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Graduate Admissions

LAII: Future Students: Graduate Admissions

In a Latin American Studies program, interdisciplinary training combines with exposure to theoretical and applied approaches, enabling students to bring new perspectives to the study of so-called developing or third world countries. Alumni leave the program prepared to operate with sensitivity and ingenuity in an increasingly intercultural, interdependent world.

The Latin American and Iberian Institute (LAII) administers several graduate degrees in Latin American Studies. Students may pursue the singular MA in Latin American Studies, a dual degree that pairs the MA in Latin American Studies with a professional degree (in Business Administration, Community and Regional Planning, Education, Law, or Public Health), or the PhD in Latin American Studies.


Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the last two years of their undergraduate studies. While applicants are not required to have completed a major or minor in Latin American Studies they should be able to demonstrate some course work on Latin America. At least four semesters of undergraduate coursework (or equivalent training) in either Spanish, Portuguese, or a Latin American indigenous language are required for admission to the master's program. 

Deadlines

Fall Semester Admission:

  • 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 Admission:

  • November 1 (without consideration for graduate assistantship)

Application Materials

UNM uses a university-wide online system in which applicants submit all required materials. Recommenders also submit their letters of recommendation through the online system.

The full, complete application must be submitted by the above stipulated deadlines. Dual degree applicants must also submit an application and related materials to their second degree program.

International students must complete the TOEFL exam and submit translated and authenticated transcripts to the Global Education Office (GEO). GEO has other requirements that students should review by visiting the GEO website. We encourage international students to plan well in advance since it can take considerable time to meet the various requirements.

Via the online application system, both domestic and international students will submit the following:

  • Transcripts from each institution attended by the applicant
  • A letter of intent that clearly and concisely describes:
    • the applicant's professional objectives
    • the two intended areas of concentration the applicant will pursue 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 as well as previous research pursued
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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." 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.
  • 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.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae/Résumé

Applicants are required to possess a master's degree in one of the chosen concentrations available to LAS doctoral students or a master’s degree in Latin American Studies with appropriate course work. Specific entrance requirements may vary depending on the student's intended concentrations and admitted students may be required to make up pre-requisites or deficiencies with courses that do not count toward the credit hours required for the PhD. Each application is reviewed by the LAS admissions committee as well as the departments associated with the projected concentrations.

Deadlines

Fall Semester Admission:

  • 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 Admission:

  • November 1 (without consideration for graduate assistantship)

Application Materials

UNM uses a university-wide online system in which applicants submit all required materials. Recommenders also submit their letters of recommendation through the online system. The full, complete application must be submitted by the above stipulated deadline.

International students must complete the TOEFL exam and submit translated and authenticated transcripts to the Global Education Office (GEO). GEO has other requirements that students should review by visiting the GEO website. We encourage international students to plan well in advance since it can take considerable time to meet the various requirements.

Via the online application system, both domestic and international students will submit the following:

  • Transcripts from each institution attended by the applicant
  • A letter of intent that clearly and concisely describes:
    • the applicant's academic background and interests as well as previous research pursued
    • the two intended areas of concentration the applicant will pursue and how these areas support their professional objectives
    • the applicant’s career goals and a justification of the need for interdisciplinary studies to meet those goals, including both intellectual and job market considerations
    • a preliminary description of the projected dissertation topic that clarifies the necessary integration of two or more disciplines
    • an explanation of any weaknesses in the application file such as poor grades, lack of previous Latin American studies coursework, or low GRE scores
    • a discussion of professional, volunteer or travel experience in Latin America which demonstrates 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae/Résumé

The Latin American Studies program welcomes applications from Latin American and other international students. Applicants from outside the US should contact the UNM Global Education Office for more information about the international admissions process. 

Immigration and citizenship status are not a condition of admission to UNM. New Mexico State Bill 582, passed by the legislature in 2005, states that, “A public post-secondary educational institution shall not deny admission to a student on account of the student’s immigration status.” Pursuant to that bill, the Latin American Studies program considers all applicants, regardless of citizenship, based upon academic merit and achievement. We strive to maintain an environment of inclusion and nondiscrimination in which all students may actively participate and intellectually flourish.

For more information and resources related to being undocumented at UNM, please visit UNM's web portal for undocumented students.

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