What kind of background do I need to pursue the MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies?

Our students come from diverse backgrounds in humanities, social and natural sciences, and from a range of professional fields, and most find that our interdisciplinary training is a good fit for their varied interests. Many of our students have studied, lived, or worked in Latin America, and bring these experiences and perspectives to the academic program at CLACS. Some students enroll in the MA immediately after completing their Bachelor’s Degree. Others are returning to university study after years of working. Students come from across the United States, and from across Latin America and the Caribbean. All international students are welcome.

Is the program open to part-time students?

Yes. The degree must be completed within the five years of matriculation, and students must take Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies I in their first semester, and Intro II in their second. 

Can I start in the fall or the spring?

Applications are only accepted for a fall (September) start date. 

How large are classes in the MA program?

CLACS graduate seminars range between 8 and 16 students. 

What is the language proficiency requirement?

To complete the Masters' degree, language competency must be proven in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Quechua through either option "1-coursework" (completing, or having completed, not more than two years before matriculation, a full or final intermediate-level college course in the language with a grade of B or better) or "3-examination" (given by Graduate School of Arts and Science). 

Which languages are available at NYU that meet the language requirement?

All of the mentioned languages – Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Quechua – can be studied at NYU. Students interested in the Andean region are especially encouraged to take Quechua. Visit Quechua Language to learn more. 

Can I take classes in other departments?

Yes. CLACS cross-lists a number of courses from other departments, and students are welcome to seek out other 4-point courses from across campus. You must receive registration advisement prior to enrolling to ensure that the course fulfills your degree requirements. 

How many CLACS students are pursuing dual degree/joint program studies?

In recent years, there have been between three and six incoming students enrolled in the joint program with Journalism. There have been three to five students in joint programs with Museum Studies. 

Are there opportunities to research or study abroad?

CLACS encourages students to conduct the research for their Masters' Projects in the summer between their second and third semesters. To facilitate research abroad, CLACS offers Field Research Grants each year, pending funding, which are awarded on a competitive basis. The department offers competitive Summer FLAS Fellowships for intensive language study.

Can I pursue an internship as a Masters’ student?

Yes. CLACS offers internships at prestigious local organizations, both for credit and non-credit. Those seeking graduate credit enroll in a 2- or 4- point Internship Seminar, in conjunction with the internship. Students develop a scholarly work – usually a course paper – putting their internship experience into academic focus. 

Where do CLACS graduates work after graduation?

Students work in a variety of private and public sector jobs, and most continue to be involved with Latin American or Caribbean regional issues. Many recent CLACS graduates have secured jobs in the field of education, either working as teachers or researchers, or entering competitive PhD programs to become professors. Many have found placement in non-profit organizations, working in the areas of culture, arts, research, and policy. Global Journalism students have a strong record of placement at major news outlets, and Museum studies students similarly find work in museums, galleries, or as independent curators. Several have pursued work in government and related to foreign policy. 

Does NYU offer a PhD in Latin American and Caribbean Studies?

No. NYU’s Department of History includes a PhD field specialization in the study of Latin America and the Caribbean. While all of the History Department Faculty that teach this specialization are affiliated with CLACS, the PhD program has no formal connection to the MA degree. 

Are there scholarships and financial aid available for MA students?

Yes. CLACS offers several fellowships and partial tuition remission to incoming and current students, on a competitive basis. In addition to departmental awards, NYU offers financial assistance in form of merit-based and need-based scholarships, grants, and loans. To qualify for these awards, you must fill out the FAFSA form by the first application deadline (February 1). More information can be found on Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website and the NYU Office of Financial Aid. 

Is financial aid available for international students?

Yes. International students are eligible for some departmental fellowships and tuition remission. They are not eligible for FLAS funding, or for federal financial aid. 

Can the writing sample I send be in Spanish, Portuguese, or in a language other than English?

No. Because your courses at NYU will be taught in English, we need to see your writing in English. If you are a non-native speaker of English, you may send one supplemental writing sample in Spanish or Portuguese if you feel this would better represent your analytical or scholarly abilities.

Who is my academic advisor? Can it be any faculty member?

