Master of Arts in Latin American Studies

The School of Law and the Institute of Latin American Studies offer a Dual Degree program leading to two graduate degrees: the Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) and the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (MALAS). The Dual Degree Program is designed for those students who wish to study law and Latin American issues in an integrated and interdisciplinary manner. Students who expect to be involved in government service or legal practices with a Latin American focus could benefit from this program.

The University of Texas is well positioned to offer a program of this nature. The Law School has long been considered to have one of the best faculties in the nation. Professors affiliated with the Institute of Latin American Studies are recognized world-wide for the resources. The Tarlton Law Library is sixth largest academic law library in the United States and has strong Latin American holdings. The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection is the largest library covering the whole region at any university in the world.

Program Structure

A student admitted to the Dual Degree Program must complete the normal first-year coursework at the School of Law during the first year of the program. This must be done before taking any courses relating to the Dual Degree Program. Both degrees are awarded simultaneously upon completion of all requirements of the Dual Degree Program. Therefore, students should arrange their course schedules so that both degree requirements are completed in the same semester. Generally speaking, a student with the requisite language background can obtain both degrees in eight semesters.

Curriculum Requirements

School of Law

The Law School's first-year curriculum includes six one-term four-unit substantive law courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts. One of these six courses will include a writing component, which adds a unit of credit to the course. The rest of the first-year curriculum includes one term of Legal Analysis and Communication (3 units) in the fall, Persuasive Writing and Advocacy (2 units) in the spring, and an optional elective course of 2-3 units in the spring term. The first year program in the law school usually totals 30 units of credit.

The upper-class curriculum includes required advanced courses listed on the degree requirements page.

The JD degree normally requires 86 total units. For dual degree students in the JD/MALAS program, 72 law credit hours are required for graduation.

As a general rule, no courses taken in satisfaction of the Master's degree requirements other than offerings in the Law School itself may be credited toward the JD degree. Students must check with the Law School on their eligibility to take the bar examination. No language coursework or courses pertaining to Latin American Studies (or other coursework beyond the normal first-year coursework of the JD program) may be taken in the first year of Law School.

Institute of Latin American Studies

For more information, see the Institute of Latin American Studies website.

How to Apply

Prospective Dual Degree students should apply as follows:

  1. To the School of Law: Information on admissions may be obtained from the Admissions Coordinator, The University of Texas at School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton St., Austin, TX 78705. This information is also available on the Law School web site. The following steps must be taken:
    • Carefully read all Law School admissions information.
    • Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) no later than February.
    • Complete and submit an application for admission no later than March 1.
  2. To the Institute of Latin American Studies: Information regarding admission may be obtained from the Student Services Office, Institute of Latin American Studies, SRH 1.301, Austin, Texas 78712.. The following steps must be taken:
    • Obtain an application form and a brochure describing admissions policies and program information.
    • Submit the application form and other required materials to the Director of Admissions, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, by December 1.
    • Take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) and have results sent to the Office of Admissions no later than December 1.
  3. To the Dual Degree program: After admission to the School of Law and to the program in Latin American Studies, application to the Dual Degree Program shall be made by completing the application form and giving the additional information required by that form. Application forms for the Dual Degree Program may be obtained from either School.Students presently enrolled in the first-year program in the School of Law may apply for admission to the Dual Degree Program by following the procedures detailed in steps 2 and 3 above.

Financial Aid

The School of Law and the Institute of Latin American Studies have limited funds for qualified students who merit financial assistance and who can show need. Information with respect to such assistance appears in the admissions information provided by these institutions. In general, funding for the first year may be awarded only through the School of Law, and through either institution thereafter.