Information for Graduate Students
Details about LACS MA and PhD programs
Details about LACS MA and PhD programs
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 PhD program may choose the comprehensive examination option.
All Masters degree students must complete ALCS 691: Directed Readings. Students can enroll in ALCS 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.
30 credits, minimum
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 ALCS 691: Directed Readings. For successful completion of ALCS 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.
ALCS 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.
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.
To receive grade credits and satisfy the requirements for ALCS 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 should begin to think about comprehensive examination themes no later than the end of the first academic year. The themes will form the basis for the comprehensive examination.
30 credits, minimum
APS 603 The Political Economy of Educational Planning and Development
AHIS 573 The United States and Latin America
ALCS 508 Latinos and American Political Change
ALCS 509 International Migration: Migration and Transnationalism
ALCS 510 Workers and Globalization in the Americas
ALCS/AHis/AWSS 551 Gender and Class in Latin American Development
ALCS565/RPos547 Latino/as and Inequality in America
ALCS 585 Land and labor in Latin America
ALCS 592 Transnationalism, Culture, and Power
ALCS 696 Selected Topics in LACS
AANT 641 Seminar in Mesoamerican Ethnology
AHIS 572 History of Brazil
ALCS 507 Three Island Revolutions
ALCS 508 Latinos and American Political Change
ALCS 512 Tourism, Culture, and Identities
ALCS565/RPos547 Latino/as and Inequality in America
ALCS514/ASPN531 Literature of the Hispanic Caribbean
ALCS 515 Los Latinos en EE.UU: Historia, Cultura, y Literatura
ALCS 696 Selected Topics in LACS
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.
Master’s students are required to demonstrate proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese. The language proficiency requirement can be met in one of two ways. Under the first option, students will take a proficiency exam administered in the LACS office. Under the second option, students are required to obtain a minimum grade of B+ in an upper division undergraduate Spanish or Portuguese language class.
By the end of the second semester of full time study, the student should have selected an Advisor who will supervise ALCS 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 ALCS 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 more or less equally into two sections:
Students will have successfully completed ALCS 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.
The masters comprehensive examination will consist of two questions, one question for each of two student defined fields. Students will have 48 hours to complete the examination. Answers should be 7-10 pages each, 12 pt. font, Times New Roman.
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.
The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty track in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies requires 60 graduate credits (30 credits beyond the M.A.) for completion of the degree. The Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) administers this specialty. Students who hold an MA degree in LACS (30 credits) will have to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements. Students who hold an MA degree in any other appropriate field will need to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements.
Doctoral students are required to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish before completion of the Qualifying Examination. Proficiency will be demonstrated by passing an examination administered by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC), or by completing graduate level course at the University at Albany or other accredited higher education institution. A minimum grade of B+ is required to demonstrate proficiency.
Students who plan to undertake research in a country or region that requires command of another language (e.g. Portuguese, French, Haitian Creole, Quechua, or other indigenous languages) will need to demonstrate language proficiency in the language before the date scheduled for defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal. Proficiency is demonstrated by obtaining a minimum grade of B+ graduate level course in the second language at an accredited higher education institution.
Doctoral students are required to complete 30 credits beyond an approved MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 18 credits (ALCS 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506, 600) and ALCS 781 Directed Readings (3).
Students admitted into the LACS doctoral program with a LACS MA may substitute 18 other credits (as advised) for the core sequence and complete 12 credits (including ALCS 781 Directed Readings).
Independent Study (ALCS 695) and Topics courses (ALCS 696) require the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS).
Core Sequence: 18 Credits
ALCS 502 (3 credits) Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies I
ALCS 503 (3 credits) Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies II
ALCS 504 (3 credits) Latin American Studies Seminar
ALCS 505 (3 credits) Caribbean Studies Seminar
ALCS 506 (3 credits) Latina/o Studies Seminar
ALCS 600 (3 credits) Research Methodologies: Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies
Students are encouraged to take an additional methods course appropriate or necessary to conduct their dissertation research.
Required Steps for the PhD Concentration in LACS
Applicants to the doctoral program are required to submit the following:
The composition of all dissertation committees will be submitted to the DGS for approval. Students admitted with an MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their first semester of coursework; students admitted without the MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their fifth semester of coursework. By the end of the first (or fifth) semester, the student is required to select a faculty member to serve as director of the dissertation committee. The director must have a formal affiliation with LACS (please see faculty listed on the department webpage). If LACS faculty are not available to serve as director, the student may ask a faculty member from another department or college to serve as co-director of the dissertation committee. The other co-director must be a LACS affiliated faculty member. It is expected that students will select faculty committee members with expertise in their chosen topic of research and with whom they have taken courses.
The Doctoral Dissertation Committee Director (Dissertation Director) should not dictate the composition of the dissertation committee. With the assistance of the Dissertation Director, the student will select two additional LACS faculty members (full time or associated) to form the doctoral dissertation committee. The Dissertation Director will ensure that there is sufficient expertise on the committee about the topic of the dissertation. When it is necessary, a fourth full time faculty member for the dissertation committee could be chosen from outside the department or the university. Once all members have agreed to serve, the dissertation director will inform the Director of Graduate Studies in writing about the composition of the dissertation committee.
To avoid conflicts of interest, the members of the dissertation committee 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 dissertation committee, it will appoint a new dissertation committee in consultation with the Dissertation Director and the candidate.
