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Centre of Latin American Studies


MPhil Course Structure and Assessment

"My supervisors were outstanding. They challenged my ideas and my arguments, helping me develop my academic work to new levels of insightfulness and maturity." Erika, MPhil student

Teaching for the MPhil course includes lectures, seminars and individual supervision, provided by academic staff based in the Centre of Latin American Studies, and in various faculties and colleges across the University.

Over the 9-month course you will take the Core Course and four taught modules of your choice. Assessment takes the form of three researched essays of 5,000 words each and a 15,000-word thesis. You will acquire a broad, multidisciplinary overview of Latin American Studies, together with a deeper knowledge of four subject areas, and will specialize in one of these for the purposes of your thesis.

In exceptional cases, candidates may be examined for the MPhil on the basis of a thesis of 30,000 words only. Please contact the MPhil Director before the start of the course (ideally at the point of application) if you are interested in pursuing this option. It is also possible to study for the MPhil degree (either via the taught course or the thesis-only route) on a part-time basis over 21 months, running from the start of October in the first year to the end of June in the second year. Again, please contact the MPhil Director if you are interested in applying for the part-time course. More details on the thesis-only and part-time routes through the MPhil are available here

Course structure overview



Michaelmas Term

Lent Term

Core Course

7 seminars

6 seminars

4 Optional Modules (2 per term)

6 seminars for each module

6 seminars for each module

Written work


Written work

% of overall MPhil mark

Michaelmas Term

Essay 1


(weighted at 20% for each of the two highest marked essays and 10% for the lowest marked essay)

Lent Term

Essay 2

Essay 3

Easter Term



Term One (‘Michaelmas’, October - December)

Students take the Core Course and select two Optional Modules. You will be set background reading for each seminar and are expected to participate fully in discussion. In some seminars you may also be asked to prepare a short presentation on the topic. Work is assessed in the form of a 5,000-word researched essay, to be submitted one week after the end of the teaching term. The essay should be related in some way to topics covered in seminars for the core course and/or the optional modules. Students choose their own title, subject to the approval of a supervisor and the Course Director.

Term Two (‘Lent’, January - March) 

Teaching continues as above taking the core course with two optional modules. Students submit two further 5,000-word essays related to topics covered in the core course and/or the optional modules. 

Term Three (‘Easter’, April - June)

Students prepare a thesis of no more than 15,000 words on a topic of their choice, to be handed in by the deadline shown on the course calendar, around the middle of June.