M.A. Exams Required for Graduation

The MA Spanish program is a non-thesis option program.  

Before taking the MA Examinations, graduate candidates must complete the following:

  1. Oral Competency Interview: this tool is conducted in the style of an Oral Proficiency Interview.  This interview does not directly affect the student’s final exam results and is used as an assessment of the program.
  2. A Reading Competency Requirement in a foreign language other than Spanish.

※ The MA Graduate Examinations consist of THREE written exams (typically taken during the second year of the program): (MA Reading List)

  1. Spanish Peninsular Literature (MA Reading List)
  2. Latin American Literature (MA Reading List)
  3. A Chosen Specialization

Once ALL MA Graduate Examinations are successfully completed, students will have an oral interview with participating graduate faculty.

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Oral Competency Interview

The interview is conducted for program assessment purposes. Students should consult with the Graduate Advisor prior to the second week of the semester of their graduation. This interview WILL NOT impact the final results of the MA examinations or degree requirements. If a student scores lower than Intermediate High according to the ACTFL guidelines, the Graduate Coordinator will recommend strategies to improve oral proficiency. There is a certain flexibility associated with this assessment—in case graduation plans change, the timing of the interview can be negotiated after consulting with the Graduate Coordinator.


Reading Competency Requirements

Requirements:  Students must pass the Reading Competency Requirement before they proceed to the written MA Examinations. Students who do not pass Reading Competency will need to retake this translation exam before continuing to the MA examinations. Retakes must be scheduled no less than 30 days after the previous attempt.  If the student is not able to pass the requirement in three attempts, an exception must be requested from the Graduate Coordinator.

Waiver:  If a student has an undergraduate minor or major in an additional language, or has taken upper-level classes (500 and above) in another language, the Reading Competency Requirement will be waived.

Format: The Reading Competency will consist of one 3-hour session during which the student will translate a text of intermediate difficulty to either English or Spanish. The translation will be completed with the benefit of a dictionary. The student must bring his/her own blue book. Additional paper will be provided, if needed. Topics will be related to the areas of literature, culture, education and/or linguistics. 

Preparation:  Students can either self-prepare or take classes in the corresponding language.  Classes numbered under the 500 level do not count towards the degree requirements and are not eligible for a tuition waiver for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs).

Languages: Students may select from languages corresponding to the expertise of current MCLL Graduate Faculty. Students should discuss their language options with the Graduate Coordinator.

Written MA Exams

Format:  All written exams are scheduled for 3 hours. Students are permitted the use of a dictionary during these exams. Students must bring their own blue books and pen (no pencils). Additional paper will be provided, if necessary. Those wanting additional help on the exam’s format should consult the MA exam preparation guide.

  • Latin American Literature
    Students should be familiar with the works on the MA Reading List and be able to comment on the cultural context of the works, their recurrent themes, and structural particularities. Students will be expected to identify the aesthetic of each work and where applicable, the socio-political importance of the work.
  • Spanish Peninsular Literature
    Students should be familiar with the works on the MA Reading List and be able to comment on the cultural context of the works, their recurrent themes, and structural particularities.  Students will be expected to identify the aesthetic of each work and where applicable, the socio-political importance of the work.
  • Chosen Specialization
    Students select a specialization based on interests developed during their course of study.  Students will work in tandem with a graduate faculty member to obtain clear guidelines as to what their chosen Specialization Examination will entail. It is recommended that the student meet with the graduate faculty member several times prior to the exam date. All graduate courses taught through MCLL are eligible as a specialization area. It is up to the student and graduate faculty member to schedule a specific time for the Specialization Exam. It is recommended that the Specialization Exam be taken prior to the Spanish Peninsular and Latin American Literature examinations.

Students need to be aware that all written examinations shall be completed at least one week before the Oral Interview with participating graduate faculty.

Exam Schedule:

Area Fall Semester Spring Semester
Latin American Literature First Tuesday in November First Tuesday in April
Spanish Peninsular Literature Second Tuesday in November Second Tuesday in April
Chosen Specialization TBD TBD


Oral Interview with Graduate Faculty

Format:  After successfully completing all written examinations, students will have the opportunity to have a final Oral Interview with graduate faculty. The Interview will be conducted by a committee comprised of all available Spanish Graduate Faculty, and is chaired by the professor in charge of the chosen specialization area. Topics may include (but are not limited to) exam questions from the written portions of the MA examinations and/or works included on the MA Reading Lists in addition to providing students with the opportunity to correct any deficiencies (errors) from the written exams.

Schedule: The Oral Interview is scheduled for the last week of November (for Fall graduation) and the last week of April (for Spring graduation). The specific date, time, & location will be determined once students have finished all written examinations.


- Consult with professors if there are questions about results or comments
- Consult your notes from the written exams
- Consult the Reading Lists
- Consult the MA Study Guide

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