Miscellaneous publications in Spanish.

The Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS) Program offers three graduate programs: Master of Arts, a Doctoral Minor, and a Dual Degree in Law and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies.

The mission of the graduate program is to provide an interdisciplinary foundation for the study of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal. The University of Wisconsin–Madison is nationally recognized for excellence in research and teaching on these regions. The LACIS program includes a core faculty of over 100 members and course offerings in close to 40 disciplines and professional schools, including anthropology, business, community and environmental sociology, comparative literature, environmental studies, gender and women's studies, geography, history, law, music, political science, sociology, and population health. Languages taught include Quechua, Yucatec Maya, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Many faculty members have received extensive national and international recognition. Detailed faculty research interests and publications can be accessed through Mapping LACIS Research. UW–Madison also publishes the journal Luso-Brazilian Review and holds an annual graduate student conference, Kaleidoscope.

While the majority of candidates in the program are from the United States, a significant number are from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Iberia. Funding assistance for candidates specializing in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Iberia includes: Title VI Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Fellowship, Advanced Opportunity Fellowship (AOF), teaching assistantships (Intro to Latin American Studies), and the Tinker-Nave Field Grant Program, commonly used for summer research travel. Please contact the program office for more information on funding opportunities.

Originally established in the 1930s, the program has a long history of university and federal support. Since 1961, LACIS has been recognized as a National Resource Center (NRC) by the US Department of Education, which provides Title VI support for program activities and for FLAS fellowships. The program has a faculty of extraordinary diversity and across-the-board strength. These strengths encompass not only the classic social science and humanities fields, but also the natural and ecological sciences and the agricultural and professional schools. Not many other universities can compete with the overall range of UW–Madison's faculty expertise in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies. UW–Madison's general excellence is reflected by its consistent ranking among the top ten graduate universities in the United States.

Dual Degree Program

Candidates interested in earning a dual degree in law and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies must apply to both programs and must meet the degree requirements for both programs. The dual degree program can be completed in seven semesters. Typically, the student begins the LACIS portion of the program in the second year of law school. More information can be found on the website.


Please consult the table below for key information about this degree program’s admissions requirements. The program may have more detailed admissions requirements, which can be found below the table or on the program’s website.

Graduate admissions is a two-step process between academic programs and the Graduate School. Applicants must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School as well as the program(s). Once you have researched the graduate program(s) you are interested in, apply online.

Fall Deadline January 5
Spring Deadline October 15
Summer Deadline The program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Not required.
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not exclusively in English, must provide an English proficiency test score earned within two years of the anticipated term of enrollment. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Requirements for Admission policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1241.
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Admission to the master's program is competitive and requires a strong undergraduate academic background, a clear demonstration of interdisciplinary interests, and a strong statement of purpose illustrating the applicant's goals. In addition to the online application, applicants must submit to the program: transcript(s) of all undergraduate work, three letters of recommendation, a statement of reasons for graduate study, and a current CV. Applications must be received by deadline above for the fall semester.


Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

Tinker Nave Short Term Field Research Grants

Application Deadline: Applications for summer fieldwork are typically due the first Friday in March.

See website for more details.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Graduate Fellowships  (FLAS), (HEA Title VI)

See website for more details.

For further information and assistance about financial aid please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements

Mode of Instruction

Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No No No

Mode of Instruction Definitions

Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students typically take enough credits aimed at completing the program in a year or two.

Evening/Weekend: ​Courses meet on the UW–Madison campus only in evenings and/or on weekends to accommodate typical business schedules.  Students have the advantages of face-to-face courses with the flexibility to keep work and other life commitments.

Face-to-Face: Courses typically meet during weekdays on the UW-Madison Campus.

Hybrid: These programs combine face-to-face and online learning formats.  Contact the program for more specific information.

Online: These programs are offered 100% online.  Some programs may require an on-campus orientation or residency experience, but the courses will be facilitated in an online format.

Curricular Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 18 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Refer to the Graduate School: Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required. Refer to the Graduate School: Grade Point Average (GPA) Requirement policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
Other Grade Requirements n/a
Assessments and Examinations Students must write and defend a paper or optional master's thesis to a three-person committee consisting of the faculty advisor, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies director or associate director and one more relevant faculty member.
Language Requirements Candidates must obtain certification of basic proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese or offer proof of proficiency.

Required Courses

Completion of the degree requires 30 credits of courses with Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian language and area content. At least 50% of course credit must be in courses numbered 700 or above, or that have the graduate attribute. Students choose among Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies' core areas in consultation with the Program Associate Director and their faculty advisor. 

