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Undertaking doctoral research allows you to develop in-depth knowledge, while making a meaningful contribution to your chosen field.

With guidance from our expert supervisors, you'll carry out extensive independent research culminating in a thesis of up to 100,000 words. The Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies's expertise covers a range of topic areas.

This degree presents the opportunity to gain expertise in your area of interest while also honing a range of transferable skills. On completing this course, you'll be well prepared for specialist career paths both within academia and beyond.


Subject Areas and Supervision

The Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies offers doctoral research supervision in the following broad areas:

  • Colonial Latin America
  • Postcolonial Latin American history
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnographic research
  • Environmental change
  • Cultures of migration and mobility
  • Social movements 
  • Latin American literature and film
  • Sociolinguistics and multilingualism 
  • Cultural Studies
  • Digital research 
  • Caribbean Studies

Research degrees in the field of Latin American Studies are also available throughthe Refugee Law Initiative, part of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies.

Before submitting an application you are advised to contact a member of staff at the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies who has interests in your proposed field of study to discuss your proposal. A list of academic staff and their interests can be found here.


Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies 

Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of Latin America in the UK. Internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for research facilitation, it serves the wider community by organising academic events, providing online research resources, publishing scholarship, and hosting visiting fellows. It possesses a world-class library dedicated to the study of Latin America and is the administrative home of the highly respected Journal of Latin American Studies.

The School of Advanced Study

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London brings together nine internationally renowned research institutes to form the UK's national centre for the support of researchers and the promotion of research in the humanities.

Course Structure

Full-time study for the PhD degree entails three or a maximum of four years' independent research, culminating in the writing of a thesis of not more than 100,000 words. Part-time students complete the same programme in five, or a maximum of six years.

After submission of the thesis, you will attend an oral examination conducted by an internal examiner, from the University of London, and an external examiner, normally from another British university.

There is no formal coursework, but you will be expected to participate in a weekly seminar on Work in Progress and to present a paper every year from their second year onwards. In your first year you are required to attend a weekly class on Techniques of Scholarship. You are also encouraged to participate in the regular seminars held at the Centre during the academic year.

Distance Learning

CLACS now offers students the opportunity to undertake their research degree by distance learning. This option is available to UK, EU and international students on the same basis as its London-based PhD programmes.  Distance-learning students are required to attend the London campus on three set occasions: at the start of their studies for an intensive induction programme, for an external review of their progress (the upgrade panel) and for the final oral exam (viva).  Students maintain regular contact with supervisors via video conferencing.  Fees are the same as for on-campus research programmes.

If you would like to be considered for our Research Degree programme via Distance Learning, please download and fill out the Research Degrees by Distance Learning form, to attach to your online application.

Opportunities and Facilities

TheCentre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies occupies a unique position at the core of academic study of the region in the UK. Internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for research facilitation, it serves the wider community through organising academic events, providing online research resourcespublishing scholarly writings and hosting visiting fellows.

It possesses a world-class library dedicated to the study of Latin America and is the administrative home of the highly respected Journal of Latin American Studies.

More broadly, the School of Advanced Study itself offers excellent resources for inter-disciplinary research by bringing together nine internationally renowned research institutes that support the promotion of research in the humanities.

The School of Advanced Study is also home to Senate House Library, the central library for the University of London. The art deco building, which the School and Senate House Library are part of, is a literary landmark in the heart of Bloomsbury, located next to the British Museum. The Library occupies the fourth to the nineteenth floors of the building,  with a range of historic library reading rooms and collections. 

Much like the Institute itself, the School offers a broad range of events, seminars and conferences that we encourage our research students to engage with.

Our research students can also take advantage of a varied and challenging research training programme, with general research skills training and research methodologies courses provided through the School and subject-specific training provided within the institutes.

How to Apply

Before submitting an application you are advised to contact a member of Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies academic staff who has interests in your proposed field of study to discuss your proposal. A list of academic staff and their interests can be found here.

