Day of the Dead event

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do your programs admit students for the spring semester?

No. We admit students once a year for the fall semester only.

Do you admit students who do not have an undergraduate degree in Latin American Studies?

Yes, many students have been accepted into the program who don’t have backgrounds in Latin American Studies. Students who are required to fulfill a language requirement may.

Should I contact faculty before I apply to the program?

Yes, we encourage you to contact faculty who have interests similar to your own. It’s best to arrange a meeting and discuss your research ideas.

When is the application deadline for the graduate program?
For more information please see the How to Apply page for details. As well as the program pages:

I will not be receiving my undergraduate degree until June. Must this degree be indicated on the transcripts I send you?

No. However, if you are accepted into the program, you will need to submit up-to-date transcripts to the Graduate Affairs as well as the LAS after the degree(s) is conferred.    

I have been out of school for many years and I have no faculty who remember me or can write letters for me. Who can I get to write letters of reference?

Professionals or others with whom you have worked can write your letters although at least one letter from a faculty member is highly advisable.

May I have the GRE waived?

No. Both the department and Graduate Affairs require all applicants to submit GRE scores.

*Note: The cost of the GRE should not a boundary for graduate study - ETS offers need-based GRE Fee Reduction Waivers.

What if my GRE scores are low?

All aspects of your application are considered. Outstanding letters of reference, a high GPA, or an exceptional statement of purpose could outweigh low GRE scores.

Our MA program's minimum requirement for the combined verbal and quantitative GRE score is 294, and a minimum of 4.0 on the analytic essay.

What should my personal statement look like?

The Cal State Application personal statement is limited to 500 words. We recommend applicants to opt to send their statements directly to the department(s) rather than submitting them on Cal State Application. In the space provided for your personal statement, please write: "Personal Statement sent directly to department."

The personal statement sent to the Center for Latin American Studies should include, but is not limited to: research interests and potential faculty members that you would like to work with.

If your research plans are not yet fully developed, you should clarify what topics and issues you are most interested in pursuing and propose possible contexts in which to study them. Your statement should not be an extended narrative about personal history, except as relevant to your research plans. It is recommended that the personal statement be between 750-1000 words.

Does my personal statement look different if I am applying to a dual program?

Those applying to the dual programs should ideally synthesize their research interests from both programs. Please check the requirements of the specific program for additional guidelines.

I am applying to the Public Health dual program, where do I send my materials?

Potential students of the Masters of Latin American Studies AND Public Health should send all the supplementary graduate application materials to the Public Health department as well as the Center for Latin American Studies.

Applicants for the MPH programs MUST submit an additional application to SOPHAS in order to be considered for admission.

  • SOPHAS: Application and supporting materials due February 15.
  • SDSU: Application due March 1, supporting materials due April 1.

Where can I get information about non-resident tuition waivers and funding opportunities?

SDSU offers NRTW (Non-Resident Tuition Waivers) for international and non-Californian students, but these awards are limited. For more information about these awards and other sources of funding see the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or CLAS funding opportunities.

How do I apply for financial aid at SDSU?

Contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships (Phone: (619) 594-6323).

The financial aid office recommends that you apply for aid as soon as you have been assigned a RED ID through Cal State Apply. Do not wait until you are admitted to the university. You may apply for financial aid while your application for admission is being processed.

Does the MA degree require a written thesis?

No, there is an option of completing a thesis (LATAM 799A) or the Comprehensive Written and Oral Exam and an additional course with Latin American content (3 Units).

When can I apply to graduate? What deadlines are important and where can I find them?

Major deadlines, including graduation deadlines and thesis submission deadlines, are available online at the Graduate Admissions website. If you are unsure about your personal track, contact your Graduate Advisor as soon as possible.
You are responsible for knowing these deadlines.

How do I enroll in the Comprehensive Exams course 799C or Thesis 799A?

For more information and the documents required see Graduation Requirements.

What are examples of former students’ theses?

You will find a complete list of students’ theses in SDSU’s Library Collections.

What do I do if I need to take a semester off from coursework?

Students are permitted to take up to four (4) semesters of approved educational leaves of absence when you are engaged for the majority of the leave time in an activity that is directly leading to formal academic activities that contribute to specific academic goals.

How to request a Leave of Absence (LOA):

  1. Apply through your webportal
  2. Submit the “Graduate Student Leave of Petition” to Graduate Adviser for their signature
  3. Submit above form to Graduate Affairs

IMPORTANT: If you do not enroll in courses for two semesters in a row, the University considers you withdrawn, and you will need to reapply to the program.

Important Links


Dr. Ramona Pérez
Director of CLAS
Office: AL-377H
Phone: (619) 594 1155
Email: [email protected]