LALS Graduate Application FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions about the Latin American and Latino Studies Graduate Program. The application is online and will go "live" as of October 1; all application materials are due December 10.

What are the main application requirements?

Application requirements are explained on the Graduate Division's website. Specific requirements to the Latin American and Latino Studies Department application are:

  • Personal History Statement: 2-4 pages describing your decision to pursue advanced graduate studies
  • Statement of Purpose: 2-4 pages describing your research interests and identifying faculty in the program whose work aligns with your interests
  • Academic Writing Sample: 10-15 pages maximum
  • Resume (not C.V.)

How can I write about my research interests in such a short page limit (2-4)?

One of the goals of this exercise is to allow us to assess your ability to write both analytically and concisely. We are interested in how your frame your questions and how you would propose to study them.  

How much will GRE scores count toward admission?

In our assessment of potential graduate students we will consider all aspects of the application.  

How many faculty can I include in my Statement of Purpose?

We strongly encourage you to mention those faculty (at minimum one, but preferably two or three) with whom you would be interested in taking graduate courses and possibly asking to serve on your Qualifying and Dissertation Committee. You will be required to include one of our program’s faculty affiliates from outside the LALS department, so we encourage you to explore the websites of our Graduate Program Affiliates, in particular, as possible committee members. As part of the application you will also submit a Personal History statement, and in this document we encourage you to describe personal challenges you have overcome that shape why you want to pursue a doctorate in LALS.  

Why are you requesting a resume rather than Curriculum Vitae?

A resume usually summarizes your work and volunteer experience along with your skills while a curriculum vitae presents your academic training, conference presentations, publications (if any), or field research experience. We are requesting a resume to help us see the types of experiences you have had that have influenced your decision to pursue graduate training. We encourage you to include any scholarly presentations or publications as well as work experiences or participation in community-based/nongovernmental organizations on your resume.  

In the Writing Sample, should I include references or footnotes? Will citations count toward my page length?

We encourage you to cite relevant scholarly sources and we leave the format up to you. The total page length should be no longer than 15 pages.  

Who can provide me with a letter of recommendation?

The University requires no less than three letters of recommendation to be submitted electronically with your application. Recommenders should be either academic or professional contacts who can assess your ability to perform in a rigourous academic environment, and can speak to your potential for success in the field of study you wish to pursue with our program. Recommenders should also highlight specific qualities about you that support your potential in academia. 

What do your financial award packages look like?

We have worked very hard to put together packets that include at least one quarter of fellowship and some teaching assistantships for our most competitive students. For those students receiving financial awards, we plan to offer at least three years of support that include a mix of TAships and fellowships. The department will nominate a few of the strongest admitted students for a Cota-Robles Fellowship:

  • These state-funded, merit-based fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to first-year graduate students who have overcome significant social or educational obstacles to achieve a college education, and whose backgrounds equip them to contribute to intellectual diversity among the graduate student population. For the 2014-15 academic year, the Cota-Robles fellowship provided a stipend of $21,000 plus payment of all university fees except non-resident tuition and a $3,000 summer stipend. The Cota-Robles Fellowship is part of a five-year total support package with the department providing support for years three and four and Graduate Division providing support for years one, two, and five.

Can LALS offer full financial support while I am a graduate student?

If you are awarded a financial support package, your award letter will specify the type and duration. During your second year, you will be required to take a seminar that trains graduate students to apply for fellowships, with a focus on those for conducting field research.  

What are other options for graduate student support?

The department is committed to mentoring graduate students and will work closely with the Chicano/Latino Research Center and the Graduate Division to coordinate sponsoring workshops, small research grants, and informal support groups. In the past, graduate students have organized their own writing groups and the department would be strongly supportive of such efforts being renewed.  To foster an intellectually stimulating environment, the department also sponsors a colloquium series and we strongly encourage student attendance. 

My undergraduate degree was in an unrelated discipline. Will that hurt my chances of being admitted to the LALS interdisciplinary program?

We expect that many applicants will have undergraduate degrees in various disciplines and we welcome those applications. Once admitted, we will require you to develop a “disciplinary spine,” our term for specialization in a related disciplinary methodology. We hope that once you finish your degree and go on the job market, our interdisciplinary training and your disciplinary spine will make you highly marketable. 

If my undergraduate work did not include a transnational approach, will that hurt my chances for admission?

We expect that some undergraduate programs will not incorporate transnationalism into their undergraduate curriculum. In the first required graduate core course, the focus will be on transnationalism and interdisciplinarity, helping you develop familiarity with the foundations of our approach. 

I already have a master’s degree. Will that help or hurt my chances at admission?

We do not require that applicants have a master’s degree but those applicants who have one will be stronger candidates for admission. Once admitted, it is possible that some of the graduate courses taken for your master’s degree may count for required courses in LALS and we will allow you to petition to waive some courses. 

My secondary language skills are not up to the level of proficiency. How would that affect my ability to meet your language requirement?

We expect that some students will need to improve their language proficiency after admission. You may take various graduate seminars offered during Summer Session at UCSC by the Literature Department, take language intensive instruction at various institutes throughout the United States and Latin America, or take private tutoring. The demonstration of proficiency may be achieved by completing a language course or program, or, if you have native proficiency in reading writing and speaking, by demonstrating that to your advisor through a variety of means (e.g. oral or written exam, a seminar paper written in the secondary language, etc.).  

I've read all I can about the program and faculty interests on the web site. Whom can I contact if I have more questions about the program?

You may contact the Graduate Program Coordinator and Advisor via email at or by phone at 831-459-4450. 

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