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Academics: Current: Graduate Ph.D. in Latin American Studies

The Ph.D. in Latin American Studies is a small and highly selective program designed to prepare students for a limited number of targeted careers that are best advanced by an inter-disciplinary doctorate. Such students would include individuals who seek employment in small colleges where the ability to teach across disciplines would be an advantage and those who seek non-academic positions in fields such as museum work, academic library curatorship, international cultural exchange, diplomacy, policy studies, or other roles in which having skills in two disciplines, combined with Latin American area expertise, would be more useful than more extensive training within one discipline.

Students primarily interested in academic employment in research institutions will generally be better served by earning a doctorate within a single discipline and may find that an interdisciplinary doctoral degree poses a significant disadvantage, especially in the social sciences. Candidates should be familiar with the preferred degrees for their desired careers before applying to the Ph.D. program.

Degree Requirements

General University rules and regulations pertaining to graduate study at the University of New Mexico are detailed in the The Graduate Program section of this Catalog. The Latin American Studies Handbook is updated each year and provides more in-depth information to students in the LAS program. Students are responsible for knowing and abiding by the rules laid out in the UNM Catalog and the Latin American Studies Handbook.

The Ph.D. in Latin American Studies requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate course work, plus an additional 18 dissertation credit hours, for a total of 66 credit hours.

Students choose 2 concentrations for a total of 42 credit hours, plus 6 credit hours of elective courses. The concentrations include Anthropology, Art History, Brazilian Literature, Built Environment (School of Architecture and Planning), Communication, Economics, Geography and Environmental Studies, History, International Management (Anderson School of Management), Political Science, Public Health (School of Medicine), Sociology, Spanish-American Literature, and Spanish Linguistics. Students can choose 21 credit hours in each concentration, so that both concentrations have equal weight, or 15-27 credit hours in each, with a primary and secondary concentration.

Of the 48 total credit hours required for the Ph.D., a minimum of 24 credit hours must be taken after admission to the doctoral program. The Associate Director for Academic Programs must approve any course work taken at the master's level and applied towards the Ph.D.

Competence is required in one Latin American language by the time of degree completion. Competence in more than one Latin American language may be critical in certain areas of study. As such, some concentrations may require competence in a second language. For details, see the Latin American Studies Handbook. Competence is considered to be successful completion of advanced-level course work, or passing a language proficiency examination. Students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in Latin America or Iberia satisfy the language requirements.

A Committee on Studies (COS) must be formed at least one semester before the student plans to take comprehensive examinations. The COS is composed of at least two members from each concentration. The student creates a reading list in consultation with all members of his or her COS, and the committee approves the list the semester prior to the scheduled exam. The comprehensive examinations are coordinated and administered by the Latin American Studies program in conjunction with the student's COS.


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