Graduate Program Requirements

Graduate Degrees

The Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies offers the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Chicana and Chicano Studies.

Admissions Requirements

Master’s Degrees

The M.A. degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies is not intended to be a stand-alone, terminal degree, but is, rather, a requirement for the Ph.D. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program without an M.A. degree will follow Plan A, as described below. Students entering the Ph.D. program with an approved M.A. thesis should follow Plan B (see under Doctoral Degree).

Advising:

A faculty member is assigned as provisional adviser to each incoming student until a permanent faculty adviser is selected in the second year. The faculty adviser and the Director of Graduate Studies assist students with planning their program of study. Students are expected to meet with their faculty adviser at least once a quarter, usually at the beginning of the quarter to have their enrollment plan approved. The Graduate Student Affairs Officer provides assistance with policy and procedure.

Areas of Study:

One distinctive feature of our program is its foundational interdisciplinarity. The program integrates four areas of study that are drawn from the research and curricular strengths of the core and joint faculty of Chicana and Chicano Studies.

M.A. and Ph.D. students may take courses in each of the four areas:

  1. Border and Transnational Studies
  2. Expressive Arts
  3. History, Culture, and Language of the Americas
  4. Labor, Law, and Policy Studies

Please note that the research paradigms of genders and sexualities, power and inequalities, and the colonial-decolonial-postcolonial intersect with all four areas.

Foreign Language Requirement:

Students at the M.A. level must demonstrate reading fluency in Spanish in one of two ways

  1. Passing a departmentally-administered written examination
  2. Completing two years of Spanish  at an institution of higher learning, with a grade of C or better.

Students are required to complete the Spanish language requirement by the end of the winter quarter of the second year of graduate study.

Course Requirements

Plan A

Students must successfully complete a total of 40 units (normally ten courses), completed while in graduate status and taken for a letter grade with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average. Of the 40 units, at least 32 must be completed at the graduate level. Up to four units of upper division undergraduate courses may be applied to the 40-unit requirement. One 500-series course (up to four units) may be applied toward the 40-unit requirement

Required courses:

  • Chicana/o Studies 200, 201, and 202 (12 units) are required and should be taken within the first two years.
  • Four graduate courses (16 units) in areas that relate most closely to the student’s research interests, all of which should be taken in the department.
  • Two elective courses (eight units) of graduate and/or upper division undergraduate courses taken within or outside the department.
  • Four units of Chicana/o Studies 598 (master’s thesis research) or 596 (Directed Individual Studies or Research).

Students may take up to a maximum of 12 units of Chicana/o Studies 598, and up to a maximum of 12 units of Chicana/o Studies 596 in a single academic year.  However, students may not take more than one Chicana/o Studies 596 per quarter before the M.A. degree requirements are completed.

The minimum course load is 12 units per quarter. Students must be continuously registered and enrolled unless they are on an approved leave of absence.

Teaching Experience:

New Teaching Assistants must enroll in Chicana/o Studies 495 preferably before or during the quarter when they receive their first teaching appointment. In the following quarters, Teaching Assistants must enroll in Chicana/o Studies 375; enrollment in 375 may be used toward the minimum course load of 12 units per quarter. Neither of these courses may be counted toward the degree requirements.

Field Experience:

Not required.

Capstone Plan:

None.

Thesis Plan:

Every master’s degree thesis plan requires the completion of an approved thesis that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research.

Students will complete the M.A. degree by writing an original interdisciplinary research paper, critical reflection, or creative portfolio that integrates knowledge learned in their graduate course work. The M.A. thesis should be submitted by spring quarter of their second year, but no later than the seventh quarter (normally fall quarter of the third year). Students must enroll in Chicana/o Studies 598 (M.A. Thesis Research) under the guidance of their faculty adviser to produce the thesis. The thesis is evaluated on a pass/no pass basis.

The thesis committee will consist of the student’s faculty adviser and two ladder-ranked faculty, one of which should be from the list of core or jointly-appointed faculty in the department, and the other may be from outside the department. The thesis committee should be appointed by the Graduate Division no later than spring quarter of the student’s second year.

Time-to-Degree:

The normative time-to-degree (TTD) for full-time students is six quarters and the maximum time-to-degree is seven quarters.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
M.A. 6 6 7

Doctoral Degree

Students who already have a Master’s degree in Chicana and Chicano Studies or in a related field must submit their Master’s thesis once admitted to the program. The department’s Graduate Committee will evaluate the submitted material to determine whether or not it fulfills the M.A. requirements of the program.  If the Master’s thesis is deemed satisfactory, the student will be allowed to enter the Ph.D. program under Plan B (see Doctoral Degree Course Requirements below).

Advising:

The Director of the Graduate Program and the Student Advising Officer (SAO) assist students with planning their program of study and guide them toward the fulfillment of the program requirements. Students should select their faculty adviser and mentor by the end of the second year. After completing course work for the Ph.D., but before taking the University Oral Qualifying Examination, the student submits a four-person doctoral committee that requires approval of the department’s Graduate Committee and appointment by the Graduate Division. The doctoral committee is responsible for supervision, review, and approval of the doctoral dissertation. The SAO provides assistance with policy and procedure.

Major Fields or Subdisciplines:

None.

