University at Albany

 

 

 

Master of Arts Degree in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS)

(Application code #015103)

UAlbany Graduate Admissions

Requirements: 30 credits.

ABOUT THE LACS M.A.

The MA Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in an interdisciplinary area and ethnic studies program with major strengths in the following areas: globalization studies, development studies, cultural studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, women's studies, migration studies, U.S. Latino studies, and Caribbean studies.

When compared to other U.S. programs of its kind, the Department's programs provide a unique integration of area studies and ethnic studies. Beyond that, LACS’ interdisciplinary approaches are integral to its impressive applied research and service outreach activities to institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean and in local, national, and international multicultural communities.

The Master of Arts Program will provide students who want to work in fields involving the Latin American or the Caribbean regions and U.S. Latino populations with a broad humanistic and social scientific knowledge. There is an emphasis on Latin American and Caribbean culture and social processes, and problem-related or area-focused training to prepare students for professional research and policy-oriented careers in federal and state government, international organizations, foreign service, the private sector, and in areas such as education, business, journalism, social work, translation, law and many other employment opportunities that require knowledge of the Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino populations.

Of all the State University of New York Research Centers, the University at Albany has the strongest interdisciplinary faculty with expertise in Latin America, the Caribbean and the U.S. Latino population.

Comprehensive knowledge of these areas will be achieved through core interdisciplinary courses. In addition to the core courses offered by the Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies, students will choose from related courses offered by the departments of Anthropology, History, Geography and Planning, Hispanic and Lusophone studies (Spanish and Portuguese language and literature), Political Science, Sociology, Economics, English, Education, Music, Africana Studies, and Women's Studies. Instruction will also cover research methodology, both quantitative and qualitative, and issues in cross-cultural communication. The program will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply their knowledge and skills in the form of a written master's project that addresses specific issues and problems related to these regions. Students choosing the MA terminal degree option are not required to do a Master's project, but must take a comprehensive exam.

Incoming students are encouraged to read some of the entries in the recommended reading list to acquire familiarity with the major themes and theories that are explored in our courses

 

THE LACS MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE PROGRAM

THE LACProgram of Study - Master's Project Option (30 credits, minimum)

1. Core requirements (15 credits minimum): LCS 502; 503; 504; 505; and 506.
2. Supporting courses (9 credits) from either the Transnationalism and Global Flows or Culture, Power and Identity tracks; or courses approved for Individual Track.
3. LCS 691 Directed Readings (3 credits)
4. LCS 697 Directed Master's Project (3 credits)
5. A proficiency language exam in Spanish, Portuguese or French equivalent to a third year undergraduate level.

Program of Study - Comprehensive Exam Option (30 credits, minimum)

1. Core requirements (15 credits minimum): LCS 502; 503; 504; 505; and 506.
2. Supporting courses (9 credits) from either the Transnationalism and Global Flows or Culture, Power and Identity tracks; or courses approved for Individual Track.
3. Additional supporting course (3 credits) from the alternate track
4. LCS 691 Directed Readings (3 credits)
5. Satisfactory completion of a comprehensive examination in Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies
6. A proficiency language exam in Spanish, Portuguese or French equivalent to a third year undergraduate level.

Required Core Courses: 15 credits (See Course Descriptions)

• LCS 502 (3 credits) Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies I • LCS 503 (3 credits Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies II
• LCS 504 (3 credits) Seminar: Latin America
• LCS 505 (3 credits) Seminar: The Caribbean
• LCS 506 (3 credits) Seminar: Latino Studies
• Three Courses from either of the two specialty tracks (9 credits)

Specialty Track 1: Transnationalism and Global Flows Track

Aps 603 The Political Economy of Educational Planning and Development
His 573 The United States and Latin America
LCS 508 Latinos and American Political Change
LCS 509 International Migration: Migration and Transnationalism
LCS 510 Workers and Globalization in the Americas
LCS/His/WSS 551 Gender and Class in Latin American Development
LCS565/Pos547 Latino/as and Inequality in America
LCS 585 Land and labor in Latin America
LCS 592 Transnationalism, Culture, and Power
LCS 696 Selected Topics in LACS

