There are four major degree requirements for the MA degree:

  1. 36 credit hours of graduate coursework with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale OR the completion of 33 credit hours of graduate coursework and the successful defense of an MA thesis.
  2. Language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese.
  3. Completion of an Internship.
  4. Completion of a Capstone Project.


Each MA candidate may be required to take one Research Methods course relevant to their chosen concentration and take four courses that count toward the core requirements; six courses in their chosen concentration; one elective course and one Capstone course. Selection of courses is done in consultation with the Associate Director, the MA Program Director, and the student’s Concentration Advisor(s).

Students planning concentrations in Government, Political Economy, or any other course of study requiring work in Economics must have completed introductory courses in microeconomics and macroeconomics prior to enrollment.

To view a list of courses offered at Georgetown, visit the course catalog database. 


The concentrations in the Latin American Studies program are intentionally interdisciplinary; they each draw on the multiple, diverse approaches and disciplines that make up Latin American Studies as a field of study. Students are encouraged to work with their concentration advisor to assemble classes and learning experiences that contribute to their personal individual goals, using the concentration descriptions below as general guidelines. 

A. Governance and Leadership

Students in this concentration obtain the analytical tools, skills and knowledge to identify and effectively address the challenges and opportunities in the political development and governance of societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Courses emphasize the analysis of key issues such as: the nature of the state, political representation, democracy, political order and citizen security, the origins and social dimensions of conflict and peace and their implications for human rights, social movements and religion, the rule of law, foreign policy and diplomacy. Students in this discipline generally undertake training in quantitative research methods that emphasize causal inference.

B. Development and Political Economy

Students in this concentration obtain the analytical tools, skills and knowledge to identify and effectively address opportunities and challenges in Latin America’s social and economic development. Courses examine the interplay of politics and economics, emphasizing how these factors contribute to economic growth and sustainable development and to the strategic positioning of Latin America and the Caribbean in the global economy. They emphasize key issues such as: causes and responses to poverty and socio-economic inequity; urban development; food security; the environment; gender; afro-descendants and indigenous peoples; economic growth and trade. Students in this discipline generally undertake training in quantitative research methods that emphasize causal inference.

C. History, Culture, and Society

Students in this concentration obtain the analytical tools, skills, and knowledge to understand the complex histories and cultural ways of Latin America and the Caribbean, exploring in depth how the peoples of Latin America arrived at their contemporary mix of creativity and challenges. Students explore evolving ways of power and social relations, political ideas and ideologies, cultural constructions and debates, gender relations and debates—via scholarly explorations, literary representations, and/or cinematic expressions–understandings necessary to engage the promise and uncertainties of our times and to contemplate possible paths into the future. Students in this concentration generally undertake training in research methods drawn from the diverse humanities and social science disciplines associated with the students’ interests.


Students may take one elective course. The elective allows for experimentation, diversity, and additional study in fields outside the concentration and is commonly used to strengthen a regional or issue focus.

Independent Study

CLAS students have the opportunity to arrange independent studies for academic credit. Independent study programs must include the development of an original research project on a topic related to the student’s coursework or thesis. Individual mentors must be obtained to oversee the independent study, and the program must be approved by the MA program director.


The Walsh School of Foreign Service offers a variety of graduate certificates that allow students to focus on a particular region or topic throughout their studies. Certificates, unlike concentrations, show up in your transcript. The certificates listed below are offered by departments and centers across the SFS and have their own requirements in addition to the requirements of the M.A. in Latin American Studies. 

Students must work with the academic advising staff at both CLAS and the department offering the certificate to accommodate the requirements of a certificate program and the M.A.

The Thesis Option

Students who wish to complete a thesis must identify a research topic and a thesis adviser by the end of their first semester. Students choose two faculty members to guide their thesis process: a thesis advisor and a second reader. It is strongly suggested that the thesis adviser be a member of the CLAS faculty. Second readers may be either full-time Georgetown University professors or adjunct faculty.