CEDLA MASTER’S PROGRAMME LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
- Basic data
- NFP Grant
Teaching and Examination Regulations for the CEDLA Master’s Programme 2017-2018
License: Some rights reserved by Szymon Kochansk (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) & Simone Fratini - djfrat (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Contents and structure
CEDLA’s Master’s programme is embedded in CEDLA’s constitutive disciplines. In the same manner as CEDLA’s research programme, the CMP’s multidisciplinary ambitions derive from the premise that only a sound disciplinary basis with its concomitant theoretical foundations will allow satisfactory multidisciplinary or comparative research. It is intended to reveal the particular characteristics of social, cultural and political processes in Latin America from a longer-term, historical approach, as well as from the awareness that Latin America cannot be regarded in isolation from global and comparative developments. While the CMP focuses on the Latin American region, it also connects with theories and insights from other regions and literature. More concretely, the CMP addresses the fundamental transitions in Latin American social, political and economic systems. Even though the countries of Latin America reflect substantial differences, nearly all have experienced similar transformations since the 1980s.
The curriculum of the CMP corresponds with the research interests of staff members. Over the past five years, the CEDLA research programme has focused on natural and cultural resources and will continue to do so in the coming years. Resources include the means available in the world; they may be elementary to societies or simply enhance quality of life. Natural resources are usually material; while cultural resources are usually immaterial. In both cases, using and benefiting from them enriches society, but they may also be used to reinforce unequal power relations.
The programme consists of the following elements:
1) Introduction Course – 12 ECs
2) Mandatory and elective thematic courses (MA courses)– 22 ECs
3) Research Project (stages I to III) – 41 ECs
Table: Organization of the CMP 2016-2017
CMP students should start their orientation for field research as soon as possible to avoid running out of time. They are stimulated to participate in the current research themes of the CEDLA research staff, which are components of the CEDLA Research Programme.
Introduction Course: Democracy, Identity and Sustainable Development in Latin America – 12 ECs
The Introduction Course presents the CMP themes. This mandatory course is structured in weekly modules taught by all CEDLA research staff. Students receive an intensive introduction to the field of Latin American studies. The course covers the most important scholarly debates, interpretation of information about the region and different ways to obtain and analyse that information. This intensive, multidisciplinary introduction serves two purposes: first, to build an analytical and cognitive foundation and establish a foundation for the more specialized courses that will follow; and second, to present the diversity of topics and theories used by the CEDLA staff and define a common frame of reference. Third, for students to become acquainted with their fellow students and the CEDLA staff. In addition to attending lectures, students are invited to participate actively and train their knowledge and skills.
Mandatory thematic courses
The CMP offers two courses (MA1 and MA2) that mirror the CEDLA’s dual research programme ‘Natural and Cultural Resource Use in Contemporary Latin America’. The courses are valued with 4 or 6 ECs. Students need to obtain 10 ECs for the courses combined. This means that students attend one of the two courses for the lighter course load of 4 ECs and the other for 6 ECs. The courses are also open to students from other MA programmes, providing CMP students with an opportunity to interact with students from other universities and different disciplinary backgrounds.
The courses offer an introduction to debates and theoretical approaches to the themes of natural and cultural resources. They comprise a combination of lectures and seminars, critical study and review of academic literature, and student presentations. Both courses offer knowledge acquisition, enhanced understanding and application and – through individual and group assignments – a more profound focus on how to analyse, evaluate, judge and develop. Assessments are based on oral presentations, written assignments, group participation and/or written exams. Teachers give students feedback on their assignments and explain the grades. Students have the option to retake one exam.
MA 1 Socio-Environmental Changes in Latin America: Power, Participation and Governance – 4/6 ECs
This course addresses the effects of economic activities, political decisions and social conditions on natural resource use and the environment and in this way explores new trends in environmental governance in Latin America. The course focuses on formal and informal arrangements, interactions among state, private sector and civil society actors and cross-connections from rural communities to the national, regional and global levels. The lectures address current trends and initiatives, with special attention to environmental governance. +INFO
MA2 Cultural resources in Urban Latin America: Identity, Space and Gender – 4/6 ECs
This course examines how Latin Americans use their cultural resources to devise opportunities to improve or shape their ways of life. Cultural resources are seen as cultural elements within a specific socio-cultural setting, sustaining pursuit of self-esteem, status improvement, economic advancement or a recognized identity. This course has an urban orientation and addresses topics such as gender, class and ethnic identities in the context of urban growth, socio-spatial segregation, violence, family formation and poverty. +INFO
Elective thematic courses
After these mandatory courses, students choose two additional elective courses to earn another 12 ECs. Generally, students are advised to select courses that are closely related to their own research topic and to search for synergies between the course content and development of their own research ideas. The elective thematic courses have knowledge acquisition, reproduction, understanding and application as important attainment targets. Students also improve their analytical and assessment skills and are encouraged to develop a style of critique and to elaborate their own research ideas. They comprise a combination of lectures and seminars, critical study and review of academic literature, and student presentations. Assessments are based on one or more written assignments, an exam and/or a lengthy paper.