Specialty Track 2: Culture, Power and Identity Track

Ant 641 Seminar in Mesoamerican Ethnology
His 572 History of Brazil
LCS 507 Three Island Revolutions
LCS 508 Latinos and American Political Change
LCS 512 Tourism, Culture, and Identities
LCS514/Spn531 Literature of the Hispanic Caribbean
LCS 515 Los Latinos en EE.UU: Historia, Cultura, y Literatura
LCS 696 Selected Topics in LACS

Individual Designed Track

In certain cases students may, in consultation with faculty, develop an individually designed track. This option is available only to students who chose the Master's Project.

Language Requirement

This requirement can be satisfied by graduate level courses in Spanish or a language proficiency examination in Spanish, Portuguese, French, or whenever possible, any language (other than English) widely used in Latin American and/or the Caribbean, must be successfully completed. A grade of B or better at the third year undergraduate level, which may be completed in any accredited college or university, in any of these languages can be substituted for the proficiency examination.

COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OR MASTERS PROJECT OPTIONS

Students enrolling in the LACS Master of Arts degree are expected to complete 30 credits of course work within two years. Some students may choose to fulfill the degree requirements sooner by completing more than 9 credits per semester, or taking courses offered during the summer that are approved by the student’s advisor.

Students may choose to complete the requirements for a Masters Degree by either passing a comprehensive examination or completing a substantial project. Students who intend to apply to the doctoral program must take the project option. Students who do not intend to enroll in the LACS Ph.D. program may choose the comprehensive examination option.

All Masters degree students must complete LCS 691: Directed Readings. Students can enroll in LCS 691 only after completing the five core course sequence. This requirement allows students to develop and demonstrate to the Department they have attained the requisite knowledge of the academic field and understanding of research methods to undertake either an independent project or qualify for the comprehensive examination.


MASTERS DEGREE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION OPTION

This option is for students who desire to take the MA as a terminal degree.
Students choosing the MA Comprehensive Exam option are required to complete LCS 691: Directed Readings and an additional 27 credits from among LCS or Advisor approved elective courses in order to complete the 30 credits required for the MA degree.

Students should begin to think about a comprehensive examination topic no later than the end of the first academic year. The topic will form the basis for the comprehensive examination.

LCS 691: DIRECTED READINGS

By the end of the second semester of full time study, the student should have selected an Advisor who will supervise LCS 691: Directed Readings. In consultation with the advisor, the student will select a Second Reader. The Advisor and the Second Reader shall comprise the comprehensive examination committee.

The student will be required to submit a five-page topic statement. The statement will describe the topic in detail, explain the reasons for selecting the topic, and briefly explain how the topic is related to the student’s professional or career aspirations, and/ or intellectual interests.

The student will develop a reading list of no less that 30-40 entries comprised primarily of scholarly books and journal articles, or other relevant primary, secondary and creative sources that are germane to the topic. The student will be granted permission to enroll in LCS 691 once the topic statement, including the reading list, have been approved by the comprehensive examination committee.

To successfully complete LCS 691 students must prepare an annotated bibliography of the sources in the original reading list, as amended by the comprehensive examination committee.

Each annotation should be between 250 and 500 words in length. Students are expected to consult with their advisors for guidance on writing annotations. The annotated bibliography will be divided into three sections:

1. Items directly related to the topic
2. Items that provide background or context for the topic
3. Items that illuminate the theoretical or conceptual dimensions of the topic.

Students will have successfully completed LCS 691 when the annotated bibliography has been approved by the comprehensive examination committee. The student is required to request in writing that the Advisor schedule the comprehensive examination.

The request must be made by October 15 for a Spring term examination, or April 15 for a Fall term examination.

Consequently, students are encouraged to submit their annotated bibliography at the beginning of the semester preceding the semester in which the examination will be scheduled. Under extraordinary circumstances and upon the recommendation of the advisor, these deadlines can be waived.

MASTERS DEGREE PROJECT OPTION

Students choosing the Masters Degree Project option are required to complete
LCS 691: Directed Readings
LCS 697: Masters Degree Project,
24 Additional credits.

