The Master of Arts (MA) in Latin American Studies (MALAS) offers students the opportunity to explore the cultures, languages, histories, and societies of Latin America. The program provides students access to a large and diverse faculty, selecting content drawn from over thirty departments and nine Colleges/Schools at UNM. The program encourages students to design an interdisciplinary program of study that reflect their particular interests. LAS concentrations allow students to customize their individual program of study to best suit their academic and professional goals while also developing valuable research skills and in-depth knowledge. The MALAS is used by some students to prepare for graduate training in a specific discipline at the PhD level or in a professional school. Other students use the MALAS as an entry-level degree for careers in government service, teaching, business, travel and tourism, advocacy, or inter-American organizations.
The MALAS program requires 36 credit hours of coursework and the completion of either a thesis (Plan I) or a capstone project/comprehensive examination (Plan II) in their chosen concentration from the list below:
- Arts, Literature, & Cultural Studies
- Conflict, Peace, & Rights
- Environmental governance & resilience
- History & Society
- Indigeneity in the Americas
- Markets & Development
Plan I: Students must take LTAM 510: Pro-Seminar in Latin American Studies (3 credit hours), concentration courses (21 credit hours), elective courses (6 credit hours), and LTAM 599: Master's Thesis (6 credit hours). Three credit hours from the chosen concentration requirement must be devoted to a methods course that advances the student's inquiry of study. Plan I students present an oral defense of the thesis, which integrates their chosen concentration with field research or other forms of original research, before a thesis committee.
Plan II: Students must take LTAM 510: Pro-Seminar in Latin American Studies (3 credit hours), concentration courses (21 credit hours), elective courses (9 credit hours), and LTAM 551: Master's Problems (3 credit hours). Three credit hours from the chosen concentration requirement must be devoted to a methods course that advances the student's inquiry of study. Plan II students complete a capstone project or comprehensive examination focused on the concentration area. The exit requirement is overseen by a Committee on Studies composed of three faculty members.
A Few Details
All students are required to take at least four graduate seminars (12 credit hours).
Either exit requirement, Plan I or Plan II, is overseen by a Committee on Studies composed of three faculty members.
Please see the student handbook for more information about deadlines and program requirements.
Arts, Literature & Cultural Studies
From the visual and performing arts to literature, language, and cultural studies, this concentration offers graduate students the opportunity to explore historical and contemporary Latin American cultural contributions. Through coursework that spans the arts, humanities, and social sciences, students focus on the critical study of creative expressions, thoughts, practices, and products in relation to social, political, historical, and economic contexts. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the departments of Anthropology, Art & Art History, Film and Digital Arts, Music, and Spanish and Portuguese, among others. In addition to preparing students for academic careers, the concentration provides excellent training for those interested in creative and critical writing, museums, arts administration, performance, heritage conservation, and related fields.
Conflict, Peace & Rights
This concentration introduces students to the interdisciplinary and comparative study of conflict, law, human rights, and related subjects in Latin America. Coursework examines the causes, practices, and consequences of violence as well as nonviolent methods of conflict management, resolution, and transformation. Students explore how human conflict in Latin America has been shaped by various socio-economic, cultural, political, and historical factors. This concentration is particularly suited to research and applied careers in the fields of law and governance in the Americas. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the UNM Anthropology, Art, Communication and Journalism, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese departments, as well as from the UNM School of Law. The concentration is recommended for students participating in the MALAS/JD dual degree program.
Environmental Governance & Resilience
This concentration allows students to explore the complex dynamics of coupled human-environment systems in Latin America. Courses in this concentration address the unprecedented global challenges of ensuring food security, increasing demands for energy and water, and preventing environmental degradation, all in the face of climate change. Students gain exposure to resilience-based research and applications that address pressing societal challenges, including climate change, demographic shifts and infrastructure, human health and biology, sustainable food-water-energy systems, and social and economic inequalities. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the departments of Anthropology, Communication & Journalism, Community & Regional Planning, Geography & Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Sociology, as well as from the School of Public Administration and the College of Population Health. The concentration is recommended for students participating in the MALAS/MCRP dual degree program, the MALAS/MPH dual degree program, or for those pursuing a career in health-related fields.
History & Society
This concentration allows students to develop an integrated program of historical inquiry focusing on Latin America. Students benefit from interdisciplinary grounding in methods of historical research and textual criticism, cultural heritage and museum studies, anthropology, historical geography, digital humanities, oral history, and visual methods. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the departments of Anthropology, Art & Art History, Geography and Environmental Studies, History, Museum Studies, Spanish and Portuguese, among other departments. The concentration allows for the study of pre-Columbian through Modern periods of Latin American history and provides an excellent foundation for further academic study in history and related fields, in addition to preparing students for applied careers in history, cultural resource management, and museums.
Indigeneity in the Americas
This concentration provides students with a foundation in ethical, theoretical, and empirical frameworks critical to a deeper understanding of Indigenous issues. Coursework explores diverse cultural traditions, the legacies of colonialism, social movements, belief systems, and political ecologies that shape the experience of Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the departments of Anthropology, Art & Art History, Community and Regional Planning, History, Linguistics, and Spanish and Portuguese departments, as well as from the UNM School of Law. The concentration also draws on UNM’s outstanding resources as a premier research institution within the Indigenous Southwest, offering students the unique opportunity for comparative Hemispheric study.
Markets & Development
This concentration provides students with an interdisciplinary background in the theories and methods necessary to understand economic, political, and development issues within Latin America. Students will learn the skills of a connector and translator in the world economy. This concentration introduces students to development practices and patterns in Latin America, including how markets emerged and how they function as well as how public and private spaces are governed and administered. Coursework is selected from, but not limited to, the departments of Economics, Geography and Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Sociology departments, as well as from the Anderson School of Management and the School of Public Administration. The concentration is recommended for students participating in the MALAS/MBA dual degree program.