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Latin American, Caribbean & U.S. Latino Studies

Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies

(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)
(Please include code under Program Information in your application.)
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Ph.D. Requirements

The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies requires a total of 60 graduate credits (30 beyond the Master’s) for completion of the degree. The Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) administers this new specialty, in collaboration with the Spanish Program of the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC). Please make sure to state on your application "LACS Ph.D. Concentration Program Code 013107," so that your application is processed correctly and efficiently. Students who already hold an M.A. degree in LACS (33 credits) will have to complete only a minimum of 27 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements. Students who already hold an M.A. degree in any other appropriate field will need to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements.

This Ph.D. specialty is conceived of as qualitatively different from conventional language and literature programs. Its originality lies in the integration of area and ethnic studies within a disciplinary framework that includes the humanities as well as the social sciences. Broadly defined, cultural studies reflects a theoretical emphasis on the critical theories that focus on how issues of diversity, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, and race shape cultural, historical, socioeconomic, political, and educational processes. The program also pays attention to the manner in which globalization, (im)migration, and transnationalism are forging new hemispheric visions of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In light of this reality, our research and teaching agenda is also focused on the U.S. Latino experience and its relationship to the countries of origin. This feature of our program reflects faculty interest and expertise and distinguishes us from other institutions in the field of Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

The program is recognized as a viable alternative to the single department/discipline based structures that dominate most university settings. "Alternative" does not mean substitution; it means a valid, complementary, and different model with its own set of persuasive advantages. These advantages include paradigmatic shifts in the context of scholarship, a novel and inclusive curriculum, as well as research in frontier territory not charted inside structures that are more conventional. LACS's multidisciplinary approaches are integral to its impressive basic and applied research and service outreach activities to institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean and in local, national, and international multicultural communities.

Some of the main areas of expertise of LACS faculty include development studies, women's studies, cultural studies, migration studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, Caribbean literature, education, and Puerto Rican studies. Study abroad and field research opportunities are available with institutions in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Nicaragua. The Department of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (LACS) at the University at Albany is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive program of its kind within the SUNY system. It is the only academic department that currently offers an M.A. graduate degree and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to undergraduate majors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Puerto Rican Studies. Its twenty-two jointly appointed faculty, includes six core faculty, and its cross listed courses now represent a total of twelve University departments and three colleges or schools.

The Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS), autonomous research units overlapping LACS in geographical coverage and faculty, also have made significant contributions with their publications, conferences, and attracting grant resources and promoting international collaborations.

Most LACS graduates pursue careers in education, international business, government service, public policy, law, criminal justice, and social work. Degree candidates are also expected to demonstrate advanced language proficiency in Spanish and another language spoken in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English). A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available to applicants on a competitive basis. Graduate students receiving these awards must maintain good academic standing and will be subject to annual review. The maximum assistantship/ fellowship funding allowed will be two years for the M.A. and two years for the Ph.D.

Students who are not residents of New York State and are awarded an assistantship or fellowship grant will receive out-of-state tuition waivers for the first academic year only. During this first year of study, the students must establish permanent residency in New York State by processing all required materials to establish residency. For information on state residency guidelines and procedures, please refer to the Office of Student Accounts website NYS Residency . Please note that you must change your permanent address to a New York State location shortly after your arrival and change your driver's license as well. Should you qualify for a second year of grant funding, your residency would have to be in place because tuition waivers for the second year will cover only in-state tuition.

Ph.D. Requirements

Credit Requirements:   A total of 30 credits beyond the M.A. to include:


  • Knowledge of Spanish
  • Second language other than Spanish and English 


LCS 500 (3 credits)

LCS 504 or LCS 505 or LCS 508 (select 2 to make a total of 6 credits)

LCS 502 (3 credits)

Approved Graduate Methods Course (3 credits)

LCS 503 (3 credits)

** Students with a Master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University at Albany will substitute Lcs 500, 502, 503, 504 or 505 or 508 with 18 credits of other LCS courses as advised.

FOCUS AREA (9 credits with a LACS M.A. or 12 credits without it, in one of the following (See List of Supporting Courses)
  • Culture, History, and Society (9 or 12 credits including Lcs 781) or
  • Language, Literature, and Fine Arts (9 or 12 credits including Lcs 781
FORMAL REQUIREMENTS (load credits only) (see Guidelines)
  1. Dissertation Committee approved by Graduate Studies Committee see Guidelines)
  2. Reading list approved by Graduate Studies Committee (see Guidelines)
  3. LCS 781 Directed Readings/Annotated Bibliography of approved Reading List (see Guidelines)
  4. Ph.D. Qualifying Exam approved and completed (see Guidelines )
  5. Dissertation Proposal approved by Graduate Committee (see Guidelines)
  6. LCS 899 Dissertation defended (see Guidelines)
  7. Recommendation for Conferral of Doctoral Degree submitted (see Guidelines)

Degree Guidelines

List of Supporting Courses


Please send questions or comments to: geninfo@uamail.albany.edu

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