The candidate may reconstitute the membership of Dissertation Committee at any time. After the matter has been discussed with all members of the Dissertation Committee, the candidate will inform the Graduate Director of the composition of the new Dissertation Committee, which may include a new Dissertation Committee Director. The Graduate Director will officially inform all faculty concerned, (previous and new members of the Dissertation Committee), as well as the Department Chair of the change in membership. The student’s record will be changed to list the members of the reconstituted committee, the new Dissertation Committee Director (if applicable) and the date the change went into effect.
All committee members should honor the candidate's request for change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should respect the right of all committee members to withdraw from the committee at any time.
Before students are permitted to enroll in ALCS 781, they must complete ALCS 502, 503, 504, 505, and 506. The Dissertation Director will supervise ALCS 781. The student will submit a topic statement (500 words), and a reading list consisting of 50-60 books and articles to their doctoral dissertation committee director.
The reading list will be divided into three sections:
At this time, the student will invite two faculty members to serve on the Doctoral Dissertation Committee. The dissertation director will provide the other members of the dissertation committee the reading list and topic statement. Once these steps have been completed, the dissertation director will permit the student to enroll in ALCS 781, and inform the DGS of this.
Once enrolled in ALCS 781, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. Annotations should be 250-500 words (or the student and Director can decide the appropriate length). In addition, each annotation will include a brief description (50-100 words) explaining why the entry was selected.
The dissertation director will send the annotated bibliography to the other committee members. To obtain a satisfactory grade for ALCS 781 the dissertation director must approve the completed annotated bibliography of 50-60 books. The dissertation director will inform the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) that the student has satisfactorily completed ALCS 781.
Students must complete the 18 credit core sequence (LCS 502, 503, 504, 505, 506, and 600) with an average grade of "B" before they are permitted to take the qualifying examination.
While completing ALCS 781, the student will write DGS to request a date to take the qualifying examination. The request must be made no later than November 10 or May 10 of the semester preceding the requested examination date.
The Doctoral Dissertation Committee Director will send the approved and completed annotated list to the other members of the committee no less that four weeks before the scheduled date of the qualifying examination.
The qualifying examination will be prepared by the Doctoral Dissertation Committee and administered by the DGS. The qualifying examination will consist of three questions, one question for each of the three sections (thematic, geographic/regional and theoretical). The committee and student will collaboratively decide which of the three questions each committee member will design. The student must successfully respond to each of the three questions to pass the qualifying examination. The DGS will confirm the examination was delivered on time and returned to them within 72 hours. The completed examination will be sent to the Dissertation Director and the committee members for grading. The Dissertation Director will inform the DGS and the Department Chair if the student passed (S grade) or failed (U grade) the qualifying examination.
The student will submit the completed examination to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days (72 hours) after receiving the examination. The responses must be 12 font double-spaced. Each of the three questions must between 7 to 10 pages and documented as a research paper. During the preparation of your examination, you may not consult with others for editorial, stylistic or research assistance. Nor may you seek feedback on your completed examination prior to submitting to the DGS.
A student is admitted to candidacy (ABD) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and may undertake work on the dissertation subject to the following:
By the end of the semester that follows the successful completion of all the exams and requirements, each candidate for the PhD degree must submit a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be at least 10-15 pages and no more than 20 pages long and contain the following: The Graduate Director will approve changes to the length requirements at the request of the Dissertation Committee Director.
Elements of the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal
The candidate will submit the doctoral dissertation proposal to the Doctoral Dissertation Committee Director. The Director will provide the members of the Dissertation Committee with the dissertation proposal well in advance of the date on which the proposal defense is scheduled. The dissertation director will select the date and time for the formal defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal and inform the Director of Graduate Studies. The department will announce meeting date, time and location of the proposal.
The candidate will defend the dissertation proposal in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The Doctoral Dissertation Committee Director will chair the proposal defense, and the members of the dissertation committee will vote in private and announce their decision to the candidate. Faculty present at the proposal defense who are not members of the doctoral dissertation committee are invited to observe, and may participate if invited, in the dissertation committee's deliberation.
The dissertation committee members will make suggestions for changes in the proposal, and after these changes have been incorporated, the Doctoral Dissertation Committee Director will transmit a final version of the proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies. Upon the Dissertation Committee's approval of the dissertation proposal, the candidate is admitted to candidacy and may start writing the doctoral dissertation during which time each semester s/he must enroll in the ALCS 899.
Every semester, the dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS ADVISEMENT FORM and circulate copies of this form to the members of the dissertation committee and to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will place this advisement form in the student's file.
Dissertation credits count as load credit only and are graded L/U. They cannot be applied to the 30 credits (post MA) minimum requirement for the PhD. You may register for load credit only after all the other requirements are completed.
Once the dissertation is completed, the dissertation director will forward copies of it to the members of the dissertation committee requesting written critiques from committee members within two to three weeks. The dissertation director will circulate these critiques among dissertation committee members and place copies of them in the student's file. Members of the dissertation committee may request a meeting with the candidate at any time. Candidates may also request a meeting with the dissertation committee or with any of its members at any time.
In consultation with the candidate and the Dissertation Committee and in accordance with departmental procedures, the Director of Graduate Studies will arrange a date for the defense of the dissertation. The candidate will defend the dissertation in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation director will chair the defense, and the members of the dissertation committee will vote in private and announce their decision to the candidate, and in that case of a successful defense, and to those in attendance at the defense. Faculty present at the defense who are not members of the doctoral dissertation committee are invited to observe, and may participate if invited, in the dissertation committee's deliberation.