CEDLA/UvA Master Latin American Studies > Contents and structure

CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies is embedded in CEDLA’s constitutive disciplines. In the same manner as CEDLA’s research programme, the CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies 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 Master's Programme focuses on the Latin American region, it also connects with theories and insights from other regions and literature. More concretely, the Master's Programme 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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies corresponds with the research interests of staff members. As of 2017, CEDLA’s Research Programme is entitled ‘Reshaping society and the commons in Latin America’. It builds on CEDLA’s former research programme, focused on natural and cultural resources (2009-2016). 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 (tangible); while cultural resources are usually immaterial (intangible). In both cases, using and benefiting from them enriches society, but they may also be used to reinforce unequal power relations. Commons is a concept in construction that helps to understand these processes. It is broadly defined as tangible and intangible resources shared by a group of individuals shaping patterns of access, use and reproduction.

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: CEDLA Master's Programme Latin American Studies 2019-2020

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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies 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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies offers two courses (MA1 and MA2) that deal with natural and cultural resources. 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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies 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.

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 Masters 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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies Examination Board.

It is also possible to replace 6 ECs of the electives with a so-called tutorials. 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 tutorials, 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 CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies coordinator.

CEDLA’s Master Latin American Studies Information Guide 2018-2019 pdf