Universiteit Leiden

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Latin American Studies (MA)

Career prospects

Create a world of opportunities with a master's degree from Leiden University.

What our graduates do

The Latin American Studies master’s programme offers outstanding preparation for students seeking a profession that requires in-depth knowledge of Latin America and advanced English, Portuguese and Spanish language skills.

Our alumni can be found working in:

  • The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (policy advisor)
  • NGO’s
  • Fairtrade organisations
  • Translation agencies
  • Education
  • PhD’s in Colombia, Germany, and the United States.

Your qualifications

Your degree qualifies you for roles in cultural organisations, education, translation, tourism, publishing, documentation and information processing, development, embassies, ministries of foreign affairs, and semi-governmental and non-profit organisations with a focus on Latin America. You are also well-equipped to pursue a PhD position and a career in academia.

A Leiden University degree

Leiden University Master's graduates are sought-after employees at (inter)national organisations. Our graduates are known for their combination of robust academic training, in-depth and relevant knowledge, and critical, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving.

Tim Vergoossen

Graduated in MA Latin American Studies

Tim Vergoossen

“I work as a project manager for CNV International, the international branch of th labour union. I manage and monitor current projects and do their financial administration. I also assess new applications and check the evaluation reports, which often brings me into contact with the employees of the labour unions in Latin America, Africa and Asia.”

Straight to Guatemala

“This job is a great fit for my area of study – I’ve been very lucky in that way. I maintain contact with organisations throughout the world and I work a lot with foreign languages: I speak French or Spanish every day. I even got to go to Guatemala straight away, in my first year, partly to visit a union we had been supporting for years.”

Applying knowledge

“The course places a strong focus on politics in Latin America, and I can really apply that knowledge in the work I do. I’m familiar with the political situation in the various countries, and I understand how it came about, which is knowledge you need to improve policy and design efficient strategies that work in Latin American countries. What’s more, there might be a lot that you want to change, but if you don’t know how to approach someone from Latin America or how to communicate on their terms, all your plans will come to nothing.”

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA in Latin American Studies 2016-2020.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 22 % Non-profit (e.g. at an idealistic organisation)
  • 11 % Government and semi-government organisations
  • 11 % Consultancy
  • 11 % Business services
  • 11 % Education
  • 34 % Other

How successful are they in finding a job?

  • 80 % found a job within two months
  • 70 % found their first job at academic level

Career preparation

Find out how this programme exactly prepares you for your future career and check our career preparation activities.

With the skills and knowledge you have gained during the MA in Latin American Studies at Leiden University you will be able to work in a range of professional and academic careers. These include highly sought after skills such as:

  • Problem solving (recognizing and analyzing problems, solution-oriented thinking)
  • Analytical skills (analytical thinking, abstraction, evidence)
  • Project management (planning, scope, boundaries, result-orientation)
  • Responsibility (ownership, self-discipline, bear mistakes, accountability)
  • Motivation (commitment, pro-active attitude, initiative)
  • Self-regulation (independence, self-esteem, aware of own goals, motives and capacities)
  • Verbal communication (presenting, speaking, listening)
  • Written communication (writing skills, reporting, summarising)
  • Collaboration (teamwork, group support, loyalty, attendance)
  • Flexibility (adaptability, dealing with change, teachability, eagerness to learn)
  • Critical thinking (asking questions, check assumptions)
  • Creative thinking (resourcefulness, curiosity, thinking out of the box)
  • Integrity (honesty, moral, ethics, personal values)
  • Intercultural skills (communications between different cultures)

During your fieldwork research you will not only develop your research but also your personal skills.  In recent years Latin American Studies students have been doing their fieldwork research at the following institutions:

  • Mexico:  Colegio de Mexico (Mexico D.F.), Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara/ITESO, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla
  • Ecuador: FLACSO
  • Brazil: Universidade de São Paulo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Fundação Getulio Vargas.
  • Chile: Universidad Diego Portales, Universidad Central de Chile, Universidad de Chile, Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano.
  • Puerto Rico: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
  • Guatemala: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala

Do you consider to put your knowledge into practice during your studies? Determine whether an internship could be an option for you. Start orientating your possibilities by visiting an internship information session. This way you can receive information about the internship procedure and listen to tips of former interns.
Notice that you will search for an internship yourself to find a place of your interest. Do you need some help with this or the application process? Do not hesitate to contact the Career Service. When you have found an internship, inform us. Then, the internship coordinator advises you how to proceed and provides your internship plan with feedback so it can be submitted for approval to the board of examiners.

Our staff can help you identify both the career that is right for you, and the necessary steps to get you there. Our team at Humanities Career Service provide all Leiden University humanities students with professional advice and guidance on everything from internships and career planning to job applications. Humanities Career Service also organises regular workshops on topics such as effective interview skills and creating a successful CV.

The Humanities Career Service offers you various (online) workshops, webinars and info sessions. Check our overview of career activities

The Leiden University Career Zone is an online career portal that helps you to prepare for the job market. Here you can find information, tools and tips to help you gain more personal insight, learn about the job market, develop your application skills, plan your academic and professional career, find job vacancies and discover what the Career Service can do for you.

Join the Mentor Network to contact alumni with experience on the labour market and ask them for advice. More than 1200 alumni are happy to help you!

Jelle on finding an internship via Leiden University's Mentor Network

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