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Latin American Studies (research)

The Research Master’s programme provides a comprehensive training for the acquisition of state-of-the-art research skills in the field of Latin American studies. It has been specially designed for highly-motivated students who explicitly aspire to an academic career or who hope to obtain a position in other professional domains in which the possession of research experience and skills are required.
This is the only existing Research Master’s programme in the Netherlands and Belgium which is exclusively oriented to the study of the Latin American region. Most courses are taught in Spanish and some in English. Students can write their papers and thesis in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

The first semester of this two-year programme starts with a General Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies in which a series of leading scholars make a general presentation about their current academic research and the place it takes within a specific debate and their field of study. By this, students get first-hand accounts about both the possibilities as well as the difficulties to carry out a research in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the same time, the students also follow a course on public policies and social development. They learn what exactly is currently being done by Latin American governments and international agencies in the form of specific public policies to tackle major social problems which are affecting Latin American societies today (in fields such as poverty alleviation, education, health care, housing, and public security). During this semester the students also follow a course on hybrid cultures in Latin America. The aim of this course is to discuss the primary concepts of the international and Latin-American cultural theory. More particularly, this course is interested in the creative interrelationship between culture and politics.

During the second semester, the students are taught in research methods and techniques, which will allow them later on to carry out their own fieldwork in Latin America or the Caribbean. They also will follow two courses given by distinguished professors coming from Brazil and Chile which, each year, are specially invited to Leiden to teach a couple of courses.

During the first bloc of this semester students have to choose one or two courses (10 EC in total) from this list or to take a course (10 EC) at CEDLA or Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. After that the students depart to a Latin American or Caribbean country of their own choice to conduct a three months research on a specific topic in the fields of social development and politics, cultural and media studies, indigenous studies or any other field of research, in which the scholars participating in this programme, can provide expertise and academic support.

The final semester is entirely dedicated to the writing of the final Research Master’s thesis. This will be combined with a series of tutorial gatherings in which the students discuss with their academic supervisors, both in private sessions as well as in group meetings, about the advancement of their writings. Those students who want to apply for a PhD position in one of the existing PhD scholarships in the Netherlands or abroad, can also work during the fourth and final semester in the writing of a PhD proposal under the supervision of one of the scholars participating at this Research Master’s programme.

First year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Academic Research in Latin American and the Caribbean 10
Estado, Sociedad Civil y Políticas Públicas en América Latina 10
El lugar de lo político en la literatura y el cine 10

Second semester

Select one of the following courses:

Research Seminar on Latin American and Caribbean Studies 10
Seminario de Investigación Análisis de Discurso 10

Select 2 of the following 5 courses:

Desplazamiento, memoria e identidad en la narrativa y el cine latinoamericanos 5
Thematic Course Latin American Cultural Analysis 5
Latin American Foreign Policy 5
Visiting Chair Chile 2016: The Politics of Social Policy in Latin America 5
Master Brazilian Chair 2016 (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa: Structural Change and Innovation from a Brazilian perspective) 5

Second year

Vak EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester

Optional courses CEDLA, Utrecht or Graduate School 10
Fieldwork Latin American and the Caribbean 20

Second semester

MA Thesis Latin American Studies (Research) 30

Meer info


Graduates of the programme have attained the following achievement levels:
I. Knowledge and understanding
Graduates have and can show knowledge and understanding of relevant models and theoretical notions at a level typical of a master’s student. Is capable of surpassing this level or deepening the knowledge and understanding and appears capable of contributing to the growth of knowledge or its applicability, the latter most likely in a team of researchers.
1. A profound awareness of the current issues and research questions in the relevant disciplines and regional fields of the programme;
2. A thorough understanding of various theories and methodological approaches that are commonly used in research programmes in Latin American and Caribbean Studies;
3. The ability to identify a theoretical framework suitable for addressing relevant problems and issues;
4. Advanced, up-to-date knowledge of the quantitative and qualitative research methodology appropriate to particular projects and locations;
5. Sensitivity to the relationship between theory, method and place;
6. Awareness of the role of comparison;
7. Appropriate language skills for accessing sources in the original languages;
8. The fundamentals of research project management.

II. Application of knowledge and understanding
Graduates can apply knowledge and understanding and problem-solving abilities in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study; They have the ability to integrate knowledge and handle complexity.
1. The capacity to apply a theoretical or descriptive framework when conducting basic independent research in Latin American and Caribbean Studies;
2. The capacity to deploy the theoretical and methodological tool-sets of at least one mainstream academic discipline;
3. The capacity to think critically and creatively about the parameters and origins of disciplinary tool-sets;
4. The ability to critically select, study and analyse literature relevant to the issues and problems presented by the curriculum and the research programmes in question;
5. The ability to independently formulate, perform and assess scientific research at a level suitable for preparing scientific publications;
6. Sensitivity to the relationship between theory, method and place;
7. Ability to deploy comparison as an analytical tool.

III. Making judgements
Graduates can formulate judgments on the basis of the collected information, taking into account the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and understanding.
1. Profound knowledge of the philosophy and ethics of Latin American and Caribbean Studies research and the limitations of individual research projects;
2. Sophisticated understanding of the stakes in the politics of knowledge and their relationship with the ethics of fairness and objectivity;
3. Sophisticated understanding of the stakes in the politics of knowledge and an awareness of chauvinism in academic inquiry.

IV. Communication
Graduates can clearly and unambiguously communicate conclusions and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
1. The capacity to report independently on relevant research that has been carried out according to current academic standards;
2. The ability to write scientific reports in English and Spanish;
3. The ability to give persuasive oral presentations;
4. The ability to engage in the international academic debate.

V. Learning skills
Graduates have the learning skills to allow them to continue studies in a largely self-directed or autonomous manner.
The focus on training to develop autonomy and confidence in designing and conducting all stages of research offers students a head start with respect to the curiosity and eagerness to learn that is expected in any future research position, be it in an academic setting or in a setting of applied research.

Master’s thesis and requirement for graduation

In order to graduate, students must have completed 120 EC of courses including the
writing of the thesis. The master’s programme is concluded with a master’s thesis
containing the results of the individual research. It is evaluated by the relevant lecturer/supervisor and assisted by a second reader.
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