UCLA » College » Social Sciences » History
Latin America


  • ROBIN DERBY: Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1997
    French and Spanish Caribbean, especially the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico
  • KATHERINE MARINO: Ph.D., Stanford University, 2013
    Twentieth-century U.S. and Latin American history; histories of women, gender, sexuality, and race in the Americas; human rights; and transnational feminism
    310-825-4570; kmarino@history.ucla.edu
  • FERNANDO PÉREZ MONTESINOS: Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2015
    Social, economic, and political transformations of Mexico and Latin America in the second half of the nineteenth-century and the early twentieth century, with an emphasis on indigenous people, land tenure, land-use, commodities, and the environment  310-825-0874; fperez@history.ucla.edu
  • WILLIAM SUMMERHILLPh.D., Stanford University, 1995
    Modern and colonial Brazil and the Atlantic; political economy, sovereign debt and finance, human capital, railroads and infrastructure, inequality
    Latin American history, especially Mexico and the Indigenous cultures and languages of central and southern Mexico (especially Nahuatl, Mixtec, and Zapotec) in the colonial period

Emeritus Faculty

  • JAMES WILKIEPh.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1966 
    Latin America and Globalization since the 20th Century, oral memoirs of leaders in Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Venezuela, Elitelore 
    310-825-4569; james.wilkie@att.net


Latin American History at UCLA is widely recognized for its excellence. The Latin America field provides one of

the most diverse and wide-ranging programs available anywhere. Both its regular faculty and visiting scholars offer undergraduate and graduate courses that cover alltime periods, all of the major regions of Latin America, and a wide variety of methodological and thematic specialties. UCLA's University Research Library provides extensive source materials both in print and on microform. Students also draw upon the rich collections at all of the University of California campuses. Resources for field research include external and internal grants from both the Center for Latin American Studies and UCLA's International Studies and Overseas Programs. The faculty and students are heavily involved in the myriad activities provided by the Program on Mexico and the Program on Brazil, both of which administer distinguished speakers series during the academic year.

Foreign Language Requirements

Two of the following: Spanish, Portuguese,or special methodological studies (completion of History M268A/B).The requirement can be met (1) by passing Spanish and Portuguese courses equivalent to sixteen university quarter units, (2) Departmentof History language exams, (3) History 266A/B or an Indian language, and/or (4) In cases where the field deems it appropriate, coursework may be used to fulfill the language requirements, such as Nahuatl or Quechua, in accordance with the student's particular research interests and subject to the approval of the field coordinator and faculty adviser

Course Requirements

As a candidate for the Ph.D., you must meet (a) the special requirements for admission to the doctoral program listed above; and (b) the general requirements set forth under the Graduate Division. An excellent command of English, spoken and written, the ability to read at least two foreign languages, and an acquaintance with general history are expected of all candidates. You are required to complete at least one continuing two-or three-quarter seminar, or alternatively, a continuing sequence of at least two graduate courses approved by the GGCC. This seminar, or its alternative, must include completion of a substantial research paper based at least in part on primary sources.

All students must write a dissertation prospectus (which could be written for credit as a history 596 or 597) expected to contain: (a) a full statement of the dissertation topic; (b) an historiographical discussion of the literature bearing on the topic; (c) a statement of the methodology to be employed; and (d) a survey of the sources sufficient to demonstrate the viability of the topic. The prospectus must be approved by the dissertation adviser prior to the oral part of the qualifying examinations. After approval, copies will be given to each member of the examining committee.

Faculty serving on doctoral committees may require such courses as they deem necessary for preparation for qualifying examinations. Courses taken to fulfill M.A. degree requirements may also be used to satisfy Ph.D. requirements.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations

Before admission to candidacy, you must pass written and oral examinations. Students with outstanding incompletes may not be permitted to sit for these exams.

In the written qualifying examinations, you are expected to show not only a mastery of your special subject, but also an adequate grasp of the wider field of historical knowledge and an ability to correlate historical data and to explain their significance. These examinations are designed to test not merely factual knowledge, but also your power of historical analysis and synthesis, critical ability, and capacity for reflective thinking. A knowledge of the history of any area includes a reasonable knowledge of its historiography and bibliography; of its geography; and of its political, cultural, economic, and other historical aspects.

The written qualifying examination normally includes the major field only. The oral examination will cover all four fields and will normally be held after the written examination. In most fields, the oral examination will be held shortly after the written examination or, at the discretion of the doctoral committee, as late as six months after the written examination. Both the written and oral examinations are to be considered by the committee as a whole in arriving at a judgment of your performance. For more information on how to form your committee, please visit the Graduate Student Intranet. The written qualifying examination is normally prepared and administered by the chair of the committee and read by the entire committee before the oral qualifying examination.

The written qualifying examination must be passed before the oral qualifying examination can be taken. The members of the doctoral committee determine whether or not an examination may be repeated (normally only once), based on their prognosis of your potential for successfully completing both the written and oral examinations within a specified period of time to be designated by the doctoral committee, but not to exceed one calendar year. The written qualifying examination is not to exceed eight (8) hours and must be turned in to the Graduate Adviser's Office no later than 5:00 pm of the day of the examination.

In the oral examination, you are to be examined in four fields, one of which may be an approved field in anthropology, economics, geography, language and literature, philosophy, political science, or other allied subjects. This allied field must be comparable in size and scope to the history fields listed above. You should select the fields in consultation with your faculty adviser. A full-time graduate student must begin the written qualifying examinations no later than the end of the ninth quarter of graduate work.