Successful completion of LCS 697 is required for admission to the Ph.D. Program.
Students choosing the Master Project option should identify the project topic no later than after completion of the first two semesters of coursework.

LCS 691: DIRECTED READINGS

By the end of the second semester of full time study, the student should have selected an Advisor who will supervise LCS 691: Directed Readings and serve as the Project Director. In consultation with the advisor, the student will select a Second Reader. The Advisor and the Second Reader shall comprise the project committee.

Students enrolled in the Masters Degree project option are required to submit a 10-15 page proposal, including an extensive reading list, to the Project Director. The student will develop a reading list of 30-40 entries comprised primarily of scholarly books and journal articles, or other relevant primary, secondary and creative sources that are germane to the topic.

THE PROJECT PROPOSAL

The proposal will include a brief description of the project, the importance of the project, the methods to be employed and relevant theoretical or conceptual issues. These components of the project proposal correspond to the three sections that will comprise the required reading

1. Items related directly to the project;
2. Items related to the background areas around the project;
3. Items about theory and method necessary for research on the project.

In consultation with the Project Director, the student will also select a Second Reader for the project at this time and submit the proposal to the Second Reader

THE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Once the proposal, including the reading list, has been approved by the project committee the student will be permitted to enroll in LCS 691: Directed Readings. For successful completion of LCS 691, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. The student will be required to prepare an annotated bibliography. Each annotation should be between 250 and 500 words. Students are expected to consult with their advisors for guidance on writing annotations. Annotations will demonstrate that the student has studied each item on the reading list and will explain briefly (in one paragraph) how each item on the reading list will be used for the preparation of the project.

LCS 697: MASTER'S PROJECT

The student should anticipate that it may require up to one academic year to complete their research, and they should allocate a minimum of one semester for writing. Students should also allow up to five weeks for the Project Director and the Second Reader to study a written version and suggest changes. To expedite the process, students should remember to submit, with all revised versions, all draft copies with the marginal and other comments of the Readers intact, so that the Reader might see how changes recommended in a prior version of the project have been incorporated in the most recent version.

Master’s Projects should demonstrate writing skills as well as a command of theoretical and methodological skills in a particular discipline or area of study. They should also provide convincing evidence of the student’s ability to conduct independent research creatively, or they may attest to a special skill in a particular area (for example, creative writing, computer programming, photography, etc.). The M.A. Project is not necessarily the equivalent of a thesis. Creative writing projects and those that make use of multimedia or computer programs are acceptable only if they are accompanied by a written text that demonstrates extensive research and the appropriate application of analytical skills. All bibliographic references should follow a consistent format using a style sheet published by professional organizations like the MLA Handbook, the Chicago Manual of Style, or any of the style sheets published by the disciplinary organizations in the social sciences. Projects should be written in English. However with the approval of the Project Director and the Director of Graduate Studies, the master’s project may be written in another Latin American and Caribbean languages. Depending on the nature of the project, the length of the text may vary from at least 50 to 75 typed, double-spaced pages.

PROJECT COMMITTEE

To avoid conflicts of interest, the Project Director and the Second Reader should not be related to each other as spouses or partners. If the Graduate Studies Committee (which includes the Chair of LACS) determines that there is a potential for conflict of interest in the composition of any project committee, it will appoint a new project committee in consultation with the Project Director and the candidate.

DEGREE CLEARANCE

To receive grade credits and satisfy the requirements for LCS 697, Directed Master’s Project must submit two identical copies of the final corrected typescript of the project incorporating all corrections and revisions must be submitted by the student for approval in writing by the Project Director and the Second Reader.

CLARIFICATION OF PROCEDURES

Students should seek clarification of these procedures first from their Faculty Advisor. Further clarification can also be sought from the Director of Graduate Studies or from the Department Chair.

Students are strongly advised to read and become acquainted with: The LACS MA: Expectations, Actions and Gateways. This online resource can be accessed through the LACS Departmental website.

LACS GRADUATE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Regulations and Requirements Governing the Master's Degree (Graduate Bulletin)