Courses outside CEDLA
It is possible to replace 6 ECs of the electives with a course outside of CEDLA, attending a course pertaining to a different Master’s programme at any Dutch University, or an internship. This should first be discussed with the student’s supervisor and the CMP coordinator, and is subject to approval of the CMP Examination Board.
It is also possible to replace 6 ECs of the electives with a so-called lecturas guiadas. This is a supervised reading intended for students who wish to build their knowledge through an individual trajectory. This individual teaching format manifests as a tutorial and is based on literature study. The student meets with the instructor three or four times. Assessments are based on a paper, written assignments and/or an oral exam during the final meeting. As students have considerable input in how to design their lecturas guiadas, they learn not only to reproduce knowledge and apply it but also to evaluate it and develop new ideas and questions. Students should discussed this with the student's supervisor and the CMP coordinator.
In terms of ECs and time input, the Research Project accounts for over half the programme and may be considered the core of the CMP. The research project trajectory is divided into three stages: Thesis Course 1 and writing of the research proposals; field research in Latin America; and Thesis Course 2. As students are encouraged to conduct research in accordance with their own interests and to elaborate relevant and innovative ideas, the research project trains students in the skills of analysis, critical assessment and design.
Stage 1: Thesis Course 1 is designed to prepare students for writing their research proposal and conducting their research in Latin America. Based on the premise that CMP students already have some experience with academic research, the course is aimed at refreshing this knowledge, applying it in the Latin American context, placing it in a multidisciplinary perspective and improving students’ writing skills. The core of the course focuses on methods/techniques and operational aspects of conducting research in Latin America. Data collection, analysis, interpretation and conversion into text are the key course elements. All staff members contribute their own research expertise. In ten seminars, methodological principles and tools from different disciplines are presented, applied and discussed. In addition, students are trained in academic writing.
The skills taught in Thesis Course 1 are assessed by means of assignments that shows students ability to use methods/techniques and that guide students in writing their research proposal. Their research proposal is discussed in class and presented to the staff and other students in different preparation stages.
After completing the Thesis Course 1, students have some time to refine their research plan in consultation with their tutor/supervisor. By 1 April the research plan must be completed and approved for students to be allowed to travel for their research in May. The CEDLA staff encourages research projects in the framework of the CEDLA research programme. Nevertheless, students are free to choose their own themes in consultation with their supervisor. Taking into account that the CMP is open to students who already have a Master’s degree and/or working experience, the staff welcomes research proposals that are related to and/or elaborate on the student’s earlier expertise.
At the end of Thesis Course 1 and in preparation for their field research, students present their proposals to each other and to the teaching staff. Proposal quality is assessed by way of discussions between students and staff members. This format corresponds with the peer review process in use in the social sciences.
Stage 2: Field research
The field research takes place between May and August. Preceding the field research, the supervisor and student have reached clear agreements regarding the research approach, and about how they will remain in touch while the student is in Latin America. These agreements are laid down in the field research contract. During the field research period, the students collect secondary material, conduct interviews, surveys and perform observations or a combination hereof.
Students report the progress of their field research in two reports that students send to their supervisor half way into their research period and in the week after they return to the Netherlands. These reports also serve to assess and grade the field research. Supervisors discuss the reports with the students orally or in writing and explain their grade.
Stage 3: Thesis Course 2 is designed to encourage and support students in processing their research material and writing their thesis after returning from their research sojourn. It consists of five meetings, organized every two weeks. During the meetings, progress in data analysis and writing are discussed and shared, as are possible problems and their solutions A few days before each meeting, students submit an assignment to the tutor/supervisor. These assignments are the different chapters of the student’s thesis. The students discuss these chapters with their supervisor.
The first draft of the thesis is due by 15 November. The final version of the thesis has to be ready on December 1.
Latin American Studies Programme (LASP)
LASP is a graduate programme that wishes to familiarize students with the Latin American Studies network in the Netherlands. It offers them expertise and contacts outside their own department or institute with the aim of bridging the gap between master’s and PhD education. Ambitious CMP students are invited to participate in the LASP master’s track. This extracurricular activity offers Master’s students from the collaborating institutes research seminars, network meetings and the opportunity to attend courses and receive supervision outside their own institute or department. After completing their master’s degree, students may continue preparing to pursue a PhD through CEDLA’s YES Programme. This is a Young Excellent Students programme, in which students do research internships individually or in small groups and receive supervision from a Cedla staff member, prepare their PhD proposal or write an article based on their Master’s thesis.
CEDLA is joined in this programme by the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University (CA/UU), the programme group Governance and Inclusive Development at the UVA (GID/UvA), the Department of Latin American Studies at the University of Leiden (LAS/LU) and the Social and Cultural Anthropology Department at the VU University Amsterdam (CA/VU). The objective of the LASP is to enhance education at Master’s and PhD levels through integration, exchange and collaboration between the staff and students of the participating partners.
