Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies

Degree Requirements

MALS students take four classes within the program — Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies, two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.

This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:

  • A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Seminar in Interdisciplinary Studies] (3 credits).
  • Two required core courses to introduce students to International Studies [MALS 78300 and MALS 78400] (6 credits).
  • 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies
  • A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000] (3 credits).

Additionally, written and oral proficiency in Spanish or Portuguese, or (only in special cases) French or Dutch is strongly recommended.

Core Courses

MALS 78300: Introduction to US Latino Studies
This seminar examines the complex history of the multiple Latino communities across the United States present in the country’s history from its emergence in the eighteenth century to the present day. Students will explore the history, politics and culture of the diverse social groups linked to the greater legacy of Latin American societies in the United States. A special emphasis will be given to pursuing the specificity of the Latino experience and the historical and political coordinates of each community. The seminar will employ a strong interdisciplinary approach to analyzing issues ranging from race, class and gender relations, cultural productions, linguistic differences, identity politics, civil rights, and the rise of Latino communities in current political struggles and debates. The seminar will combine methodologies of research from the fields of literary studies, linguistics, history, political science, sociology and anthropology. It will be cross-listed and taught on a rotating basis by faculty from the different disciplines included.

MALS 78400: Introduction to Latin American Studies
This seminar surveys five centuries of Latin American history, culture and politics from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will be exposed to landmarks in the field of Latin American studies in order to recognize and engage in some of the main issues and debates both in the region at large and the sub-regions within it. At the same time, students will examine various theoretical frameworks to approach the study of Latin America, including literary studies, linguistics, history, political science, sociology and anthropology. The survey will cover key works and criticism from the pre-Columbian era, the nineteenth-century processes of independence, the emergence of the new nation-states, and the overall development of modern Latin American societies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The seminar will be cross-listed and taught on a rotating basis by faculty from the different disciplines.

MALS 78600: Introduction to Caribbean Studies
The Caribbean is a geographical and multilinguistic space where the blending of the Indigenous People of the Americas with more recent arrivals—the colonial heritage (British, French, Dutch, Spanish) and the African and South Asian legacies—created unique, hybridized and, in short, creolized societies. Marked by the doctrine of discovery, the genocide of indigenous people, settler colonialism, slavery and the making of the post-colonial state, the Caribbean challenges the dichotomy of local versus global. It is a place where foundational violence shifted the geography of reason. This course will provide an overview of the social, cultural, political, and economic history of the Caribbean from 1492 to the present. The course will combine a variety of disciplines such as anthropology, art, economics, literature, music and political sciences. It will emphasize transdisciplinary approaches to historical events and contemporary issues that have shaped the Caribbean as a way to reflect on racial capitalism, domination and freedom.

Elective Courses

Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and the Humanities at The Graduate Center.

For related coursework in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latino Studies students may look to offerings in the doctoral programs in AnthropologyArt HistoryComparative LiteratureEconomicsHispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and LanguagesHistoryLinguisticsMusicPolitical ScienceSociology, and Theatre.

Library Resources

Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's Liberal Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies research is reference librarian Silvia Cho.

To learn more about the Center for Latin American, Caribbean & Latino Studies (CLACLS) at the Graduate Center, visit our website at:

associated faculty

Other faculty, who have taught core courses or electives for this concentration or supervised theses and capstones, include Alyshia Galvez (Anthropology), Carlos Riobo (Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures), and Patricia Tovar (Anthropology).

  • Carlos Riobó (Yale University Ph.D.) is Professor of Latin American and Latinx literature and cultures. He is the Immediate-Past Executive Officer of the LAILaC Ph.D. program and a Distinguished Scholar in CUNY’s Advanced Research Collaborative (2021).  At CCNY he is also the Chair of the Humanities and Arts Divisional Council, the Director of the Kaye Scholarship, the Director of the Mario Vargas Llosa Chair, and an Editorial Board member of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas.