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The UCLA Latin American Studies MA Program Instructs and Inspires

Blog Post by Bonnie Taub, Ph.D., Co-Chair, Latin American Studies

The UCLA Latin American Studies MA Program Instructs and Inspires

The Masters in Latin American Studies interdepartmental (IDP) program provides students with academic and research training in the interdisciplinary study of Latin America. Students plan to focus on specific intellectual topics and to work with affiliated faculty in multiple academic departments from the time that they are accepted to the program to the culmination of their degrees, through the completion of theses or comprehensive capstone papers.

The Latin American Studies (LAS)program at UCLA is connected to our prestigious Latin American Institute (LAI), which helps to identify and to coordinate programs, events, and activities related to Latin America. LAS students have benefited from the remarkable diversity of perspectives and faculty expertise at UCLA and have gone on to careers dedicated to Latin American issues or have used their knowledge of the region in academia, government, business, medicine, education, social service, arts and cultural programs and centers and other professional domains.

In many ways, the Latin American Studies program is as important now as it was when it was founded at UCLA more than 50 years ago as one of the first programs dedicated to the study of Latin America in the nation. Today, Latin America is no less important to the United States, and to the world, than it was in the 1960s. Latin America's rapid demographic, urban and industrial development, the successes and failures of democracy in the region, migration, the wealth of its natural resources and the problems of public health in the region continue to be fascinating and worthy topics of study and continue to generate billions of dollars in research, policy and planning. Globalization has made Latin America more important to the United States than ever before as we have come to understand that our concerns and interests as nations and peoples in the same hemisphere are increasingly intertwined.

LAS students have benefited from rigorous training in languages and cultures, with many having received Title VI Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) grants through the Latin American Institute. This program has supported and promoted advanced training in less commonly taught languages spoken in Latin America including Portuguese, Quechua, and Nahuatl (among other indigenous languages).

Our program is also unique in offering concurrent or articulated degrees with professional masters’ programs including Library and Information Studies (MLIS), Public Health (MPH), and concurrent degree programs with Urban Planning (MURP), and Management (MBA) have nine quarters to complete both degrees. Our alumni are very accomplished and work in varied careers and prestigious settings, including the Library of Congress, the Pentagon, the Los Angeles County Department of Health, and the Department of City Planning to name a few. Several LAS MA alumni have been or are currently enrolled in Ph.D. programs at UCLA (History, Spanish and Portuguese, Art History, Anthropology, Public Health, Law), Rice University (Anthropology), Rutgers (History). UC Irvine (Spanish and Portuguese), the University of Florida, UC Berkeley (Ethnic Studies), and Yale University (Law School) among others. This year the deadline to apply to our program has been extended to February 5, 2022. See the program site for more information:

Please consider donating to the UCLA Latin American Studies MA Program, Alumni and Friends Fund:


The opinions expressed in this blog post represent the views of the author and not of the UCLA Latin American Institute.