Spanish MA Graduate Program

Credits and Courses

A content-based examination is mandatory for all incoming students. The results of this examination are used to develop the program of study. Students with insufficient preparation for graduate study in one or more areas may be admitted with specific, program-defined course deficiencies provided that the deficiencies amount to no more than two courses.

The student is expected to satisfy deficiency requirements within three enrolled semesters. The deficiencies are monitored by the Graduate School and the individual graduate program unit. No course credits earned in making up deficiencies may be counted as program credits required for the degree.

A minimum of 30 graduate credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the MA in Spanish. All students must demonstrate reading competency in a second Romance language. In order to do so, they may take the departmental graduate reading exam or complete two semesters in another language. Courses taken to complete this requirement do not count toward the minimum credits required for the MA

Specific course requirements and credit distribution are as follows:

SPANISH 701Historical Linguistics (or equivalent)3
SPANISH 720Approaches to Hispanic Literary Theory and Criticism (or equivalent)3
Select 12 credits in Spanish or Spanish-American literature and culture courses at the 700 level or above12
Select 6 credits in language and/or linguistics courses in Spanish6
Select 6 credits of electives in Hispanic culture, language, linguistics, literature, thesis, or related courses6
Total Credits30

All teaching assistants are required to enroll in MALLT 700 or an equivalent course during their first year. This course counts toward the 6 credits of electives.

No 300-level courses will apply toward the degree, and a maximum of six (6) graduate credits in 400-level U/G courses may be used to fulfill degree requirements.

The MA degree in Spanish offers both non-thesis and thesis options.

Additional Requirements

Major Professor as Advisor

All students must have a major professor who serves as an advisor and supervises their course of study. The Director of the MA program acts as the initial advisor for all entering students. By the end of the second semester, students will be matched with an advisor based on their academic interest.

Non-Thesis Option

Students pursuing the non-thesis option must complete a minimum of thirty (30) credits of acceptable graduate-level coursework (including the courses specifically required) and receive a passing grade on the final comprehensive examination.

Thesis Option

Students pursuing the thesis option must complete a minimum of twenty four (24) credits of acceptable graduate-level coursework, successfully defend a thesis for which a maximum of six (6) credits is granted, and receive a passing grade on the final comprehensive examination.

Students in the thesis option should choose an area of specialization for the thesis as early as possible. After a thesis topic is chosen, students, with the approval of the major professor, select two additional members of the graduate faculty in the area of concentration to serve as the thesis committee. A member of the graduate faculty specializing in the student’s area of concentration acts as the thesis director and chair of the committee. Students writing a linguistics-based thesis may use either the APA, LSA, or MLA style. All other theses must be written following the MLA style.

Upon the approval of the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee, a student may be allowed to write the Spanish MA thesis in Spanish; each request will be examined on an individual basis to ensure the highest quality of theses and the linguistic ability of each petitioner. Those approved to write the thesis in Spanish must also provide an abstract written in English.

Comprehensive Final Examination

Students enrolled in the thesis and non-thesis options take the same MA comprehensive examination. Students are urged to take the examination no later than the fourth semester of graduate study. The examination may be repeated once.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Additional requirements

  • Reading proficiency in 3rd language: 2 semesters of classes or equiv. of a Romance language, Latin, or other languages related to Spain, Latin America, and/or with a scholarship tradition in Hispanic Studies. [Does NOT count toward 30 credits of M.A.]
  • Passing grade on the Comprehensive Final Examination (written and oral portions). The examination is based on courses taken by the student and on the Department’s established reading list, and will contain questions on Spanish Peninsular Literature, Spanish-American Literature, Hispanic Linguistics, and other subject areas relevant to the student’s program.   
  • Submission of portfolio of term papers and program evaluation (at time of Comprehensive Exam)


  1. Graduate teaching assistants must enroll in a minimum of six (6) credits per semester which count toward the degree.

Graduate Student Grievance Procedures

UWM policy require programs and departments to have procedures for graduate students to appeal academic decisions such as grades or scholastic standing. These procedures ensure the protection of students’ rights. These pages serve as a reference on procedures for graduate student academic appeals.