The University of Miami School of Law, in partnership with the Latin American Studies program at the College of Arts and Sciences, offers a joint J.D./M.A. in Latin American Studies and the Law. This curriculum prepares Law School students for government, political and nonprofit legal positions in and concerning Latin America. The program provides a solid theoretical framework and grounding in policy analysis, administration, and management in the Latin American region.
This joint program allows students to obtain both J.D. and M.A. degrees in 3 or 3 ½ years -- less time than obtaining the degrees separately. The first year is spent in the Law School and years two, three and four (if needed) are spent taking both Law and M.A. courses.
Courses and Credits
On the J.D. side, students must complete 82 credits in the Law School and 6 credits will be double-counted from the M.A. courses to complete the total of 88 JD credits. On the M.A. side, students must complete 21 credits in Latin American Studies courses, and 9 credits will be double-counted from the J.D. coursework to complete the total of 30 credits. Students will be required to complete a total of 103 credits for both degrees.
Juris Doctor (J.D.) Course Requirements
- During their first year of the joint program, students will be required to attend the J.D. program full-time.
- Students who begin in the JD program will be able to take courses in the Latin American Studies Master’s program beginning the fall of their 2L year.
- Students must complete all J.D. requirements and all M.A. requirements as defined by their programs.
- Students may take summer law courses which may reduce the length of the joint degree program by up to a semester.
- Students may not take more than 16 credits/semester (17 credits/semester may be taken with permission from the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, School of Law).
Master of Latin American Studies Requirements
- Required courses in LAS are: LAS601: Introductory Seminar; LAS602: Research Design; and a disciplinary research methods course (to be approved by the degree director.) Two regional fundamentals courses are also required.
- Students will be required to write a master’s thesis, create an equivalent capstone project, or pass a comprehensive exam. (6 credits) These options require a committee consisting of at least three faculty members.
- Language Requirement: Students must demonstrate advanced language competency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, or Haitian Creole. Students may establish proficiency by passing two courses taught in the target language at the 600-level or above, or by passing a language competency exam. A major indigenous language of Latin America may be substituted for either Spanish or Portuguese. Students may petition for a waiver of examination if they have gained language competency in another manner (i.e. native speaker, upper division coursework in target language, Peace Corps service, IB credits or Defense Language Proficiency Test).
To be admitted to this program, students must apply separately to both programs. Students may apply to the M.A. in Latin American Studies program prior to beginning Law School or anytime during the first or second year of Law School. Students may begin the MA program in the fall or spring semesters.
For admission to the M.A. program students must complete an MA application. If they apply before the end of their first year in Law School, they will not need to take the GRE exam. Their LSAT score will be used instead of the GRE. For more details on the M.A. program, please visit the M.A. in Latin American Studies website.
Acceptance by one program does not in any way indicate or guarantee acceptance by the other degree program. J.D./M.A. Proposed Sample Schedule with 3 ½ years, no summers: (Note: schedule can be shortened through summer credits).
Tuition and Fees
Tuition for J.D. courses will be paid to the Law School. Tuition for the M.A. courses will be paid to the College of Arts and Sciences. Law School scholarships may only be used towards tuition for Law School courses.
For more information
Dr. William Pestle