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

Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

Introduction

Graduate Portfolio Programs are opportunities for students to obtain credentials in a cross-disciplinary academic area of inquiry while they are completing the requirements for a master's or doctoral degree in a particular discipline.  The concept of a portfolio program was developed to enrich the research experience, increase the breadth of training, and expand the scholarly credentials of graduate students. Visit the following web page for more information on the graduate portfolio programs offered at The University of Texas at Austin.

The Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies provides graduate students with a credential that recognizes their work as they research Mexican American and Latina/o cultural practices, historical development, and socio-economic conditions. The program brings together graduate students and faculty from all over campus and fosters cross-disciplinary dialogue, research, and study. While the portfolio program supplements the degree program a student is pursuing, it does so by providing a cohesive structure for graduate work in Mexican American and Latina/o studies. The credential field area should be fulfilled outside the student’s home department, with MALS graduate classes including MAS 390. Courses on the MALS GSC approved list of courses will automatically count towards portfolio requirements.

Students in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies come from such institutions as the University of New Mexico, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, The University of Texas at Austin, and Yale University.  Since 2002, the portfolio program has produced over forty Ph.D.s within a rigorous and supportive intellectual environment. Graduates have been placed in tenure-track jobs at BYU, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, The University of San Francisco, Colorado College, Notre Dame, and UC Riverside, among other institutions.


Eligibility

The Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies is not a degree program; however, it allows graduate students to obtain a credential in a cross-disciplinary area of inquiry while completing the requirements for a master’s or doctoral degree in their home department.

To participate in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, prospective students must be newly admitted or currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Texas at Austin with a minimum 3.00 grade-point average.


Requirements for Master’s Students

During their graduate studies, master’s students participating in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies must complete a minimum of 9 hours of work in graduate courses from the GSC approved course list. Courses on the list contain a minimum of 30% Mexican American and Latina/o Studies content. Course content is defined as a clear integration of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies methodologies and/or readings that are focused on Mexican American and Latina/o populations. Courses must be taken in at least one department outside of the student’s home department. Students must take no more than one course from their home department to fulfill portfolio requirements.

If the courses are not on the MALS GSC approved course list, students are required to submit the syllabi for their courses, which will then be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Studies for the required minimum of 30% MALS content. The Director of Graduate Studies reviews these courses individually for both relevant and substantial MALS content and will also audit for redundancy in content or assignments across the three required courses. Courses that do not contain the minimum 30% MALS course content or show redundancies will not count toward the portfolio.

Portfolio requirements are independent of the requirements for a master’s degree. However, with the approval of a student's supervising professor and graduate studies committee (in the student's home department), portfolio courses may be included in the program of work.

Master’s students are encouraged, but not required, to plan their thesis/report on topics in Mexican American and Latina/o studies, and to include at least one member of the Graduate Studies Committee in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies on their thesis/report committee. To receive full consideration, master’s students must apply to the portfolio program by the May 15th deadline during the first year of coursework.


Requirements for Doctoral Students

Over the course of their graduate studies, doctoral students participating in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies must complete a minimum of 12 hours of graduate course work from the GSC approved course list. Courses contain a minimum of 30% Mexican American and Latina/o Studies content. Students must take no more than one course from their home department to fulfill portfolio requirements.

If the courses are not on the MALS GSC approved course list, students are required to submit the syllabi for their courses, which will then be evaluated by the Director of Graduate Studies for the required minimum of 30% MALS content. The Director of Graduate Studies reviews these courses individually for both relevant and substantial MALS content and will also audit for redundancy in content or assignments across the three required courses.  Course content is defined as a clear integration of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies methodologies and/or readings that are focused on Mexican American and Latina/o populations. Courses that do not contain the minimum 30% MALS course content or show redundancies will not count toward the portfolio.

Portfolio requirements are independent of the requirements for doctoral degrees. However, with the approval of a student's supervising professor and graduate studies committee (in the student's home department), portfolio courses may be included in the program of work.

Doctoral students are encouraged, but not required, to plan their dissertation on topics in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, and to include at least one member of the Graduate Studies Committee in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies on their dissertation committee. To receive full consideration, doctoral students must apply to the portfolio program by the May 15th deadline during the third year of enrollment.


Courses

Course work for the portfolio program must be on the list of MALS GSC approved courses.[i] If the course is not on the list, it must have at least 30% content in Mexican American and Latina/o studies. Courses taken for the portfolio program may not be taken pass/fail or credit/no credit. No more than 3 units of conference course credit with a MAS unique number will count towards the portfolio. Students should contact the Senior Academic Program Coordinator each semester to find out about the MALS faculty graduate course offerings.


Pláticas

Graduate students are required to participate in pláticas, semi-formal presentations of research by graduate students. The plática can be based on the work conducted for a master’s report or thesis or a doctoral dissertation. The Program Coordinator schedules the plática before a student completes graduate degree requirements.


Certification

Upon graduation, after the completion of degree and portfolio requirements, the Graduate School awards certification in the Graduate Portfolio in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. This certification is noted on the student’s official transcript. Graduate students can earn the certification in this specific portfolio program only once in their graduate careers.

Graduating portfolio students are also recognized by MALS at our annual graduation ceremony.


Admissions

Students seeking admission to the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies may be newly admitted to the Graduate School or currently enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Texas at Austin with a minimum 3.00 grade-point average. Applicants must submit the following items:

  • Graduate Portfolio Application and Records Form (PDF, 67K)
  • One-Page Statement (outlining interests and goals in the Graduate Portfolio Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies)
  • Official Letter on letterhead from the Departmental Graduate Advisor (approving the application to the graduate portfolio program, which can be sent via e-mail to the Senior Academic Coordinator in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies)

Print the form and submit all materials to:

Natasha V. Saldaña, Senior Academic Coordinator
Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
University of Texas at Austin
GWB 2.102D, F9200
Austin, Texas 78712

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

This policy is effective immediately for students enrolling in the MALS Portfolio starting in Summer 2015 or later. For students who entered the CMAS Portfolio Program in Spring 2015 or earlier, please click here for the previous certification criteria.


Deadlines

Please note that there are three fixed annual deadlines for M.A. and Ph.D. Portfolio applications:

October 15th

February 15th

May 15th

If students miss an application deadline, they can petition for admission on a case-by-case basis, subject to approval by the MALS Graduate Studies Committee.


PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download from Adobe’s website.


Director of Graduate Studies

Dr. Karma R. Chávez
(512) 232-6888

Senior Academic Coordinator

Natasha Saldaña
(512) 471-2134