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Academics: Prospective: Ph.D. Application & Admission Guidelines

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Program Prerequisites:

A master's degree in one of the chosen concentrations or in Latin American Studies with appropriate areas of concentration is required. Specific entrance requirements may vary depending on the student's intended concentration and students may be required to make up deficiencies with courses that do not count toward the Ph.D.

Program Concentrations:

Each application for admission is screened by the Interdisciplinary Committee on Latin American Studies (ICLAS) and the departments of the projected concentrations before being approved by the Associate Director.

Students choose two concentrations from the following: Anthropology, Art History, Brazilian Literature, Built Environment, Communication, Economics, Geography and Environmental Studies, History, International Management, Political Science, Public Health, Sociology, Spanish American Literature, or Spanish Linguistics.

A student who is deemed sufficiently meritorious may be admitted to the program without the necessary prerequisite training, but with the understanding that any prerequisite requirements will be completed and will not be counted toward the minimal course requirements.


  • Fall Semester:
    • January 1 (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 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 academic background and interests, including previous research and faculty associations. The letter should include professional experience and objectives, and any other factors bearing upon qualifications for graduate work related to Latin American area studies. The letter should specifically address career goals, a justification of the need for interdisciplinary studies to meet those goals, including both intellectual and job market considerations, and a preliminary description of the projected dissertation topic that clarifies the necessary integration of two or more disciplines. Applications that do not address all of these issues may not be reviewed. If there are any weaknesses in the application file such as poor grades, lack of previous Latin American studies coursework, or low GRE scores, applicants should address those in the letter. Applicants with professional, volunteer or travel experience in Latin American should include a discussion of such experience in the Letter of Intent. The discussion should demonstrate an understanding of Latin American issues accompanied by an ability to apply this understanding in an academic setting. A discussion of the applicant's recent personal growth and potential is encouraged. This is a more subjective criterion, but is based on our desire for committed and motivated students. Such students have already begun their intellectual development, and have real potential to continue that development in this program and beyond as a Latin American area studies professional. In your letter, please indicate the two areas of concentration you wish to pursue if admitted to the program. Finally, the letter of intent should also include a justification of the need for interdisciplinary studies to meet those goals, including both intellectual and job market considerations, and a preliminary description of the dissertation project that clarifies the necessary integration of two or more disciplines.
  3. A writing sample of approximately -15-25 pages in length. The sample may be a previously submitted term paper or an original essay, but should represent recent work. This requirement provides the applicant with the opportunity to demonstrate research and analytical abilities, as well as capacity to work across disciplines. It may be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
  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