Guidelines for the M.A. in Latin American Studies - Final Project Option

Students will conclude their program in Latin American Studies with a major capstone project worth a total of six (6) credit hours. Students will normally complete the capstone requirement during their last semester of enrollment. The capstone project should reflect the student's specific area of concentration and the general trajectory of his or her graduate program. The capstone project can take the form either of a traditional scholarly thesis or a creative or applied final project.

Final Project Option:

In lieu of a traditional scholarly thesis, students may pursue a final project option to complete the capstone requirement. The final project may be either a "creative" or an "applied" project that reflects the student's area of concentration and the general trajectory of his or her graduate program. The final project option will include a critical/scholarly essay of 30-to-40 pages. The final project option is intended for students who will not pursue doctoral studies after completion of the M.A.

Students who plan to pursue the final project option should begin developing a topic early in their M.A. program.

Final Project Proposal:
The candidate presents a proposal approximately five pages in length plus a bibliography, first to a three-member thesis committee and, with its approval, to the Graduate Studies Committee for its approval.

The proposal should clearly describe the final project. Students may select topics based on their own personal interests and final projects may demonstrate how the Latin American Studies degree can be incorporated into a non-academic setting.

The proposal is accompanied by a bibliography of the relevant secondary literature. The bibliography is not part of the proposal proper, but is appended to it (i.e., not counted as part of the 5-page length).

The final project supervisory committee will consist of three faculty members with a specialty in Latin American Studies and/or other fields of relevance to the student's project. The committee chair must be qualified to supervise research and/or design of the project.

Students must also include a signature page providing the title of the proposed final project and the members of the proposed supervisory committee. Each member of the proposed committee must sign this page to indicate a willingness to serve on the committee. The student's name should appear only on the title or signature page.

The Graduate Studies Committee will assess the proposal based on an established set of criteria.

Final Project Format:
The structure and content of each final project will be determined in accordance with the supervisory committee and will reflect the unique nature of each student's chosen topic. The final project must be accompanied by a scholarly essay of 30-to-40 pages in length. The purpose of the essay is to examine the creative or applied project from a critical perspective and to make scholarly connections.

The format for the essay, references, and citations should conform to the standards of the discipline in which the student is writing and/or concentrating. Citation format should be determined in accordance with the expectations of the supervisory committee.

Final Project Defense:
When all three members of the supervisory committee agree that the final project is substantively ready for defense, the student supplies each professor with a clean copy of the complete final project in proper format. Another copy of this penultimate draft should be delivered to the Arts and Humanities Graduate Coordinator (JO 4.510), where it is open for faculty inspection at least three working days before its defense.

The chair of the supervisory committee authorizes the Graduate Coordinator to arrange for a public defense, the date and location of which is then announced to all Arts and Humanities faculty and graduate students by e-mail.

The committee chair presides over the defense, a one hour session that begins with a 10- minute student presentation on the general goals and themes of the final project. Unless the supervisory committee decides otherwise, public participation in the questioning is limited to Arts and Humanities faculty members.

After the formal defense, the final project supervisory committee will meet in camera to vote on granting the master's degree. All three members of the committee must approve the final project. The results of its vote are reported to the University's Dean of Graduate Studies through the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

Students submitting a final project must follow all guidelines and dates for submission established by the Dean of Graduate Studies and the School of Arts and Humanities.