Studying at UCL - Institute of the Americas

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UCL Institute of the Americas (UCL-IA) is a leading multidisciplinary specialist institution for the study of Latin America, the United States, the Caribbean and Canada. It acts as a focal point in the UK for students and researchers seeking to develop in-depth regional and continental knowledge of the Americas. As a centre for postgraduate study specializing in the social sciences and modern history of the Americas, we offer six taught postgraduate degrees, and provide specialist supervision to doctoral level, as well as mentoring of post-doctoral fellows, on a wide range of themes and all four main regions of the Americas. Read more about UCL-Institute of the Americas.

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Students' comments

Himali Dave, MSc Latin American Politics, 2012-14

Himali Dave

As one of the few institutions offering a holistic and interdisciplinary programme of courses, and with the option of part-time study, UCL-IA was a clear choice for me for engaging in postgraduate study of the Americas. But what I soon became aware of was what else the institute offered: access to diverse events, talks and conferences covering up-to-date research with top academics; being part of a nurturing and friendly department; and meeting like-minded people passionate about all things Latin American. I have found the opportunity to spend two-years studying at my own pace extremely rewarding; although working and interning alongside my studies has often amounted to a 7-day a week commitment, the institute staff have always been extremely helpful and understanding. I feel that I have emerged with transferable analytical and critical thinking skills, which I am certain will prove incredibly valuable for me in the future.

Robbie Macrory, PhD student, Latin American Politics


Studying at the Institute has been an extremely fulfilling experience for several different reasons, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent here working towards my doctorate. Although the Institute is small enough to have a strong sense of community, it also feels fully incorporated into the wider life of the university with all the advantages that entails, including events, skills courses and a lively atmosphere. The knowledge and expertise of the faculty members at the Institute is always impressive, and the support offered by the administrative staff has been invaluable in helping me progress with my studies. Perhaps the best thing of all for me is the Institute’s location in the heart of London. It’s been a great help for my work to be within walking distance of several world-class libraries, but I’ve also enjoyed being able to attend events at think-tanks and embassies, for example, which might not have been so easy had I been studying elsewhere.

Melanie Stern, MA Latin American Studies, 2012-13


I have found that I can easily see where my hard-earned cash is being spent - and well spent - as I am surrounded by vast resources, from excellent libraries and lots of places to use study computers all over campus, to the breadth of knowledge my tutors share with me, and their encouragement of deep inquiry. This means the environment I have found as a student at UCL Americas is so far very conducive to immersing myself in the field, and being able to bounce ideas off the staff as I develop my own critical theses. In addition, there are regular talks and events, available to the public as well as students and for free, giving us contact with fresh thinking, new studies, leading commentators and new conversations on the field we're studying. This means the knowledge I'm taking in about the past is being based in the context of what's happening in real life, today.

John Gallagher, MA Latin American Studies, 2012-13

John Gallagher

After completing my undergraduate degree in Dublin, I decided to progress directly to postgraduate study by undertaking the MA at the Institute of Americas, UCL. The prospect of living in London was not the only thing that enticed me. I was also attracted by the multi-disciplinary nature of the course and the accessibility of the teaching staff, who are always at hand to discuss research interests and extend learning outside of the classroom.  At UCL, I found a Masters that allowed me to focus on the Latin American History and Politics, without neglecting more practical fields of study such as Advanced Spanish Translation. My experience at the Institute of the Americas has been nothing but positive, I am sure it will stand to me in the future.

Study Abroad programme

UCL-Institute of the Americas has the largest programme of teaching, research and events on the Americas in the UK, covering Latin America, the United States, the Caribbean and Canada. It offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of all aspects of the Americas, with an emphasis on history, politics, development, economics, human rights, and the environment.

In addition to classes taught by world-leading scholars, students have access to a wide range of events, seminars, workshops and conferences on the Americas delivered by scholars, policymakers, diplomats, NGOS, activists and other experts on the region.

