MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and PhD in International Relations

The Combined Latin American and Caribbean Studies MA/International Relations PhD program allows qualified graduate students to pursue graduate degrees in both areas simultaneously rather than sequentially. Students must fulfill the requirements for both programs, and up to 36 credits completed as part of the MA in LACS will be counted toward the 75 credit PhD in International Relations.

To be considered for admission, students must meet the following requirements:

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for admission:

  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution for higher education (or equivalent)
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent) for the last two years of undergraduate work and/or a GPA of 3.5 on any previous graduate work;
  • We no longer publish a GRE minimum;
  • International graduate student applicants whose native language is not English and who have not obtained a degree from an English-speaking academic institution are required to submit a score for the TOEFL or IELTS. A total score of 90 on the internet-based TOEFL (equivalent to 575 on the paper-based version) is required.

Admission Procedure

To be accepted into this program, students must submit an application to the PhD in International Relations with a sub-plan for a MA in LACS. This designation will appear in the menu of programs in the graduate application. The application must be submitted by January 15 in the year in which they wish to begin their studies. The following documents must be submitted and will be reviewed by the Admissions Committees from both units.

The following must be submitted as part of the on-line application:

  • Online application and application fee;
  • Official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework;
  • Official GRE scores;
  • Official TOEFL scores, if applicable.
  • A statement of research interests, including reasons for seeking the MA/ PhD, future career goals, and a summary of scholarly preparation for this program;
  • Three letters of reference from academic sources or others able to judge academic abilities and potential; and
  • A curriculum vitae.

Masters of Arts in Latin America and Caribbean Studies Degree Requirements (36 credits)

During their first two years of enrollment in the Combined Degree Program, students must complete 36 credits for an MA in Latin America and Caribbean Studies with depth or focus courses in International Relations.

MALACS Core Courses (9 credits)

During their first two years of enrollment in this dual degree program, students take three core courses as follows:

  • LAS 6003 Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean (first year, fall semester)
  • LAS 6934 Research Seminar (first year, spring semester)
  • INR 5615 Research Design

MALACS Focus Courses (12 -15 credits)

Students will take a minimum of 12-15 credits within the Department of Politics and International Relations with a Latin American and/or Caribbean focus.

MALACS Elective Courses (6-9 credits)

Student may take courses from other areas.

MALACS Exit Options for Combined Degree Program (6 credits)

Students may choose one of three exit options:

LAS 6970 Thesis The thesis is publicly defended and approved by a committee of three graduate faculty members.

LAS 6905 Directed Research in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Preparation of two directed research papers. Both papers require an oral presentation and approval by a committee of three graduate faculty members.

LAS 6942 Internship in Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Supervised internship leading to a major research paper in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. The research paper requires an oral presentation and approval by a committee of three graduate faculty members.

Each student will be required to demonstrate reading proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese, or in another language such as French, Haitian Creole, or Dutch when justified by research interests. Proficiency is demonstrated by scoring an advanced level on the ACTFL exam for Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole or French administered by FIU’s Department of Modern Languages. For other languages, corresponding tests of proficiency and levels of achievement will be required. Students should apply for graduation for the LACS MA as soon as they have completed all requirements for the degree – including the exit requirements. Ordinarily, the MA will be conferred before the student advances to candidacy for the PhD in International Relations.

Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations Degree Requirements

Students will begin study towards the Ph.D. in International Relations immediately following their satisfactory completion of MALACS requirements. A minimum of 39 credits beyond the 36 credits required for the MALACS degree will be necessary to satisfy the requirements of the PhD Program in International Relations.

Program Requirement

15 Core Course credits:

  • GEO 6473 Space, Place and Identity
  • INR 6604 International Relations Theory I
  • INR 6608 Contemporary International Relations Theory
  • INR 5609 Contemporary Dynamics of International Relations
  • INR 6706 Political Economy of International Relations

12 Major Field credits in either:

  • Global Institutions and Issues,
  • Comparative Area Studies,
  • Foreign Policy and Security Studies, or
  • International Law.

With advisor approval, these 12 credits may include some or all of the coursework (except INR 5615) taken in satisfaction of the requirements for the MALACS degree.

9 Minor Field credits in either:

  • A second field from the above major field list, or
  • a field offered within another PhD program at FIU (with approval of the Graduate Director), or
  • a petition field (with approval of the Graduate Director).

With advisor approval, these 9 credits may include some or all of the coursework (except INR 5615) taken in satisfaction of the requirements for the MALACS degree.

Elective Credits:

  • Elective credits necessary to bring total credits earned beyond the MALACS degree to a minimum of 24

Comprehensive Exams:

  • Once students have achieved 60 credits, they must sit for written examination on the core sequence of their fields

Students in the Ph.D. program who who have satisfied all other requirements for the M.A. apart from the exit requirement (i.e all coursework and the foreign language competency) are eligible to receive an M.A. degree. Passing the doctoral comprehensive examinations serves as equivalent to the M.A. comprehensive examination. Ph.D. students who have satisfied these requirements should consult with the Graduate Program Director about the necessary paperwork and procedures to receive the M.A. degree in the course of their Ph.D. studies.


  • 15 credits of dissertation research