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Academics: Prospective: M.A. Application & Admission Guidelines

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General Admission Requirements

The MALAS requires a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years. Applicants to the program should be able to demonstrate background work on Latin America in the social sciences and humanities. At least 4 semesters of undergraduate coursework (or equivalent training) in either Spanish or Portuguese are required prior to admission to the master's program.


  • Fall Semester:
    • January 1 (international students with consideration for graduate assistantship)
    • February 1 (domestic students with consideration for graduate assistantship)
    • April 1 (without consideration for graduate assistantship)
  • Spring Semester
    • November 1 (without consideration for graduate assistantship)
  • Summer Semester
    • April 1 (without consideration for graduate assistantship)

Students are rarely admitted for the Summer semester because course offerings are typically limited in this semester.

Application Materials

The University of New Mexico uses a university-wide online system for graduate applications. All applicants are now required to use this system and all application materials, including those that are specific to Latin American Studies (i.e. letter of intent, GRE scores, and writing sample), will be submitted through this system. Recommenders will need to submit their letters of recommendation through the new system as well. Applications can be submitted here, Within the application, make sure to click the Application Instructions to see LAS program specific requirements.

All required application materials must be received by the stipulated deadline. Dual degree applicants must also submit an application and related materials to their second degree program.

International students should consult here for more information on UNM requirements for admission.

Via the online application system, all students will submit the following:

  1. Transcripts from each institution attended by the applicant.
  2. A letter of intent that clearly and concisely describes:
    • the applicant's professional objectives,
    • two intended areas of concentration in the MALAS program,
    • and how these areas support their professional objectives.
    • The letter should demonstrate an understanding of Latin American issues and an ability to apply this understanding in an academic setting. Applicants should discuss their relevant qualifications, both academic and experiential, including
    • academic background and interests, previous research, and faculty associations;
    • relevant professional, volunteer, or travel experience in Latin America;
    • recent relevant personal growth that speaks to the applicants' commitment to goals or to Latin American concerns;
    • an explanation of any weaknesses in the application file such as poor grades, lack of previous Latin American studies coursework, or low GRE scores.
  3. A writing sample of approximately 5 - 15 pages in length that demonstrates the applicant's research and analytical abilities, as well as capacity to work across disciplines. It may be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese. Applicants are advised to submit recent work, whether a previously-submitted term paper or an original essay.
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Applicants should use the GRE area studies code (2201) listed under departmental codes. If you receive an error message when entering 2201, type in "Area Studies." If you still receive an error message, contact GRE staff directly at . Students applying to dual degree programs with Law, Business Administration, or Public Health may submit their LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT scores, respectively, in lieu of the GRE.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from academic references that address the applicant's past academic performance including analytical abilities, language proficiency, and potential for success in graduate studies. If an applicant requests a letter from a professional reference, the letter should address analytical abilities and professional qualifications relevant to Latin American area studies.
  6. Current Curriculum Vitae/Résumé

Honors/MA Shared-Credit Admission

In collaboration with the Honors College, Latin American Studies offers a Shared-Credit Degrees program in which Honors College students can earn both the Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies in five years. For more information, please refer to Honors/MA Shared-Credit Admission.