Culminating Experience (Comprehensive Exams, Thesis and Project)

All MA students must successfully complete either comprehensive examinations or a thesis. Click on either of the links below for instructions on each option.



Comprehensive written examination about Latin America must be passed successfully in two fields approved by the graduate advisor or program director. Students should expect to take the comprehensive examination (LAS 5960) no earlier than the semester they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and program requirements. Immediately following completion of the comprehensive examination, students must pass an oral examination conducted by a two-member faculty committee. Comprehensive Exams (LAS 5960) Guidelines and Form


Students may choose to write an inter-disciplinary thesis under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee selected in consultation with a thesis adviser. Students who make this choice must enroll in LAS 5990, for 3 units. Students will write their thesis under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee and a thesis adviser, who will serve as chair of the committee. The thesis will be a systematic study of a significant problem. It will identify the problem, state the major assumptions, explain the significance, and engage the sources for and methods of gathering information, analyze data, and offer a conclusion or recommendation. The finished product will evidence originality, critical and independent thinking, and appropriate organization and format, and thorough documentation. An oral defense of the thesis is required.

Thesis (LAS 5990) Guidelines


Students may choose to produce an inter-disciplinary project and report under the guidance of a three-member faculty committee selected in consultation with a project advisor, who will serve as chair of the committee. Students who choose the project must enroll in LAS 5995 for 3 units. The project will be a significant undertaking (portfolio, exhibition, performance, documentary, or other format) appropriate to a relevant professional field or the fine and applied arts. It must have a specific focus, have appropriate form and organization, show a high level of original thought, and require in-depth research. Prior to the project's undertaking, students will develop a project proposal with bibliography that specifies why the art form, media, or other chosen format is appropriate to the project's goals, and how the project relates to the area of Latin American Studies. The final project must include a written report that states its significance, objectives, methodology and conclusion(s), and addresses any changes from the initial proposal. It may also include visual documentation (CD, DVD, USB Flash drive). An oral defense of the project is required.