The Institute advises masters and doctoral students from the University’s graduate social science programs who wish to develop a specialization in Latin America. ILAS is administered by the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and students from SIPA and other professional schools, such as the Schools of Law, Business, Journalism, and Public Health, in addition to students from the academic departments, enroll in courses offered or coordinated by ILAS.
There are over three hundred and twenty-five graduate students at Columbia University specializing in the Latin American region. In the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, there are presently over 100 candidates conducting research on the regions in disciplines ranging from Political Science to History, Anthropology, Economics, Sociology, Spanish and Portuguese.
Field research represents a vital dimension of study for both PhD and professional students. For doctoral students, preliminary field research is essential in elaborating dissertation proposals on contemporary Latin America. For the range of Master’s candidates at the university, field research provides both first-hand experience and on the ground insight into the kinds of professional challenges they will confront in the future. There is no doubt that early field experience strongly influences students’ future academic choices and professional careers.
The Institute of Latin American Studies has a long tradition of providing field research grants to students. With the Tinker monies made available in previous years, the Institute has been able to fund many qualified candidates. The expansion of these activities with Tinker Foundation support will produce a cohort of students well grounded in field research, thus enhancing the overall quality of the intellectual communities formed by the Institute. In addition, the availability of summer research funding will continue to strengthen the program’s relationships with affiliated departments by encouraging new student and faculty contacts.