Graduate Programs

French and Spanish M.A. Programs

The M.A. degree programs provide advanced preparation for the teaching of French or Spanish in high schools or community colleges, and for further graduate study. Following is information pertaining to admissions.

The French M.A. program is not currently accepting applications.


Admission Conditions

Classified Standing in the Graduate Programs Requires

  • A bachelor's degree in the subject (French or Spanish) or its equivalent, as assessed by the Department, with the last 15 units of upper division work in the major with a grade of "B" or better.
  • Filing a complete application with the CSU Mentor website for admission to the M.A. program of your choice.
  • A personal interview with the Graduate Advisor.
  • Satisfactory performance on the Proficiency Examination, the purpose of which is to determine whether a student has the preparation to handle graduate course work. This exam must be taken before starting graduate course work. Please consult the Graduate Advisor for the precise date, time, and place of the examination.
  • Two letters of recommendation from former instructors or administrators. This requirement may be waived for recent SJSU graduates.
  • Satisfactory proof of competence in English composition through Writing Skills Test and FL 100W.
  • A corrected essay from one an upper level Spanish courses. It should have professor's comments and a grade on it. If the applicant does not have a B.A. or minor in Spanish or such a paper, submit a 3-10 page essay related to a topic relevant to the M.A. program courses.

Conditionally Classified Graduate Standing

Students who meet minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate Division, but do not meet one or more of the requirements for admission to Classified standing, may be admitted to Conditionally Classified graduate standing. Students who do not have a bachelor's degree in French or Spanish, but have an excellent command of the language, will be required to complete upper division courses (including at least 15 units of upper division work in the major) in addition to the Master's program with a GPA of 3.0 before they may petition for change of status from Conditionally Classified to Classified standing. Conditionally classified students must pass the proficiency exam to become classified.


Course Requirements for Conferral of the Degree

The minimum program for an M.A. in French or Spanish includes 30 semester units with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, of which at least: 15 must be at the graduate level (courses numbered 200-299) for the Spanish concentration and 18 for the French concentration. To complete the 30 units, additional courses can be taken at the 200-level and at the 100-level; the latter cannot be more than 12 units (French) 15 units (Spanish) and must not be required for the B.A. The graduate program of study must include as core courses three units in each area, Linguistics, Culture and Literature:

Three units (3) in Linguistics:

  • FREN 201 Modern French 
  • SPAN 201 Modern Spanish
  • FREN 210 Instructional Resources for Teaching French and Culture
  • SPAN 210 Old Spanish
  • FREN 220 Historical French Linguistics
  • SPAN 220 Historical Spanish Linguistics
  • SPAN 225 Spanish Dialectology

Three units (3) in Culture:

  • FREN 202 Seminar in French Civilization and Culture
  • SPAN 202 Seminar in Hispanic Civilization and Culture
  • FREN  240 Seminar in Francophone Literature & Culture

Three units (3) in Literature:

  • FREN 250 Seminar in French Novel
  • SPAN 250 Seminar in Siglo de Oro
  • FREN 260 Seminar in French Drama
  • SPAN 260 Seminar in Modernismo or the Generation of '98
  • FREN 270 Seminar in French Lyric
  • SPAN 270 Seminar in Contemporary Hispanic Literature
  • FREN 280 Seminar in French Thinkers
  • SPAN 280 Seminar in Romanticism in Spain or Spanish America

With the Graduate Advisor's approval, a maximum of nine (9) units of subjects closely related to the degree objective may be taken from other disciplines within the University. A maximum of six (6) graduate units are transferable from other universities, if approved by the Graduate Studies Office. Up to six (6) units of "Special Study" may be taken with the consent of the Graduate Advisor and the instructor, by a student who is already in the second semester of graduate work. Courses labeled 298 (Special study) also require pre-registration in the Department of World Languages and Literatures.

Out of the total number of units for the M.A. program, no more than 12 units (40%) can be graded CR/NCR. The grading CR/NCR applies to 298 and 299.


Completion of the Degree

At the discretion of the Department, the candidate takes a final comprehensive written examination conducted in French or Spanish, according to the program.


Advancement to Candidacy

Students must consult with the Graduate Advisor when they begin graduate studies and each semester thereafter to update records and check their progress. After completing at least nine units (9) of graduate work, but no later than one semester before completing course requirements for the degree, they must advance to candidacy for the degree. This entails filling out, in consultation with the Graduate Advisor, an official "Graduate Degree Program" form, listing all courses and other requirements for the degree. This form must then be approved by the Department Graduate Committee and the University Dean of Graduate Studies. They can be found in the Graduate studies website. In addition to these steps, the student must also have:

  • Classified standing.
  • 15 units of graduate work with grade B or better.
  • 0 [B] Grade Point Average.


Guide for the Completion of Degree Requirements


Study Program

Though the minimum university requirement for the M.A. degree is two semesters, the Department considers two academic years to be a more realistic time-frame in which to complete the various elements of the program. Students should devise, in close consultation with the Graduate Advisor, a program of studies which will lead to the timely completion of the degree. At the start of every semester, students must meet with the Graduate Advisor to report coursework completed the previous semester and to get approval for coursework currently pursuing, as well as to file the appropriate documents required by the university.

The M.A. Reading List

The Reading List of required texts for all M.A. candidates is included in the Master's Handbook, which all students receive upon their admission to the program. The readings constitute the foundation and common ground for discourse for all graduates of the program. They are used in the preparation of the final comprehensive examination and they serve as the literary, linguistic and cultural framework for the development of all Master's theses. Students who are not familiar with the works listed must read them on their own or enroll in the appropriate courses covering them.


Writing Skills Test and FL 100W

All candidates to the M.A. must fulfill the University B.A. requirement in advanced English composition by taking FL 100W if their B.A. degree does not include a 100W class. Students who did not complete their undergraduate studies within the CSU system will need first, to take the WST (Writing Skills Test), then to enroll in FL100W. Those who score higher than 10/12 in the WST essay and 69 in the objective part may waive the course. Please consult with the Testing Office (as early as you can) for information regarding WST dates, deadlines and registration.

Testing Office

San José State University 
One Washington Square 
San Jose, CA 95192-0039 
Industrial Studies Building, room 228 
Phone: 408-924-5980 
Fax: 408-924-5909

Final Examination

The completion of the program will culminate with either the taking of the Final Comprehensive M.A. Examination. The Final Examination is administered once per semester during the thirteenth or fourteenth week of classes. 


Please contact the Graduate Advisors for additional information:

French M.A.

Jean-Luc Desalvo
French Coordinator 
Clark Hall 435 

Spanish M.A.

Damian Bacich
Spanish Graduate Coordinator 
Clark Hall 421

For General Information on Graduate Work at SJSU:

Graduate Studies Office 
Student Services Center 
9th and San Fernando Street 
Phone: (408) 924-2480