Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Latin American and Latino Studies


Degree Requirements

The Latin American and Latino Studies Institute (LALSI) is home to an interdisciplinary program which brings together approximately 25 faculty members from nine different disciplines. Originally founded as the Puerto Rican Studies Institute, the name as well as the scope of the program expanded in the early 1990s. LALSI faculty work on all major areas of Latin America, including the Caribbean as well as mainland North, Central & South American countries, and on U.S. Latino issues. Because of Fordham University’s strong commitment to New York City and the presence of Spanish-speaking Catholic immigrant communities in the five boroughs, Fordham has led the way as one of the first institutions in New York City to recognize the importance of Latino Studies. LALSI embraces a comparative approach and thus brings together scholars on U.S. Latinos, Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula. This transatlantic emphasis, expanding the dialogue between Latin America, U.S. Latinos and the Iberian Peninsula is one of the great strengths of our program.

LALSI offers three graduate options: the M.A., the Early Admission M.A. and the Advanced Certificate in Latin American and Latino Studies.

Master of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies

Minimum Requirements: The M.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies requires at least 30 credits. A “B” average (or 3.0 GPA) must be maintained in courses taken for the Master’s degree.

Required courses: Three courses, comprising 11 credits, are required for the major.
LALS 5001 Latin American & Latino Cultures should be taken early in the student’s career, preferably in the first semester of graduate work. It is designed to introduce major themes and debates in the field to students.

LALS 5021 Latin American and Latino Studies Seminar for Service Learning/ Internship/ Research includes field experience; all students must complete hands-on practical experience as part of their graduate training. To meet the field experience requirement, students, in consultation with their advisor, will be required to complete either a service learning project, an internship, or guided research project in New York, or in Latin America.

LALS 5020 Latin American and Latino Studies Research Seminar focuses on the writing of the M.A. thesis and the presentation of the thesis to a peer audience.

Distribution requirements
: Electives must be distributed among at least three of the disciplines represented by the program; these disciplines include History, Sociology & Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, Theology, African and African American Studies, Art History, Spanish, and Psychology. The electives must also be distributed so that at least three courses are U.S. Latino focused, and at least 3 courses are Latin American focused. Students will consult with their program advisor about specific electives for their individual program of study.
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One course in cultural or social theory, such as theory of postcolonial literature, or a course in methodology, such as historiography, or a skills course such as statistics, can count as one of the courses needed to complete the degree.

Thesis requirement: A thesis is required for the M.A. degree in Latin American and Latino Studies. The overall standard that the thesis should meet is that it should be based on primary sources, and meet professional standards of documentation and argument. Students must prepare their theses to conform to the appropriate style manual for their topic (Chicago Manuel of Style, MLA Style Manual, etc). The thesis requires one mentor and one additional reader. Normally a student will select their mentor during their first or second semester, take an advanced course from that mentor during their second semester, and use that course paper as a first draft for the thesis which will be completed during LALS 5020.

Language Competency: A fundamental requirement of the program is proficiency in one of the spoken languages (other than English) of Latin America and the Caribbean. The language requirement may be met by taking a competency exam or successfully passing an approved language course in Spanish, Portuguese or French. Placement examinations will be administered following admission. Students are encouraged to consult the Director or Associate Director for ways the language requirement can be met.

Early Admissions Option in the M.A. Program: This option enables academically strong students currently enrolled in Fordham College to attain both a bachelor’s degree (either in LALS or one of its related disciplines) and a master’s degree in Latin American and Latino Studies in five years. Students submit their applications in the spring of their junior year, and enter the program in their senior year when they take two graduate courses that count toward the B.A. as well as the M.A. Graduate courses taken while still at the College must be approved by the Director or Associate Director of LALSI. All graduate courses taken in the early admissions option to the M.A. program should be at the 5000 level.

The policy applies to FCRH, FCLC and PCS students. The minimum GPA to be eligible to apply is 3.2 or above after five semesters of work in the College. Applications do not need to include GRE scores unless the student is planning to apply for financial aid during the 5th year.
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For descriptions of recent courses please visit Fordham's Online Course Catalog or review on program website.

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