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. The 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 in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (https://grad.wisc.edu/apply/requirements/#english-proficiency).|
|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 January 5 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.
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.
MODE OF INSTRUCTION
|Face to Face||Evening/Weekend||Online||Hybrid||Accelerated|
Mode of Instruction Definitions
Accelerated: Accelerated programs are offered at a fast pace that condenses the time to completion. Students are able to complete a program with minimal disruptions to careers and other commitments.
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.
|Minimum Credit Requirement||30 credits|
|Minimum Residence Credit Requirement||18 credits|
|Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement||15 credits must be graduate-level coursework. Details can be found in the Graduate School’s Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) policy (https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1244).|
|Overall Graduate GPA Requirement||3.00 GPA required. |
This program follows the Graduate School's policy: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-1203.
|Other Grade Requirements||n/a|
|Assessments and Examinations||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.|
|Language Requirements||Candidates must obtain certification of basic proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese or offer proof of proficiency.|
Completion of the degree requires 30 credits of courses with Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian language and area content, consisting of 12 credits in a student's core area, 12 credits in complimentary program core areas and research methods, and 6 thesis credits (senior honors thesis courses do not count). At least 50% of course credit must be in courses numbered 700 or above, or that have a graduate attribute. Students choose among LACIS' core areas in consultation with the Program Associate Director and their faculty advisor.
12 credits in a student's core area at the 300 level or above, as decided upon in consultation with the Program Associate Director and their faculty advisor.
Complementary Area Coursework
12 credits of courses at the 300 level or above, or Foreign Language and Area studies approved language courses, as decided upon in consultation with the Program Associate Director and their faculty advisor.
Pertinent Research Methods
At least 3 credits of complementary coursework in a pertinent research methods course are required.
At least two seminars (6 credits total) must be included in the complementary coursework, and at least one of these seminars must be LACIS/A A E/ANTHRO/C&E SOC/GEOG/HISTORY/POLI SCI/PORTUG/SOC/SPANISH 982 Interdepartmental Seminar in the Latin-American Area (or equivalent seminar).
The remaining 6 credits will be completed through additional coursework. In order to earn an MA degree, students must write and defend a paper or optional master's thesis to a three-person committee consisting of the faculty advisor, LACIS director or associate director and one more relevant faculty member. Thesis credits may count towards additional coursework. A limit of 6 credits of LACIS 698 Directed Study or LACIS 699 Directed Study can count towards LACIS 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.
Graduate Work from Other Institutions
With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions.
No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.
UW–Madison University Special
Students are allowed to count 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 count courses toward the 50% graduate coursework minimum unless taken at the 700 level or above.
This program follows the Graduate School's Probation policy.
- Good standing (progressing according to standards; any funding guarantee remains in place).
- 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).
- 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
This program follows the Graduate School's Time Limits policy.
Grievances and Appeals
These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:
- Bias or Hate Reporting
- Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures
- Hostile and Intimidating Behavior Policies and Procedures
- Dean of Students Office (for all students to seek grievance assistance and support)
- Employee Assistance (for personal counseling and workplace consultation around communication and conflict involving graduate assistants and other employees, post-doctoral students, faculty and staff)
- Employee Disability Resource Office (for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities)
- Graduate School (for informal advice at any level of review and for official appeals of program/departmental or school/college grievance decisions)
- Office of Compliance (for class harassment and discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence)
- Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (for conflicts involving students)
- Ombuds Office for Faculty and Staff (for employed graduate students and post-docs, as well as faculty and staff)
- Title IX (for concerns about discrimination)
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.
LACIS has a J.D./M.A. dual degree. Contact the program for more information.
Graduate School Resources
Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Demonstrate the ability to articulate and elaborate their research findings.
- 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.