Master of Arts in Spanish

The M.A. program in Spanish is mostly focused on Spanish and Latin American literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present. Over the course of their graduate studies in Spanish, students acquire a solid grounding in major works of poetry, prose, and theater, as well as the tools necessary to approach these works critically. All courses in the Spanish program are taught in Spanish. For more information, please see the graduate program website at

Admission to the Program

In addition to the requirements established by the University and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, a student must also meet the following admission requirements established by the Spanish M.A. Program.

  1. All applicants are expected to have the equivalent of a B.A. in Spanish, that is, 30 units of upper division work in Spanish, with a GPA of 3.0 or better. If the student has not met this requirement, he or she may, at the discretion of the Program, be admitted as a “conditionally classified” graduate student. Students thus admitted must satisfactorily complete a number of specified courses before they become fully classified. These courses are not included in the 30 units required for the Masters.
  2. Applicants must arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent to the program.
  3. Applicants must demonstrate to the Spanish faculty a record of prior scholastic achievement indicative of potential success as a graduate student. This means that applicants must submit a brief writing sample (essay) in Spanish or English which shows the scope of the applicant’s critical preparation and analytical ability. Ideally, this will be a 1,000 to 1,200 word paper written in an undergraduate class.
  4. Applicants must also submit two copies of a brief statement of purpose (500 words), one written in English, the other in Spanish.
  5. Applicants are responsible for meeting the appropriate deadlines. Materials sent directly to the Spanish Program must be postmarked by April 1 to be considered for fall admission, or by October 1 to be considered for spring admission.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

The University has a requirement for written English proficiency that is to be assessed at two different levels.

Level One

Student admitted into each program must demonstrate, prior to the start of coursework, the ability to write English correctly and effectively to explain, defend or argue discipline-specific issues.

Level Two

Upon completion of each program, candidates must demonstrate an improved ability to write English correctly and effectively to explain, defend or argue discipline-specific issues commensurate with the academic training received within the program.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Spanish:

  1. Use of Appropriate Resources, Materials and Format for Writing a Research Paper. Students must demonstrate the ability to produce effective academic writing based on scholarly research.
  2. Knowledge of Culture, Language and Literature at the Advanced Level
    1. Demonstrate graduate-level competence in the concentration language.
    2. Analyze texts for theme, structure, style and other aspects of prose and poetry.
    3. Explain how literary movements influence each other and are shaped by history.
    4. Demonstrate interdisciplinary approaches when analyzing complex problems and intellectual questions.
    5. Demonstrate knowledge of the present day structure of the concentration language, including the phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and discourse features.
    6. Demonstrate knowledge of the historical development and sociolinguistic variations of the concentration language.
    7. Demonstrate the ability to develop basic skills as teacher-researcher while applying theoretical knowledge to practice, and to implement standard-based Second Language Acquisition (SLA) instruction.

Spanish (M.A.) — Minimum 30 Units

Graduate Courses (15 units)

Graduate courses in Spanish (700-800 level)

Upper-Division/Graduate Courses (6 units)

Courses numbers 500 to 899.

Elective Courses (6 units)

Culminating Experience (3 units)

Select one:

SPAN 899
Culminating Experience Examination
and Independent Study
SPAN 898Master's Thesis3

At least five courses (15 units) must be graduate courses taken within the Spanish program. The balance of the units counted for the degree may include up to nine units of upper-division courses, graduate courses from other programs in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and a maximum of six units from a related field outside the department. Any courses taken outside the Spanish Program must have prior approval of the Graduate Advisor.

Written English Proficiency

Since the Master’s Comprehensive Written and Oral Examinations are in Spanish, students must fulfill the Level-Two English requirement by passing MLL 701 with a B or higher. Students who do not receive at least a B must retake the course.

Culminating Experience

The semester prior to taking the exams or submitting the thesis, students must have a pre-qualifying screening interview. This interview serves to assess the student's preparation. The committee is made up of three professors, at least two of whom must be members of the Spanish Program. After the screening interview, upon recommendation by the committee, the student passes to the next stage of the culminating experience.

There are two options for the culminating experience: OPTION A) After the screening interview, the candidate may request a copy of the questions for the written exam. Exam questions will be drawn from the list given to the candidate. The candidate will have a semester to prepare for the comprehensive exams. OPTION B) The candidate submits a three-page thesis proposal, an exhaustive bibliography (around 30 books and journal articles), and a brief outline. The candidate will then have six months to complete the thesis.

For OPTION A, comprehensive written exams are given twice annually generally at the end of November/April or the first week of May/December. The exam is given over two days and takes a total of five hours: three hours the first day and two hours the next. Students who pass the written exams will sit for their oral exam the following week. The oral exam takes one hour. For OPTION B, after completion of the thesis, the thesis defense takes one hour.

For more information, please see the program website at