Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

Master of Arts in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

As of Fall 2017, the Master of Arts in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies degree will be only awarded as a stepping-stone to a Ph.D. degree in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. To be accepted into the Mexican American and Latina/o Studies graduate program a student must be interested in continuing on to a doctoral degree. The department will no longer offer a terminal M.A. degree.

Introduction

The objective of graduate study at The University of Texas at Austin is to expand intellectual breadth and provide specialized training necessary for a career in teaching, research, the arts, or the professions. Emphasis is placed on the knowledge, methods, and skills needed for scholarly teaching, original research and problem solving, intellectual leadership, creative expression, and other modes of achievement in the student's discipline.

The objective of the Master of Arts degree program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies is to prepare students for professional careers in which advanced knowledge about Mexican American and Latina/o cultural practices, historical development, and socio-economic conditions is crucial. In addition, graduates are prepared to pursue doctoral work in a related discipline.

Students in the Master of Arts degree program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies come from such institutions as Michigan State University, Stanford University, Texas Christian University, UCLA, the University of Houston, and The University of Texas at Austin.


Plan Requirements

Students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies choose one of two plans: MALS Plan A, which requires 33 semester hours of course work, two consecutive academic years of enrollment, and the submission of a thesis or MALS Plan B, which requires 33 semester hours of course work, two consecutive academic years of enrollment, and the submission of two reports.

With both MALS Plan A and MALS Plan B, students will be assigned a provisional faculty advisor upon admission. Students must select an advisor by the 12th class day of the second semester of enrollment. The thesis proposal must be submitted to the thesis advisor by March 1 of the second semester of enrollment. The second year of the degree program will be dedicated to finishing coursework and writing the thesis or two reports.

Students for both plans complete a foundational seminar in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies (i.e., MAS 390—Introduction to Mexican American Studies).

Students pursuing MALS Plan A complete 15 hours of graduate course work in a major concentration and 9 hours of graduate course work in a minor concentration. They must also complete 6 hours in the thesis course (i.e., MAS 698A/B—Thesis).

Students pursuing MALS Plan B complete 15 hours of graduate course work in a major concentration and 9 hours of graduate course work in a minor concentration. They must also complete 6 hours in the report courses (e.g., MAS 398R—Master's Report and MAS 397R—Secondary Report).

Course work for MALS Plan A and MALS Plan B may be chosen from a variety of fields of study but must have at least 25% content in Mexican American or Latina/o Studies. Students should contact the Senior Academic Coordinator to find out about the graduate course offerings of MALS Courtesy Appointments.

Students are required to meet with the Director of Graduate Studies or Program Coordinator before the start of each semester to determine their course selections. Before the meeting, students should utilize the Graduate Degree Planner to determine the placement of courses in the concentrations they have chosen for either MALS Plan A or MALS Plan B.

An advising bar is placed on each student prior to registration and is removed after a student has met with the Graduate Advisor or Program Coordinator.

Registration information and procedures are available through the Office of the Registrar.

Students should be aware of the following items when considering course options:

  • Students can take no more than 6 graduate-level conference course hours (MAS 382—Conference Course) and apply them to either Plan A or Plan B.
  • Students can take no more than 6 hours of graduate course work on a Credit/No Credit basis (except for thesis or report hours).
  • Students can take no more than 6 hours of upper-division undergraduate course work. Students must have prior approval of the instructor to take an undergraduate course and they must inform the Program Coordinator of these arrangements. Upper-division undergraduate courses do NOT count toward the requirements for Plan A or Plan B.
  • Students must earn an 85% or higher in MAS 390 to continue in the program.
  • Students must complete the degree in two years.

If students do not make satisfactory progress towards program completion, the GSC may move to dismiss the student from the program.


Thesis/Report Requirements

Students pursuing MALS Plan A must register for MALS 698A in preparation for the thesis, and then MAS 698B during the semester the thesis is written.

The thesis is prepared under the direction of a supervisor, who is chair of the supervising committee, and includes a reader of the thesis. The supervisor must be a member of the Graduate Studies Committee in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies.

A thesis is based on original research conducted by the student and typically is 50 to 75 pages in length (pending the approval of the thesis supervisor). The thesis is subject to the approval of the committee and ultimately to the approval of the graduate dean.

A thesis is usually submitted at the end of the fourth long semester (i.e., second spring semester that a student is enrolled) or the end of the second summer session.

Students pursuing MALS Plan B must register for MAS 398R for the first report, and then MAS 397R for the second report.

Each report is prepared under the direction of a supervisor, who is chair of the supervising committee, and includes a reader of the report. The supervisor must be a member of the Graduate Studies Committee in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies.

Reports typically result from gathering special materials, from an internship or similar experience, or from seminar, and conference course papers. Each report is typically is 30 to 50 pages in length (pending the approval of the report supervisor). Each report is subject to the approval of the committee and ultimately to the approval of the graduate dean.

The first report is usually written before the end of the third long semester (i.e., second fall semester that a student is enrolled); the second report is usually written before the end of the fourth long semester (i.e., second spring semester that a student is enrolled).  Both reports must be submitted to the Graduate School as one document, with the first report as Part A and the second report as Part B.


Concentrations

Students pursuing the Master of Arts degree program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies organize the courses they take to satisfy either MALS Plan A or MALS Plan B by designating specific areas of concentrations.  These concentrations reflect the intellectual breadth and depth of MALS Courtesy Appointments through their research and teaching interests and the graduate courses offered in past semesters. 

Students organize the courses they take to satisfy either MALS Plan A or MALS Plan B requirements by designating a major concentration in either Cultural Studies or Policy Studies.  M.A. students will then designate a minor concentration from the other field of study. 

Students are allowed, on a case-by-case basis, to develop their own concentrations that can satisfy the MALS Plan A or MALS Plan B requirements in consultation with the Graduate Advisor or Program Coordinator.


Language Requirement

Students must demonstrate competence in written and/or oral Spanish by means approved by the Graduate Studies Committee in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies in order to complete the degree program.

There are three options that can be used to satisfy the language requirement after enrolling at UT Austin:

  • Take a graduate-level course taught in Spanish for a grade of B or better
  • Take Spanish 301 (Spanish for Graduate Students in Other Departments) for a grade of B or better
  • Take the University of Texas Placement Test in Spanish with Writing Exercise for an examination score of 47 or better.  Please note the test fee is $80 and the test can be taken only once.

Questions regarding the Master of Arts degree in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies can be directed to Natasha Saldaña, MALS Senior Academic Coordinator, at (512) 471-2134 or nvs@austin.utexas.edu.


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Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Karma R. Chávez
(512) 232-6888

Senior Academic Coordinator

Natasha Saldaña
(512) 471-2134