CASA: CEDLA Alumni Society Amsterdam
CASA’s is the CMP alumni association. It aims at bringing CMP alumni, currents students and staff members together and wishes to provide a platform through CASA activities. CASA gets together informally at least once a year, and hosts activities at CEDLAregularly.
Application and Admission
The CMP is primarily intended for students with a Master’s or doctoral degree in the social sciences and humanities. Students with a different Master’s degree and good students with a B.A. degree may also apply, but are asked to write a research proposal as part of their application. In case of doubt, other applicants can be asked to hand in a research proposal as well. Also, the applicants can be advised to study certain literature or to follow a course before the start of the programme. All CMP candidates are required to show verifiable knowledge and experience in the areas of Latin American studies, and, upon admission, must have sufficient knowledge of English and Spanish (or possibly Portuguese) to be able to study the required literature and conduct fieldwork.
When applying, make sure you send in the following documents:
- A letter containing your motivation and research idea (in English)
- Curriculum vitae (in English)
- Copies of your university degrees and academic transcripts
Candidates without an M.A. degree in one of the above mentioned fields should also include their Bachelor’s thesis and a research proposal. Please find the guidelines for this proposal here. When in doubt whether you are expected to hand in a research proposal, please contact the secretariat.
Admission is based on an intake interview. A maximum of 15 to 20 students is admitted to the CMP on a yearly basis. The CMP begins in the first week of September.
For any questions please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 525 2521.
For more information on application deadlines, please contact the CEDLA secretariat at email@example.com or +31 20 525 3498 / 2521
Students looking for a grant of the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) by NUFFIC should apply for the CMP before 1 February 2017
Tuition and Research Grant
Tuition for the entire course of study is € 3,500. Course fees for participation in the CMP should be deposited before 1 August to account NL51INGB0004990722, registered to CEDLA in Amsterdam, indicating ‘CMP tuition fee’ and the student’s name. The amount may also be paid in two installments. According to this option, the first installment of € 1,750 is due before 1 August and the second one before 1 December.
Students are responsible for the cost of purchasing textbooks and/or copying materials and additional costs associated with their stay in Latin America. Depending on their personal status, students participating in the CMP may be eligible for an OV-studentenkaart [valid on public transport] a grant and/or a loan from DUO. However, as the CMP is a post-initial Master’s programme, different rules may apply regarding this eligibility than with a regular Master’s programme. For more information, have a look at this DUO website. We always recommend students to contact DUO to inform what applies in their case.
Students who successfully complete the first 40 ECTs of the total 75 ECTs within the required time limit may apply to CEDLA for a research grant of up to € 1,000 to meet costs during their research in Latin America.
NUFFIC Scholarship for non-European applicants to the CEDLA Master's Programme (CMP)
Students of the CEDLA Master's Programme (CMP) are now eligible for the NUFFIC Fellowship Programme (NFP). The NFP is meant for professionals who are nationals of and work and live in one of the 51 NFP countries. This scholarships entails the coverage of your tuition fee, a monthly allowance, (part of) your travel expenses to the Netherlands and back, your health insurance, and a one-time allowance for study materials.
We encourage all applicants from these countries to send us their full CMP application before 1 February. Applications after this date can still apply for the CMP, but will not be able to apply for NUFFIC-funding.
For more information on the NFP Scholarship please see the NFP website. To find other grants, you can use the NUFFIC Grantfinder.
Extended deadline for applications
Students looking for a grant of the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) by NUFFIC should apply for the CMP before 1 February 2017
Reaccreditation of CEDLA Master's Program - Overal evaluation = Good
Last year CEDLA Master Program applied for the reaccreditation with the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO). The visitation panel that consisted of Prof. Dr. Dirk Kruyt, Prof. Dr. Ann Varley, Dr. Gerdien Steenbeek and Veronika Macku as the student representative, visited CEDLA during two days in November 2015. Their report appeared in May 2016 with the recommendation to NVAO to grant CEDLA the reaccreditation. At the end of December 2016 the NVAO followed their recommendations and reaccredited the Master Program for six years until 29 December 2022. The overall conclusions were: ‘The panel established that CEDLA offers an attractive master's programme, which is unique in Europe. The panel assessed both the orientation and the content of the curriculum, as well as the facilities, as excellent. Furthermore it assessed the learning outcomes, the curriculum structure, the teaching staff and the tutoring and information, the quality assurance system, the assessment system and the learning outcomes achieved as good. Given the predominance of excellent and good achieved for most parts of the programme assessment, the overall evaluation of the programme by the panel is good.’
QANU Report on the master’s programme Master of Arts in Latin American Studies of the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation
NVAO report: Besluit strekkende tot het verlenen van accreditatie aan de opleiding wo-master Latijns Amerika Studies van de Centrum voor studie en documentatie van Latijns Amerika
Testimonials of CMP Students
"The library is without question fantastic!"
"The supervision is intensive and of high quality"
"The programme aimed at current issues is embedded in a research institute; this provides an optimum link between education and research"
"The study succeeds in offering a well-organized programme regarding its content, that is flexible enough to respond to the demands and previous education of the students"
Quotes from QANU (Quality Assurance Netherlands Universities) report