The thesis is the capstone of the Latin American Studies major and, given the nature of the program, an interdisciplinary project. It should build on what you have learned in your coursework about Latin America, its history, its culture, its relation to other parts of the world, and the issues that constitute its present reality.

The thesis is completed during either the fall or winter semester of the senior year. Faculty in the program may invite students to write a year-long honors thesis. Such invitations will be made in the spring of the previous year.

All students are required to complete a thesis proposal in the academic semester prior to undertaking the thesis. Please note that students should be on campus the semester prior to writing the senior thesis. The proposal consists of the components indicated below and must be submitted to the chair of Latin American Studies by the dates listed. We encourage students to seek out LAS faculty members for advice and guidance in developing their proposals.

Please note that the proposal is important to the LAS Program Committee’s planning for the following year. A poorly written, incomplete, or missing proposal will mean that the Committee cannot give your thesis plans serious consideration and that you will likely be left without useful feedback or an assigned thesis advisor. For the same reasons, major changes in thesis topic cannot be allowed after you have submitted your thesis proposal.

The proposal must include the following information.

I. Project Description (750 words)

  1. Provide a clear statement of the thesis topic and the key questions you plan to address. Include a discussion of the sources you expect to use and how you plan to use them.
  2. Explain how your proposed thesis topic connects to your previous coursework.

II. Annotated Preliminary Bibliography (at least 5-6 scholarly sources)

III. List of three potential faculty thesis advisors in order of preference


  • Fall thesis writers: the thesis proposal is due by 8 a.m. the last Friday in March of the student’s junior year.
  • Winter thesis writers: the thesis proposal is due by 8:00 a.m. the Friday after Thanksgiving of the student’s senior year.