Before agreeing to accept you, the School will require you to submit a research proposal, so it is worthwhile having this drafted ahead of a formal application. Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.

Candidates will normally receive an initial response to their application within 28 working days. Those who have been formally interviewed will normally be informed within one week as to whether they are to be offered a place.

Note: in accordance with regulations research students will be registered for the MPhil degree in the first instance. Upgrading to PhD will be considered in the second year for full-time students and in the third or fourth year for part-time students.


Fees and Funding


We offer online guidance and information regarding our tuition fees, payment and fee status.


Our students fund their studies in a variety of ways including scholarships, bursaries and fellowships, as well as government loans and postgraduate loans.

We offer a range of bursaries and studentships for applicants on our programmes, including Institute and course specific scholarships.

The School is part of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), through which we are able to offer a number of studentships in humanities disciplines.


Dr Ainhoa Montoya

Director of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies / Senior Lecturer

Linda Newson

Email | Research Profile


Dr Montoya’s research focuses on post-conflict violence and conflicts over natural resources. She is the author of The Violence of Democracy: Political Life in Post-War El Salvador (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Her research has been funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. She is currently working on a British Academy-funded project which explores the political-legal strategies of environmental and human rights defenders who oppose mineral extraction in Central America and Mexico, focusing specifically on the moralities, ontologies and forms of knowledge that they bring to these strategies. Dr Montoya is co-editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research (BLAR), the journal of the Society for Latin American Studies.

She accepts PhD students with an interest in bringing an anthropological perspective to the study of violence and conflict, democracy and state transformation, the law, the environment and natural resources, social movements, or human rights.


  • The anthropology of violence and conflict
  • The anthropology of democracy and state transformation
  • The ethnography of the law
  • The anthropology of the environment and natural resources
  • Social movements and citizenship practices
  • Transitional justice, human rights and memory work


Professor Linda Newson

Professor Emerita

Linda Newson

Email | Research Profile


Her research interests include Latin America and the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period; the impact of colonial rule on indigenous societies; the Portuguese slave trade to Spanish America; and the history of medicine in early colonial Spanish America.


  • Colonial Latin American history
  • Colonial Latin American geography
  • The economic and social history of Latin America up to 1800
  • The demographic history of Latin America to 1800
  • The African slave trade to Latin America
  • The history of science and medicine in Latin America
  • The missionary orders in colonial Latin America
  • The colonial Spanish Philippines

Dr Naomi Wells

Lecturer in Modern Languages (Italian and Spanish) with Digital Humanities​​



Dr Wells specialises in the area of multilingualism and migration in Spanish- and Italian-speaking contexts, with her current research focusing on digital spaces of communication and representation. She has conducted fieldwork in Spain, Italy, Chile, and the UK, and her research incorporates transdisciplinary methods and approaches drawn primarily from applied and sociolinguistics, translation and cultural studies, migration studies, and digital humanities and digital culture studies. She is joint Section Editor of the Digital Modern Languages Section on Modern Languages Open, and provides postgraduate research training in qualitative and online research methods.


  • Cultures of migration and mobility to and from Latin America

  • Sociolinguistics and multilingualism in Spanish-speaking contexts

  • Digital culture in Spanish-speaking contexts

  • Social media and internet research

  • (Digital) discourse analysis and (digital) ethnography


Dr Catherine Davies

Professor Emerita 

Catherine Davies



Her research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish and Spanish American history, culture and literature. The Wars of Independence in Spanish America, history and literature. Cuban history and literature. Abolitionism in Cuba and Puerto Rico (late Spanish Empire). Literature and culture in Argentina.


  • Latin American Literature and Culture from 1800
  • Literature and Culture in Argentina 19th and 20th C 
  • Literature and Culture in Cuba 19th C
  • Women’s Writing
  • British travellers to Latin America
  • Translation Studies
  • Spain and Spanish America 19th and 20th C