Located in central London, the Institute lies in close proximity to world-class libraries, archives, and museums housing some of the finest resources for the study of the Americas in Europe. London is also home to large Caribbean, North American and Latin American communities, bringing the music, food, culture and flavour of the Americas into the heart of the city.

Being in London also provides a wonderful base from which to explore the rest of Britain. Cities such as Bath, Bristol, Cambridge, Canterbury, and Oxford are within easy reach. And making weekend trips further afield, perhaps to Dublin, Edinburgh, Paris or Madrid is great fun. 

Career Prospects

Crossing the river

The aim of our Masters degrees is to provide students with a skill set that meets the needs of a variety of different career paths. A number of students study our Masters degrees as a stepping stone towards research degrees. Others take the research skills they have developed during the Masters into the policy sector, working for think tanks or government agencies, while yet others work in areas of market research.

Some of our students have keen commercial interests. In recent years one particular area of business that has attracted the attention of our graduates has been the alternative energy sector, which is currently booming in a number of Latin American countries. Additionally, we have a number of early- and mid-career professionals that take a year out and come to us to develop regional expertise. Within this group there are generally one or two freelance journalists, who continue writing and submitting pieces whilst studying in London and then step up in their careers to work for more prestigious, global news agenciesbroadcasting corporations and media groups

A significant subset of students seek and find work in the third sector - NGOs and charitable organisations. This group often builds on previous experience in the sector to develop regional expertise and moves on to manage national offices or even regional programmes after graduating. Younger students, often straight from their first degree, might take the opportunity to work voluntarily for NGOs or charities while studying for their Masters, in this way adding vital experience to their CVs. These graduates tend to work as interns for a year or so after graduating before finding their first fully remunerated post.

The excellent record of career progression of our graduates has and will be enhanced by our establishment at UCL as the Institute of the Americas. The global reputation of UCL is unquestionable and taking a Masters Degree from the Institute of the Americas will be a great addition to your curriculum vitae. What is more, the UCL Careers Service is second to none, with a dedicated team of professionals eager to help you maximise your chances of landing that ideal job.  Regardless of the degree programme you follow or the field in which you develop your career, as a graduate of the Institute you will always receive a warm reception when requesting a reference. We are keen to support your career progression; we welcome news of your achievements and celebrate your continuing success.

Read students' experience of studying at the Institute
Read about stories from some of the Institute's alumni

Student facilities

UCL students have access to a wide range of support and facilities. These include the following:

A full range of library resources available for UCL students.

The Graduate School aims to provide support for students in many ways, particularly through its Skills Development Programme, Research Funds, Scholarships and Codes of Practice, all of which are detailed on this site.

The UCL Language Centre offers full and part-time English for Academic Purposes for international students as well as foreign language courses to UCL students, staff and London’s wider academic and professional community

UCLU exists to provide a wide range of services – all in the interests of UCL students. It is run by elected student officers, and supports a range of opportunities and services.

 The events calendar highlights UCL's wide range of public events.

You need not be concerned about finding a place to live, as UCL can offer accommodation and advice. UCL Student Accommodation's aim is to provide agreeable accommodation in a friendly environment at affordable prices.

If you are thinking about your career, then take a look at the resources in this section  for information on a range of sectors.

The Volunteering Services Unit is UCLU's dedicated facility for students who want to get involved with volunteering projects in the local community.


Research at UCL-IA

There are various schemes available to prospective and current PhD students at UCL-IA. Please consult our Funding Opportunities page here: For other sources of funding please consult the UCL Scholarships and Funding page.

Masters at UCL-IA

There are various schemes available to prospective and current Masters students at UCL-IA, including fieldwork funding. Please consult our Funding Opportunities page here: For other sources of funding please consult the UCL Scholarships and Funding page.

Other funding

For a full list of scholarships/bursaries please consult:

UCL Scholarships and Funding page

Useful information
Student Fees and Costs
Information for International Students
Information for New Students
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Please contact UCL Institute of the Americas programmes team for further information:

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