Your primary academic advisors are the Center’s Director, Clinical Associate Professor Pamela Calla, and the Faculty Fellow Professors Amy Huras and Katherine Smith. You should meet with your advisor twice per semester, and for registration advisement. You are encouraged to establish contacts with other faculty working in the area of their interests, particularly other CLACS faculty, as these professors could serve both as additional advisors or as readers for your Master’s Project. 

How do I find professors who are working in my area of interest?

Your academic advisor should be able to suggest relevant faculty; be sure to ask them during your advisement sessions. You should also consult our affiliated faculty listing, which includes brief biographies of most faculty at NYU working on issues related to Latin America and the Caribbean. Check Albert and relevant department websites for graduate course listings to find faculty teaching in your areas of interest. 

I want to take a class in another department. What do I do?

Many graduate seminars require the instructor’s or department’s permission to register, and this is usually noted in Albert on the Department’s graduate course listings. Some seminars are restricted to PhD students or students in that department, and will not be open to you. However, many seminars welcome and are designed for MA students. You may be asked to contact the Professor directly, or contact the Department. If approved, they will give you an access code that will enable you to register. 

How can I take classes at Columbia? Can I take whatever I want?

CLACS students may take selected courses offered through the Institute for Latin American Studies (ILAS). These classes will be listed with our current course offerings. To register for one of these classes, first register under the CLACS course number associated with the course. Second, fill out a cross-registration form. It must to be signed by your professor at Columbia (on the first day of class), and by Bel Destefani at CLACS before you are officially registered in the course. It is your responsibility to file this paperwork; without it, we will not be able to file a grade for the course. CLACS students may petition CLACS to enroll in a Columbia course that is not one of the cross-listed seminars; please contact Bel Destefani. Enrollment is contingent on approval from ILAS, the Department offering the course, and the Professor. Some units, like the School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA), are not able to accommodate any students outside of their program. 

I am not really sure how to use the library and its resources. Where do I start?

The library has excellent resources for graduate students. Incoming students are strongly encouraged to take Bobst Library Research workshops on arrival at NYU (Research 101, 102); international students are also encouraged to take “Introduction to United States Research Libraries.” The Latin American Studies page of the Bobst Library offers a comprehensive listing of bibliographic resources and databases about Latin America and the Caribbean. Bobst Library’s specialist in Latin American and Caribbean Studies is Angela Carreño, who is also affiliated with CLACS. She can help guide your research; to make an appointment, please contact her via email at angela.carreno@nyu.edu or by phone at (212) 998-2606. 

Are there other libraries/collections in New York City that I might want to consult?

Full-time NYU faculty, full-time NYU students, and part-time students in degree programs have access and borrowing privileges at these non-NYU libraries: Brooklyn Historical Society Othmer Library, Cooper Union Library, New School Libraries (Raymond Fogelman Social Sciences and Humanities Library, Adam and Sophie Gimbel Art and Design Library, Scherman Music Library, New-York Historical Society and New York School of Interior Design Library. Holdings for these Consortium libraries are listed in BobCat.

I am interested in an internship. Where do I start?

Professor Pamela Calla is the coordinator of CLACS’s internship program; to make an appointment to speak with her, email her at pamela.calla@nyu.edu

What resources are available to help me find a job while in school? Or when I complete the degree?

Please visit our Career Development Resources page for more information on NYU-wide career-related resources available to our students. Many job-related resources are also available to students through the NYU’s Wasserman Center.

How is CLACS involved in K-12 schools in New York City and how can I get involved?

Designated a National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education, CLACS provides resources and professional development assistance to K-12 educators through teacher training workshops, curriculum development programs, and collaboration with New York City schools. We welcome student participation in this initiative. Please contact clacs@nyu.edu.

What is the CLACS blog and how can I contribute?

The CLACS blog is written by CLACS faculty, students, and alumni and features posts about student and faculty research; about scholars, artists, or public figures that visit NYU; and reflections on current events and issues. We welcome your contributions.

Image by Jeremy Tanner (CLACS-Glojo '09) during his summer field research travel.