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

PhD Program in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies


Mexican American and Latina/o Studies emerged as a significant area of scholarship in the 1970s. The University of Texas at Austin has been at the forefront of this discipline under the leadership of faculty members such as George I. Sánchez, Carlos E. Castañeda, and the founder of the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS), Américo Paredes. These scholars helped to define Mexican American Studies as an interdisciplinary field of study. Recognizing the role of broader Latina/o populations in the shaping of U.S. society, the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies (MALS) focuses on cultural practices, historical development, and socioeconomic conditions of these populations. The Department admitted its first PhD cohort for the Fall 2018 semester.

The PhD in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies The University of Texas at Austin is designed to prepare graduates not only for traditional academic employment in the field of Mexican American and Latina/o studies and related fields but also for careers in the arts, advocacy and related professions in which advanced knowledge of Mexican American and Latina/o studies is crucial. 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 both the interdisciplinary field of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and in core disciplines identified by each student.

Students entering our program can expect to receive rigorous mentoring from MALS faculty, intensive pedagogical training, and additional disciplinary guidance from the Department’s faculty affiliates across the university. Among the many research resources on campus available to our students is the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, one of the premier libraries in the nation focused on Latin American and Latina/o studies. MALS is one element of UT’s Latino Studies cluster, which also includes the Center for Mexican American Studies and the Latino Research Initiative, whose programming and research provide additional opportunities for our students. In addition, MALS collaborates extensively with other interdisciplinary units on campus, including the Center for Asian American Studies, Black Studies, the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Our faculty affiliates currently represent the following departments, which represent some of the areas in which MALS students may pursue core disciplinary training: African & African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Butler School of Music, Education, English, Government, History, Radio-Television-Film, Slavic & Eurasian Studies, Sociology, and Theatre and Dance.

Coursework Overview

Coursework for the MALS PhD includes both a series of required courses, preferably taken in the first year, and a sequence of courses selected by the student in consultation with the Graduate Advisor and each student’s primary mentor. Students must earn a minimum grade of B (3.0) in all coursework. For more specific information about course requirements, students should refer to the Graduate Handbook upon admission to the program.

Required Courses (not including dissertation):

  • Introduction to Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
  • Theories in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies
  • Interpretive Methods in Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

Elective Coursework:

In addition to the required courses, dissertation hours, and other prescribed electives determined in consultation with the primary advisor, students in the PhD program must complete 4 graduate-level courses offered by the Department of MALS and 5 graduate-level courses offered by other traditional disciplines, with a preference for courses that include a minimum of 30% MALS content.

Additional Requirements:

Students wishing to serve as Assistant Instructors (those who design and teach their own specialized courses) will need to complete a 398T course (supervised pedagogical training) in addition to serving at least one year as a Teaching Assistant.

Funding Guarantee

Upon admittance into the MALS PhD program, MALS students will be given a letter that details the nature of the funding package offered over the course of their time in the program. Funding packages usually involve ten semesters of guaranteed funding, provided the student remains in good standing. Funding will be provided through a combination of fellowships, teaching assistantships and assistant instructorships. Funding packages are offered for the 9-month academic year and include a stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance.

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Graduate Advisor

Dr. Julie Minich

Academic Program Coordinator

Luis Guevara