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Romance Languages MA-Spanish: Non-Thesis

Purpose and Content

The Master's examination is designed to test the students' ability to demonstrate extensive knowledge of the assigned texts, apply critical skills in the analysis of those texts and organize and write coherent, substantial essays in Spanish.

The Master's examinations are written exams from the areas the student has chosen.

Comprehensive Exams

After completing the required coursework, degree candidates must take three comprehensive exams. The student should select the areas in which he/she will be tested, and select three graduate faculty members who will form his/her M.A. Committee. The student should designate one of the three graduate faculty members as the Committee Chair. The Committee Chair will be in charge of administering the M.A. comprehensive exams. Each faculty member of the committee will create his/her portion of the comprehensive exam which the Committee Chair will then administer to the degree candidate. Two of the written exam areas must chosen from one of each of the following areas: Peninsular Literature and Spanish American Literature. The third areas can be selected from any of the fields listed as core courses. The student can also select his/her minor as a third area of examination for the M.A. exam. For the M.A. in Linguistics, two of the written exams must be chosen from Linguistics and one from literature.


Exams will ordinarily be given during the last semester of the student's M.A. courses. Financial support (four semesters) is dependent on timely completion of the degree. Exams may not be postponed more than one semester beyond the fourth. Part-time students must complete the exams by the semester following the last course that counts toward the degree. Postponements will be granted only for unusual and extenuating circumstances.

Exams will be given three times yearly: the second Monday in October (December graduation, the first Monday after spring break (May graduation), and the first Monday in June (August graduation). Exact dates will be determined at the beginning of each semester. Any exceptions will require special permission from the graduate faculty.

The written portion of the three exams will be administered over a nine-hour period during the scheduled dates. The student will take two exams on the first day (Exam 1: morning, and Exam 2: afternoon), and one exam on the second day (Exam 3: either morning or afternoon) during the Language Laboratory schedule. The Committee will decide if: 1. the exam is passed with no oral exam. 2. the exam needs to be defended orally. If the oral exam is deemed necessary, the oral exam must be scheduled at the discretion of the Committee a few days following the written exam (no later than two weeks).

Administration of the Exam

The student must inform the Graduate advisor in writing, 8-10 weeks in advance of the day set for the exam of his/her intention to take the M.A. exams, the names of the three committee members and the areas in which he/she will be examined and the area in which he/she will write the thesis. The Chair of the student’s M.A. Committee will be responsible for:

The Committee chairperson will be responsible for organizing and administering the exam, consulting with the other members of the Committee about the results, and reporting the results to the Graduate Dean, the student, and the Spanish Graduate Advisor. All three areas of the written exams must be passed by the Committee in order for the student to earn the M.A. degree. If one area is not approved, the student will have to re-take that area after a period of at least four months and no later than twelve months. If the student fails two or more areas, the student will have to be re-examined in all three areas after a period of at least four months and no later than twelve months. The chair will notify the Dean of the Graduate School. If the student does not pass all three areas in the second examination, no degree will be granted.

Eligibility for the Doctoral Program

Successful completion of the Master's exam does not guarantee automatic eligibility or acceptance into the doctoral program. The Master's committee will evaluate the student's examination and recommend in favor of either a terminal M.A. or of eligibility to continue. This assessment will become part of the student's file in the department. If the student wishes to apply for admission to the doctoral program, the Spanish graduate faculty will evaluate the Master's committee's assessment as well as the student's annual review and other factors. If the evaluation is favorable, the student may be accepted in the doctoral program. If the evaluation is unfavorable, a terminal Master's degree will be granted.