The University of Miami School of Law in partnership with the Latin American Studies (LAS) Program, College of Arts and Sciences, offers a joint J.D./M.A. in Latin American Studies. This curriculum prepares Law School students for business, government, political, and nonprofit legal positions in organizations or institutions with a Latin American/Caribbean focus or presence. The program provides a solid theoretical framework and grounding in policy analysis, administration, and management.

This joint program allows students to obtain both J.D. and M.A. degrees in 3 or 3 1/2 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.

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.


To be admitted to this program, students must apply separately to both programs. Students may apply to the MA 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, 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.

Courses and Credits

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. In the College of Arts and Sciences, students must complete 21 credits in Latin American Studies courses, and 9 credits will be double-counted from the J.D. coursework to fulfill the "Academic Focus" requirement 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. Seventeen credits/semester may be taken with permission from the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, School of Law.

Master of Latin American Studies Requirements

Students in the JD/MA in Latin American Studies may choose between Thesis and Non-Thesis options, as well as the Geospatial Technology (GIS) Certificate or the Security Management Certificate tracks.

  • Core Courses: LAS 601 and LAS 602
  • Regional Fundamentals (6 credits) : Students are required to take a 3-credit course in the social sciences and another 3-credit course in the arts and humanities of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Latine experience.Law courses may double-count to fulfill this requirement with LAS advisor approval.
  • Academic Focus Requirement (9 credits): With the assistance of the academic director, students will choose courses in their own chosen areas of academic focus.  These courses might be anchored around a specific country or subregion (e.g. Andean world) or a given topic of interest (development policy, racial justice, hemispheric security, environmental studies, gender and sexuality, cultural industries, etc.). Law courses may double-count to fulfill this requirement with LAS advisor approval.
  • During their final semester, students will enroll in 3 credit hours of LAS 697 (Culminating Experience).  Students are required to create a capstone project (such as a research paper, portfolio, short film, etc.) or take a comprehensive exam in three areas of knowledge reflective of their academic focus.  For either of these two options, a committee consisting of at least two faculty members is required to oversee the capstone project or examination. 
  • Language Requirement: Students must demonstrate advanced language competency in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, or a major indigenous language of Latin America. Students may establish proficiency by passing one 3-credit course taught in the target language at the 600-level or above, or by passing a language competency exam. Students may also petition for a waiver of examination if they have gained language competency in another manner: native speaker with proof of coursework in target language (a diploma or transcript from a high school at which the primary language of instruction and of school administration was not English would constitute such proof), upper division undergraduate coursework in target language (equivalent to 300-level or above at UM), Peace Corps service, or Defense Language Proficiency Test.

Sample Plan of Study

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
LAW 11 Civil Procedure I 3
LAW 12 Contracts 4
LAW 13 Elements 3
LAW 15 Torts 4
LAW 19 Legal Communication and Research I 2
 Credit Hours16
LAW 14 Property 4
LAW 16 Criminal Procedure 3
LAW 17 U.S. Constitutional Law I 4
LAW 29 Legal Communication and Research II 2
Law Elective 3
 Credit Hours16
Year Two
Upper Level Law Courses 10
M.A. Courses 6
 Credit Hours16
Upper Level Law Courses 10
M.A. Courses 6
 Credit Hours16
Year Three
Upper Level Law Courses 10
M.A. Courses 6
 Credit Hours16
Upper Level Law Courses 13
M.A. Courses 3
 Credit Hours16
Year Four
Upper Level Law Courses 7
 Credit Hours7
 Total Credit Hours103