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Master of Arts

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The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies offers a graduate program leading to the degree of Master of Arts in Spanish.

For details on the application process, including deadlines, please see the main Graduate Studies page.

MA students may specialize in either Literatures/Cultural Studies or Linguistics, with the possibility of completing a secondary specialization in Portuguese. Qualified applicants to the MA program are eligible for teaching assistantships. A Master of Arts in Spanish may be earned in one of two ways.

  • Non-thesis MA. This is considered a terminal degree for those anticipating teaching careers in secondary schools or junior colleges, as well as employment in business, government, tourism, etc. Requirements: 30 credit hours and a comprehensive examination.
  • MA with thesis. This option prepares students for later work toward a PhD. Requirements: 30 credit hours, a comprehensive examination, and a thesis.

Description of MA Program in Spanish


Both the MA with thesis and the MA without thesis comprise 30 credits. For the MA with thesis, up to 6 credits of Thesis Research (SPW 6971) may count in the overall total. Students electing the MA without thesis take two courses (6 credits) in lieu of SPW 6971 credits.

Graduate credit for work in and outside major field: Graduate credit is awarded for courses numbered 5000 and above. The work in the major field must be in courses numbered 5000 or above. For work outside the major (minor or second foreign language requirement: see below) courses numbered 3000 or above, not to exceed 6 credits, may be taken provided they are part of an approved plan of study (Graduate Council, 2/17/00).


Two tracks are available: literature/culture and linguistics. Each track has separate course requirements and reading lists.

Course Requirements

All MA candidates who are Teaching Assistants in the program must take SPN 6943, Romance Language Teaching Methods.

Students specializing in Literatures/Cultural Studies must take at least one course in each of the following six areas: Peninsular Medieval and Golden Age, 18th and 19th centuries, and contemporary; Spanish American Colonial, 19th century, and contemporary.

Students specializing in Linguistics must take at least one course in each of the five areas of Spanish linguistics: phonetics and phonology, morphology and syntax, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, and history of the language.

Language Competence

All entering graduate students must demonstrate competence in oral and written Spanish. A candidate who is judged by the Graduate Faculty to have inadequate command of Spanish will be asked to do remedial work (such as SPN 6315 and/or other suitable courses). International students are required by state law to demonstrate competence in English by satisfactory performance on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and, if they apply for a teaching assistantship, the TOEFL iBT or Speak Test.

Second Foreign Language

Functional knowledge of a second foreign language is recommended (but not required) for MA students. Those who plan to do doctoral work in Spanish at the University of Florida should achieve functional knowledge of another language (usually Romance). The Graduate Coordinator and the student’s Supervisory Committee will appraise the student’s goals and advise accordingly. Minimum level of achievement: a grade of B in a 3000-level course approved by the advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, or proven proficiency at that level. In Portuguese, this may be satisfied by POR 3010, Introduction to Portuguese and Brazil (accelerated), and one additional course at or above the 5000 level.


Most Master’s students will be given the opportunity to gain teaching experience through a teaching assistantship, dependent upon departmental need and availability of funds. Renewal of the assistantship is contingent upon satisfactory performance as a teaching assistant and as a graduate student.


Part of the 30-hour requirement may consist of a minor (or secondary specialization, if within the department), i.e., at least six semester hours at the 5000-level or above in a field approved by the student’s committee or advisor.

Supervisory Committee

By the second semester in residence, and in consultation with the main advisor and the Graduate Coordinator, the student will choose a Supervisory Committee (SC). The duties of the SC are to advise the student, check on the student’s qualifications and progress, and supervise the preparation of the comprehensive examination and the thesis (if applicable). The SC for an MA degree without a thesis may consist of one member of the graduate faculty; for an MA degree with a thesis the SC must consist of at least two members selected from the graduate faculty.


Any student whose average falls below B for two consecutive terms will be dropped from the program. Grades of “I” (Incomplete) will be given only for compelling reasons in accordance to a departmental contract.

Comprehensive Examination

In the fourth semester of study, all MA candidates will take a comprehensive written examination based upon a departmental reading list, available in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Questions? Contact the Graduate Coordinator at