foreign equivalent). The Center for Latin American Studies welcomes applicants with degrees in any discipline. Previously admitted students have entered with degrees in fields including but not limited to International Relations, Art, Spanish, Political Science, Environmental Studies, and Anthropology.

Please note that applicants with undergraduate degrees in Latin American Studies are generally not encouraged to apply, since the M.A. in Latin American Studies at Stanford is designed as an introduction to the discipline. Exceptions may occasionally be made for applicants to joint (J.D.-M.A.) or dual (M.D.-M.A. or M.B.A.-M.A.) degree programs.

Applicants are required to be proficient in Spanish or Portuguese and have some experience studying, working, or otherwise living in Latin America or Iberia prior to admission.

I already have a masters degree. Am I eligible to apply?

In general, applicants who have already completed an advanced degree are not encouraged to apply to the M.A. in Latin American Studies. However, the program may be appropriate for an applicant whose previous advanced degree is in a very different field, such as business, engineering, or fine art.

What courses can I take for the M.A. degree in Latin American Studies?

All students take the same three core courses: one each in Culture and Society; Environment, Ecology, and Sustainability; and Political Economy. Core courses may vary slightly from year to year but can be expected to be very similar (if not identical). Click here to see the Core Courses offered in the current school year.

Students must take three related courses, one in each of the three areas listed above or, if a concentration is desired,  take the three related courses in one of those areas, from an approved related course list. Course offerings vary somewhat from year to year but can be expected to be similar. Click here to see approved Related Courses offered in the current school year.

Beyond the core courses, related courses, and weekly guest-speaker seminar, students are free to choose elective courses from across the university’s offerings. Elective courses must be approved by Latin American Studies but need not be included on the official related course list. Students may opt to write a masters thesis in lieu of some or all of their elective course units.

What financial support is available? How can I apply for funding?

The Center for Latin American Studies provides several graduate fellowships as well as limited course assistantships with the Tinker Visiting Professors each quarter. US and international M.A. applicants who wish to be considered for financial support during the admissions review process can simply indicate this when prompted on the online application.

U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, and permanent residents of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands are eligible to apply for a FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellowship. Please see the FLAS Fellowships page for information and application instructions (a separate application is required). Note that the FLAS fellowships are contingent upon funding from the US Department of Education.

Do you have a part time M.A. degree option?

The Stanford Latin American Studies Master's program is a full-time program. We do not have a part time option at this time.

I still have questions. Whom can I contact?

For general questions about Stanford graduate admissions, contact Graduate Admissions.

For issues regarding the application system ( i.e. login issues, changing a recommender), please visit the ApplyWeb FAQ page.

For further questions about the M.A. in Latin American Studies,  please contact CLAS Academic and Student Services at latinamerica [at] stanford.edu (latinamerica[at]stanford[dot]edu)