Foreign Language Requirement:

Students at the Ph.D. level must demonstrate reading fluency in Spanish in one of two ways: (1) passing a departmentally-administered written examination; or (2) completing two years of Spanish language instruction at an institution of higher learning, with a grade of C or better.

Students are required to complete the Spanish language requirement by the end of the winter quarter of the second year of graduate study.

Course Requirements

Plan A

For students under Plan A, who have completed all the course requirements for the M.A. as described above, a minimum of 24 additional units (normally six graduate courses), taken for a letter grade, are required to complete the Ph.D. These 24 units should provide more depth to the student’s preparation in the field and research agenda. Eight units (2 courses) may be taken outside the department.

Plan B

Students entering the Ph.D. program with an approved M.A. thesis are expected to take a minimum of 44 units (regularly 11 courses), taken for a letter grade, as follows:

  • Chicana/o Studies 200, 201, and 202 (12 units) are required and should be taken within the first two years.
  • Eight graduate courses in the research areas of specialization (32 units), 3 of which may be taken outside the department.

Units taken in the 500-series—Chicana/o Studies 596 (Directed Individual Studies or Research), Chicana/o Studies 597 (Preparation for Qualifying Exams) or Chicana/o Studies 599 (doctoral dissertation research)—may not be applied toward course requirements for the Ph.D. degree.

Students may not take more than 12 units of Chicana/o Studies 597, and no more than 12 units of Chicana/o Studies 596 per academic year, before the Ph.D. course work requirements are completed. Students are eligible to enroll in 599 units only after advancing to PhD candidacy.

The minimum course load is 12 units per quarter. Students must be continuously registered and enrolled unless they are on an approved leave of absence.

Teaching Experience:

All doctoral students are expected to fulfill at least one year of teaching experience as teaching assistants in the department.

New teaching assistants must enroll in Chicana/o Studies 495 preferably before or during the quarter when they receive their first teaching appointment. In the following quarters, teaching assistants must enroll in Chicana/o Studies 375; enrollment in 375 may be used toward the minimum course load of 12 units per quarter. Neither of these courses may be counted toward the degree requirements.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations:

Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

The Qualifying Examinations consist of written and oral sections. All course work and language requirements must be completed before the examination takes place. Prior to taking the exams, an examination committee should be formed. In consultation with the dissertation adviser, students choose two other committee members, one of which could be a faculty who holds a joint appointment with the department, and whose interests and fields of expertise support research in the proposed dissertation topic. These three department faculty members constitute the departmental examination committee, which is responsible for administering the Written Qualifying Exams. The examination committee should be constituted no later than the quarter preceding that in which the examination is given.

The Written Qualifying Examination consists of two essays based on the student’s course work, research interests, and familiarity with the field. Students have two weeks to complete both essays. The first essay seeks to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the Chicana/Chicano Studies field. It will consist of a literature review based on a reading list of a minimum of 50 texts drawn up by the student in consultation with his/her/their dissertation adviser. The core part of this bibliography will be based on the department reading list. The question for the first essay will be developed by the graduate advisers of students taking the exam in any given quarter.

The second essay will be related to the student’s dissertation research; it will require a theoretical grounding in the student’s areas of specialization, an ability to define and apply interdisciplinary methodology, and a well-supported argument..

Students may enroll in up to 12 units of Chicana/o Studies 597 (examination preparation) to help prepare for the exam. Students who fail to pass either part of the Written Qualifying Examination may retake it once without petition, as early as the following quarter. Students who fail the Written Qualifying Examination a second time will not advance to doctoral candidacy and will be recommended for academic disqualification.

Following completion of the Written Qualifying Examination, students are required to take the University Oral Qualifying Examination no later than Spring of the fourth year. The oral examination is approximately two hours in length and is focused on the student’s dissertation proposal, which should draw from Essay 2 of the Written Qualifying Exam. The University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the members of the doctoral committee and the student.

Both the Written and the Oral Qualifying Examinations will be evaluated on a pass/no pass basis.

Advancement to Candidacy:

Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy degree (C.Phil.) upon successful completion of the Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation:

Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the student’s principal fields of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of Dissertation):

No public defense of the dissertation is required, but the doctoral committee, in conjunction with the student, may opt to voluntarily hold a defense of the dissertation.

Time-to-Degree:

Full-time graduate students should normally complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree within five years of completion of the requirements for the master’s degree, with the total time from admission to the completion of the Ph.D. being seven years (21 quarters). The maximum time-to-degree (TTD) is 24 quarters.

DEGREE NORMATIVE TIME TO ATC (Quarters) NORMATIVE TTD MAXIMUM TTD
Ph.D. 12 21 24

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy

A recommendation for academic disqualification is made by the Director of Graduate Studies after a vote of the department’s faculty. Before the recommendation is sent to Graduate Division, a student is notified in writing and given two weeks to respond in writing to the Chair. An appeal is reviewed by the department’s faculty, which makes the final departmental recommendation to Graduate Division.

UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and by numerous special agencies. Information regarding the University’s accreditation may be obtained from the Office of Academic Planning and Budget, 2107 Murphy Hall.

Contact Us: 

Ellie Hernandez
Phone: (310) 206-7695
Email: gradadvisor@chavez.ucla.edu