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Latin American Studies (research)

The Research Master’s programme provides a comprehensive training for the acquisition of state-of-the-art research skills in the field of Latin American studies. It has been specially designed for highly-motivated students who explicitly aspire to an academic career or who hope to obtain a position in other professional domains in which the possession of research experience and skills are required.
This is the only existing Research Master’s programme in the Netherlands and Belgium which is exclusively oriented to the study of the Latin American region. Most courses are taught in Spanish and some in English. Students can write their papers and thesis in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

The first semester of this two-year programme starts with a General Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies in which a series of leading scholars make a general presentation about their current academic research and the place its takes within a specific debate and their field of study. By this, students get first-hand accounts about both the possibilities as well as the difficulties to carry out a research in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the same time, the students also follow a course on public policies and social development. They learn what exactly is currently being done by Latin American governments and international agencies in the form of specific public policies to tackle major social problems which are affecting Latin American societies today (in fields such as poverty alleviation, education, health care, housing, and public security). During this semester the students also follow a course on hybrid cultures in Latin America. The aim of this course is to discuss the primary concepts of the international and Latin-American cultural theory. More particularly, this course is interested in the creative interrelationship between culture and politics.

During the second semester, the students are taught in research methods and techniques, which will allow them later on to carry out their own fieldwork in Latin America or the Caribbean. They also will follow two courses given by distinguished professors coming from Brazil and Chile which, each year, are specially invited to Leiden to teach a couple of courses.

During the first bloc of this semester students have to choose one or two courses (10 EC in total) from this list or to take a course (10 EC) at CEDLA or Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University. After that the students depart to a Latin American or Caribbean country of their own choice to conduct a three months research on a specific topic in the fields of social development and politics, cultural and media studies, indigenous studies or any other field of research in which the scholars participating at this programme can provide expertise and academic support.

The final semester is entirely dedicated to the writing of the final Research Master’s thesis. This will be combined with a series of tutorial gatherings in which the students discuss with their academic supervisors, both in private sessions as well as in group meetings, about the advancement of their writings. Those students who want to apply for a PhD position in one of the existing PhD scholarships in the Netherlands or abroad, can also work during the four and final semester in the writing of a PhD proposal under the supervision of one of the scholars participating at this Research Master’s programme.