Universiteit Leiden

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Latin American Studies (research) (MA)

About the programme

Discover the newest insights from the scholars who uncover them.

Cutting Edge Research

The two-year Latin American Studies research master consists of compulsory core courses, thematic electives, and a research Master's thesis.

This programme focuses on the ideas and practices of resistance and change in Latin America and the Caribbean. You will be able to specialise in one of three areas:

  1. Culture and identity: socio-symbolic constructions; everyday life; (im)material culture; social, collective and individual identities.
  2. State-society relations: legitimacy; authority; governance and order.
  3. Literature, arts and media: the produced culture circulating through the press, (audio)visual and electronic media.

A substantial part of the programme is taught in Spanish, with classes also offered in English and Portuguese. You can write your papers and MA thesis in Spanish, English or Portuguese.

Year 1

During your first year you take two core courses covering the latest theoretical debates on the subject of modernity. You also study a relevant methodology course and submit a research proposal for your MA thesis.

Three opportunities are available for you to study a thematic elective in your chosen area of specialisation. The thematic electives combined with the core courses will help you to define your own research interest within the profile and expertise of the programme.

Year 2

During your second year, you will focus on a period of fieldwork of 8 – 12 weeks. This usually involves travel to Latin America to conduct research in a country of your choice. This might involve data collection/interviews etc., which is gathering first-hand information, or socio-semiotics, which involves conducting discourse and image analysis. Depending in the nature of your thesis, this component can be carried out in Leiden (remotely/digital fieldwork/close textual analysis etc.), always in consultation with your supervisor.

Following this step, you will complete your thesis based on the data/materials collected. A writing workshop will provide support in how to present your findings in different academic writing formats (for example: PhD research project; article publication; funding proposal).

The two-year Master's in Latin American Studies (research) aims to provide students with in-depth knowledge of the social and cultural issues in present-day Latin America and the Caribbean region. 

The acquisition of advanced academic skills in the interpretation of texts, the analysis and solution of conceptual problems, and the ability to independently conduct high-quality scientific research are other key goals of the programme. Opportunities are provided for students to conduct research in a Latin American country or broaden their professional experience by taking part in an internship at an organisation.

For a detailed programme, see the Prospectus.

Please note that this guide applies to the current academic year, which means that the curriculum for next year may slightly differ.

Latest research

All courses are taught by academics who are established researchers. Content is constantly updated to reflect contemporary academic debates and the very latest insights – many from the studies conducted by lecturers on the programme.


Edmund Amann

Professor of Brazilian studies

Edmund Amann

“Brazil is one of the world's most important, fascinating, vibrant and - in some ways - frustrating countries. During the Research MA students have the opportunity to undertake coursework and conduct research around multiple facets of Brazil's economy, society, culture and politics. Students working with me on their theses have the opportunity to investigate such topics as the contemporary Brazilian economy, the business environment, the political system and Brazil's role in the regional and international order. There is also the opportunity to take courses to which I contribute covering such issues as Brazil's relationship with the Lusophone world, the recent political and economic crisis in the country, and Brazil's development since the Estado Novo (a critical milestone in the country's history dating from the 1930s). For those wanting to gain in-depth insight concerning Latin America's largest country, the RES MA offers plentiful options.”

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