Core Courses12
Core area courses numbered 300 or above decided in consultation with the Program Associate Director and faculty advisor
Complementary Area Coursework12
Courses numbered 300 or above, or Foreign Language and Area studies approved language courses decided in consultation with the Program Associate Director and faculty advisor
Pertinent Research Methods3
At least 3 credits of complementary coursework in a pertinent research methods course are required.
Graduate Seminars6
At least two seminars (6 credits total) must be included in the complementary coursework
Interdepartmental Seminar in the Latin-American Area (Students must complete this seminar as part of the Graduate Seminar requirement)
Additional Coursework6
The remaining credits will be completed through additional coursework. Thesis credits may count towards additional coursework (see below for more information).
Total Credits39

Thesis Credits

Thesis credits may satisfy requirements for additional coursework. A limit of 6 credits of LACIS 698 Directed Study or LACIS 699 Directed Study can fulfill Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies coursework.

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Major-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to transfer no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions.

Undergraduate Credits Earned at Other Institutions or UW-Madison

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to transfer toward the degree.

Credits Earned as a Professional Student at UW-Madison (Law, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Veterinary careers)

Refer to the Graduate School: Transfer Credits for Prior Coursework policy.

Credits Earned as a University Special Student at UW–Madison

Students are allowed to transfer no more than 6 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. The student would not be allowed to transfer courses toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken in coursework numbered 700 or above or are taken to meet the requirements of a capstone certificate and has the “Grad 50%” attribute.


Refer to the Graduate School: Probation policy.

  1. Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
  2. Probation (not progressing according to standards but permitted to enroll; loss of funding guarantee; specific plan with dates and deadlines in place in regard to removal of probationary status).
  3. Unsatisfactory progress (not progressing according to standards; not permitted to enroll, dismissal, leave of absence or change of advisor or program).

Advisor / Committee

The program director or associate director will be the formal advisor for all students in the program. In addition, students are expected to work with a faculty advisor to complete a final paper or an optional thesis to be defended to a three member committee.

Credits Per Term Allowed

15 credits

Time Limits

Candidates are expected to finish the degree in four semesters of full-time study; after four semesters, the student must petition for extension. Time to degree will be customized for students in dual or articulated degree programs. Students must also petition for part-time (fewer than 6 credits per semester) status.

Refer to the Graduate School: Time Limits policy.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the department chair or program director with questions about grievances. They may also contact the L&S Academic Divisional Associate Deans, the L&S Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Administration, or the L&S Director of Human Resources.


Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies has a JD/MA dual degree. Contact the program for more information.

Professional Development

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principal historical, societal, scientific and humanist concerns that are rooted in the realities of the broader Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian regions. These include but are not limited to: knowledge of pre-colonial indigenous societal organizations; the experience of colonialism; the biodiversity of the region; and the regions tumultuous social, economic and political trajectory and the specific challenges these have posed for the peoples of the regions. In particular, students should demonstrate an understanding of the unique historical trajectory of these regions as the product of the global confluence of various cultural, social, political and economic influences beginning in the late 15th century. This includes not only the especially profound mutual impact of Iberian colonization of the Americas, but also the larger context of European imperial conflict in the Western Hemisphere, the central place of African slavery in the development of the Atlantic economy, and the significant and multifaceted role that the United States has played in shaping Latin America and the Caribbean. Students should recognize how these histories and contemporary realities impact more specific questions, contemporary or historical, and humanist, social scientific or scientific in nature.
  2. Within students' more specific area of interest, they should be able to articulate key theoretical and empirical concerns and identify appropriate theoretical approaches to the problem of interest and identify empirical sources that can help to answer that question or problem.
  3. Students should demonstrate proficiency, and preferably advanced language ability, in either Spanish or Portuguese. Additional indigenous language learning, such as Kichwa, Quechua, Quichua and Nahuatil, are also encouraged.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to conduct interdisciplinary research that: includes a critical literature review; selects appropriate research methodologies; proposes an appropriate research design to collect, analyze, interpret, and present findings; successfully carries out this research plan.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to articulate and elaborate their research findings.
  6. Recognize and apply principles of ethical and professional conduct. This includes, in particular, an understanding of the ethics of research and professional activities in cross-cultural contexts.


The Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies (LACIS) teaching staff consists of more than 100 faculty who teach LACIS language and area content courses.

LACIS Steering Committee