The TCD concentration comprises 15 credit hours of the 33 total hours required for completion of the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies (MALAS) degree. The 15 credits in the concentration must include the three interdisciplinary core courses and one course each in tropical ecology and social science (see below for more information or consult the curriculum page for details). MALAS students must also write a thesis on a topic that fits within the context of biodiversity conservation and/or rural development in the tropics. One member of the student's supervisory committee must be a TCD affiliate faculty member.
The remaining 15 credits required for the MALAS degree must be selected from outside of the TCD concentration. Selection of these hours should be made in consultation with the student's faculty advisor and the Center for Latin American Studies' Graduate Coordinator.
Interdisciplinary Core Courses (6–9 credits)
MALAS students must take LAS 6290 (or the equivalent) and LAS 6291 plus one additional core course. This additional course may be any of the following: LAS 6290, LAS 6291, LAS 6292, or LAS 6940 (Tropical Conservation and Development Practicum).
LAS 6290 Tropical Conservation and Development (3 credits) Social and biological perspectives on biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource use, and human well-being in the tropics. Theory, concepts and case studies, bridging global to local scales.
LAS 6291 Conservation and Development Skills (3 credits) Development of practical skills deemed critical for conservation and development professionals, such as conflict management and negotiation, conservation planning and policy, green entrepreneurship, group facilitation and collaborative decision making, impacting policy, effective presentations and communication, workshop organization and delivery.
LAS 6292 Tropical Conservation and Development Research Methods (3 credits) Introduction to research methods for studies focused on biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource use, and human well-being in the tropics. Specialized methods and field courses taught on an occasional basis.
LAS 6940 Tropical Conservation and Development Practicum (3 credits) Design and organization of an independent service-oriented project beyond thesis research, on or off-campus, to practice leadership and collaboration skills by engaging others in workshops, outreach and other practical activities.
Disciplinary Courses (6 credits)
Both Master’s and Ph.D. students must take:
- One tropical ecology course (3 credits)
- One social science course relevant to tropical conservation and development (3 credits)
For students in natural science departments, the social science course must be taken outside their major department.
To fulfill the tropical ecology and social science requirements, students select from existing courses taught across campus that have been approved by the TCD Academic Advisor. Courses may be counted from the student’s major (except for the case noted above).