Mexican American Studies Doctoral Program

The Ph.D. program in Mexican American Studies (MAS) is an interdisciplinary research degree. An individualized plan of study allows students to develop their own specialization in Mexican American Studies by integrating areas such as indigenous, Cultural, Gender, Education, Immigration, Health, Historical, and Comparative Ethnic Studies.


The deadline for applications is January 15th. The University of Arizona's Ph.D. in Mexican American Studies is a research degree. Applicants should hold a Master's degree or its equivalent by the date of entry into the program. to be competitive for admissions, applicants should have a GPA of at least 3.0 or higher.

The application requirements are as follows:

  •  Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Intent: A statement of scholarly and research interests.
  • Updated Curriculum Vitae.
  • Writing sample: a 35-50 page scholarly paper or Master's Thesis
  • Official Transcripts from all previous colleges and universities attended.
  • A copy of official GRE scores. (GRE scores are being waived for the 2021-2022 academic year until further notice)

The department application is available through the Graduation College Application:

PhD Requirements

A minimum of 66 units are required for the completion of the Ph.D. in Mexican American Studies. All required units of credit must be at the graduate level at the University of Arizona or at an accredited institution in consultation with the Major Advisor, MAS academic coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies. The department encourages students to collaborate with other academic units within the University to explore relevant theories, knowledge, and perspectives based on their specialized field of scholarly inquiry and research. These aforementioned departmental requirements allow students a wide range of choices and independence in completing their degree requirements.

Ph.D. Program Guide:

Required courses (9 units)***

  • MAS 695A Ph.D. Colloquium
  • MAS 566 Chicana Decolonial Theory*
  • MAS 580A Advanced Research Methods**

MAS "Core courses" (18 units)     

Dissertation Research (18 units)

Electives (21 units)                                                  

Total: 66 units

* Applicable to students entering the PhD program Fall 2017 or after.

** Applicable to students entering the PhD program Fall 2019 or after.

*** Required to minor in MAS

MAS Core

The MAS Ph.D. Degree requires that students take 18 units of core graduate coursework offered by the MAS Faculty, as well as MAS 695A (3 units): Mexican American Studies Ph.D. Colloquium.

Specialization Area

In consultation with a major advisor, students have the option of completing a minor in MAS (9 units) or selecting to minor outside of MAS. If completing a minor outside of MAS, please see that department for their Ph.D. Minor guidelines and unit requirements.

Research Methods

Since this is an interdisciplinary program, each student, in consultation with their with their Major Advisor, should take 3 units in an approved research methods course that best serves their research agenda. Additional units may be required as per research needs.

Dissertation Units

A minimum of 18 dissertation units are required. The following must also be completed:

  • A qualifying exam within 2 semesters that affirms formal acceptance into the program.
  • Completion and affirmative evaluation of the comprehensive examination.
  • Prospectus and prospectus review.
  • Dissertation defense.
  • Completed and approved dissertation
  • Doctoral plan of study

Recommended courses for doctoral student:

MAS 505 – Traditional Indian Medicines 

MAS 508 – Mexican American Cultural Perspectives

MAS 509 – Mexican Immigration

MAS 510 – Socio-Cultural Determinants of Health 

MAS 525 – Latino Health Disparities (not applicable if MAS 425 has been taken)

MAS 530 – Latina/o Adolescence

MAS 565 – Critical Race Theories

MAS 575A - Education of Latinos (not applicable if MAS 475A has been taken)

MAS 585 – Mexicana/Chicana Women’s History (not applicable if MAS 485 has been taken)

MAS 535 – Mexican Tradition Medicine

MAS 560 – Chicano Historiography

MAS 570 – The Feminization of Migration: Global Perspectives


If you have any questions about the program or the requirements for applying and/or acceptance into the program contact Michelle Tellez, Director of Graduate Studies, via email at or by telephone at (520)-626-0409

MAS PhD Alumni Spotlight

Andrea Holm

Andrea Hernandez Holm was the first student to graduate from the PhD program in MAS (2016). Her doctoral work focused on the role of Mexicana and Chicana knowledge-keeping traditions in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.  She has published a number of articles and has a book manuscript in review. Currently, Andrea is the director of the Writing Skills Improvement Program at the University of Arizona, where she oversees programs that provide academic writing support for individuals and organizations around the world. Under her leadership, Writing Skills has recently been awarded the UA Provost Investment Fund to support the Graduate Writing Institute, and a National Endowment for the Humanities American Rescue Plan award to support the Academic Writing in the Borderlands initiative.  Andrea is also a poet and her first collection of poetry, Not Enough, Too Much, is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press in 2022. 


Juvenal Caporale 

Dr. Juvenal Caporale completed his doctorate in Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona in May 2020. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Stanislaus. Dr. Caporale’s research interests include healing, re-Indigenization, and re-humanization. Specifically, his work centers on Brown and Indigenous men who participate in circles (extended kinship networks) and ceremonial practices to heal intergenerational trauma. Dr. Caporale is a Ford, Fulbright, and Bilinski Fellow and has authored essays in Aztlán, Urban Education, Springer, and the University of Arizona Press.