UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Graduate Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

A total of 38 units are required for the M.A. program. Students take at least 32 units of upper-division and graduate coursework in Latin American and Iberian Studies (at least 20 of these units must be from graduate coursework, courses numbered between 200-299 or 596) plus 6 additional units of Master’s Thesis Research and Preparation, LAIS 598. A maximum of 8 units of 596, Directed Reading and Research, can be counted towards the Master’s degree. All courses must be passed with a grade of B or better. Graduate students must enroll in and complete 12 units per quarter.

Required Courses

  • One course is required from the following list; this course will count toward one of the areas of concentration; LAIS 200 is the recommended option.
    • LAIS 200- 4 units
    • LAIS 201- 4 units
    • LAIS 202- 4 units
  • LAIS 203, Library Research Requirement- 2 units
  • Major area of concentration- 16 units
  • Second are of concentration- 8 units
  • Third area of concentration- 4 units
  • Fourth area of concentration- 4 units
  • LAIS 598, Master’s Thesis Research and Preparation- 6 units 

In addition to the courses that LAIS offers, students may also take courses in the following departments: History, Film Studies, Music, Dance, Theater and Performance Studies, Religious Studies, Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature, Linguistics, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, Black Studies, Chicano/a Studies, Feminist Studies, Environmental Studies, Education, Geography, and Global Studies.


A printable checklist of the required courses can be found here

Language Requirement

Students are required to take a written translation exam in any language of the Americas or Iberian Peninsula. Most students will take a Spanish written translation exam. Students will translate two (2) 250-word passages; one from English into the foreign language of choice, and the other from the foreign language of choice into English. Both passages must be translated in full within 1 ½-hour exam time. The use of a dictionary is allowed. Each student can coordinate with the Graduate Program Assistant to take the exam. Students are encouraged to fulfill the language requirement by the end of their first quarter of the program. 

Master’s Thesis

Students begin planning for their thesis while they are still taking coursework, but do not ordinarily register for LAIS 598, Thesis Preparation, until all other required courses are completed. Expect to revise your thesis draft several times. It is the student’s responsibility to submit the thesis in a timely manner so that all of the committee members can read and comment on it and so the student can submit a revised draft. All committee members must approve the final draft. The Master’s Thesis Committee must consist of at least three UC ladder faculty members (Assistant, Associate, and/or Full Professors). Two members must be ladder faculty who are LAIS affiliates, one of whom will be appointed as chair or co-chair.