Master's Degree Program

The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies at SFS is designed for students pursuing careers in government, business, and international organizations in the U.S. and abroad as well as those who contemplate additional post-graduate work in the humanities or social sciences. M.A. students typically focus their studies in one of the following disciplines: Government, Political Economy, History, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights, Development, Literature and Cultural Studies, Anthropology or Security Studies.

While most students complete the degree in two years on a full-time basis, part-time and accelerated options are available as well.

In addition to the MA in Latin American Studies, CLAS also offers an undergraduate and graduate certificate in Latin American Studies, a joint MA/PhD program with the Department of Government, a joint MA/JD program with the Georgetown University Law Center, and an accelerated BAorBS/MA program. Also, cooperative degree agreements with 1 colleges and universities allow undergraduates from these schools to pursue an accelerated masters degree in Latin American Studies at CLAS. 

The Center sponsors three summer graduate programs located in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia and encourages individual summer research throughout the hemisphere.

MA Program Learning Goals

Mastery in Latin and inter-American affairs in hemispheric, transatlantic, and/or global context through:

• Differentiating social, cultural, political, and economic developments in a historical context;
• Illustrating changing and contested constructions of identities and belief systems among the diverse peoples of the region; 
• Analyzing relations between political and governmental structures and changing social and cultural formations; 
• Synthesizing the interplay between economics and politics, focusing on production, profit, exchange, distribution and welfare, and their relations with political power. 
• Demonstrating oral proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese with a basis of grammar, vocabulary, accent, and fluency.
• Developing skills of analytical and integrative thinking to communicate effectively for different audiences and purposes through writing and speaking.
• Illustrating basic and advanced qualitative and quantitative research skills, including fluency with relevant print and virtual bibliographic and research guides.

MA Handbook

More detailed information about all MA program requirements can be found in the MA Handbook.  

Please select the version that applies to your cohort: 

Entry Semester: Fall 2018

Entry Semester: Fall 2017 

Entry Semester: Fall 2015 
Entry Semester: Prior to Fall 2015

Degree Requirements

There are three major degree requirements for the MA degree [Students who started the program prior to Fall 2017 should refer to their version of the MA Handbook for program requirements.]:

  • 36 credit hours of graduate coursework (including a capstone project) 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.
  • Language proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese.
  • Completion of an Internship.



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. 

See Courses List

See Faculty 


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 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.

Information for Incoming Students

We look forward to welcoming all of you to Georgetown on Wednesday, 23 August 2017 for GSFS orientation (location in your email), and Thursday, 24 August 2017 for CLAS MA program orientation. We ask you to please be on campus at 11:45 am on the 24th for the distribution of orientation materials (and lunch!). We will officially begin CLAS orientation at 12:00 pm that day.

Orientation will continue the following week with the Concentration Fair on Monday, 28 August and the Graduate School Orientation on Tuesday, 29 August.  See Graduate School Orientation website for more information. 

International students are required to attend the Office of Global Services orientation beginning on Monday, 21 August 2017.  You will not be able to register for classes if you do not attend their orientation. For more information check their website.

First Day of Classes

Classes begin on Wednesday, 30 August 2017.  On that day we will follow a Monday class schedule, so please plan to attend classes whose normal meeting time is Monday.  Access the Georgetown University academic calendar for 2017-2018 here.  [You may want to bookmark this calendar, as you will refer to it many times throughout the year.]

NetID Distribution

Hopefully you have received your NetID (the portion of your Georgetown email address that is prior to the “@”) and your password.

At Georgetown, your NetID is very valuable as it allows you to access your student account, to register for courses, etc. You should activate your NetID as soon as you receive it.  If you have not yet received any information regarding the NetID, please let me know so that I can follow up appropriately.

Once you have received and activated your NetID, please send it to  so that you can added to our mailing list(s) for CLAS newsletters, job/internship opportunities, communications about housing in DC, updates on orientation, etc.  


Your GOCard (Georgetown One Card) is your student ID. If you have not received a message from the GOCard office with instructions on how to activate your GOCard, please visit to get more information.  It is best to activate the GOCard before you arrive in August, as the lines to do so once you arrive on campus will be long!

Immunization Requirements

Each of you should have received notice of what kind of immunization(s) you need to enroll at Georgetown and to go to school in the Washington, DC area. In case you have any doubts, please read the Student Health Center website and, in particular, make sure you fill out the 2017-2018 Immunization Certificate by 1 July 2017.

ALL STUDENTS, without exception, need to submit the 2017-2018 Immunization Certificate before enrolling at Georgetown. If you do not do so, or do not meet the immunization requirements, you will not be allowed to register.

If you have questions about this, please call the Student Health Center directly at 202.687.2200.

Financial Information

If you have any financial questions, please contact the Office of Billing and Payment Services ( or 202.687.7100) or the Office of Student Financial Services ( or 202.687.4547).  If you are having trouble getting in touch with anyone or finding the answers you need, please let me know.

Advising and Registration

All first-year MA students will speak with Julie McMurtry for academic advising.  She will be available for Skype, Google Hangout, phone, or in-person meetings.  After these meetings you will be able to register for fall classes using an internet-based system (for which you will need your NetID).  

We will send instructions on how to use the system when we contact you to coordinate these advising sessions.  

The system will open for new graduate students on Monday, 26 June 2017, so you cannot register before then.  This registration is “live,” which means that classes may fill up quickly, so you should register as soon as registration opens. 

Generally, we recommend that full-time students take four courses per semester.  For most first-year students, these should be two core classes plus two courses in a field that you are considering for your concentration.  If you later change your concentration plans, those additional courses may become electives. Deviations from this standard plan can be discussed with me or a faculty member during your advising appointments.  The latest fall schedule can be found on-line (choose Fall 2017 Class Schedule - Main Campus).

Please feel free to explore the course offerings in other departments and programs such as Government, Spanish and Portuguese, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, International Affairs, and Security Studies.  As future Graduate students in the School of Foreign Service (CLAS is one of eight graduate programs in GSFS), you are eligible for courses restricted to “GSFS Students Only” or “Graduate Students Only.”