LALS Graduate Application Frequently Asked Questions

The application is online and applications will be accepted beginning October 1; view the application for the current year's due date.

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 you frame your questions and how you would propose to study them.  

Will GRE scores count toward admission?

As of academic year 2020-21, the LALS Department does not require applicants to take the GRE.

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 rigorous 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?

You can learn about financial award packages on the Graduate Division website.

We provide all admitted students five years of guaranteed funding, which includes tuition, fees, health insurance, and a living allowance. Funding comes in the form of a combination of fellowships and employment; most employment comes in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TAships).

The campus will also offer an annual housing supplement of $2,500 for doctoral and MFA students in good standing through the Office of Financial Aid until additional campus graduate student housing is available. 

The department will also nominate a few of the strongest admitted students for Cota-Robles and/or Chancellor's Fellowships.

What are other options for graduate student support?

The department is committed to mentoring graduate students and will work closely with the campus offices like the Research Center for the Americas (RCA) and the Graduate Division to coordinate sponsoring workshops, small research grants, and informal support groups. Students also participate in the LALS Graduate Colloquium weekly, in which they receive professional development and support in areas like teaching, applying for external grants and fellowships, research, writing, the job market, and more.

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 via email at

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