Spanish M.A.

The Program

The Master of Arts degree in Spanish offers students the opportunity to pursue studies in Hispanic literature, linguistics, and culture. The program prepares students for doctoral studies and for careers in the teaching of Spanish, bilingual education, international business, social and governmental services, and other related areas.

Basic Requirements

In order to be admitted to the M.A. program in Spanish, students should possess a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent, as assessed by the department), with a major in Spanish, and including at least 15 units of upper division work in the major with a grade of "B" or better.

A student may be admitted to conditionally classified standing if they meet minimum requirements for admission to the SJSU Graduate Division but does not fully meet requirements for admission to the Spanish M.A. program.

Once admitted to the program, students with fully classified graduate standing select at least one graduate course in literature, one in linguistics, and one in culture. Candidates must complete 30 semester units; of these, 18 must be at the 200 level, the other 12 may be approved upper division courses. With the graduate advisor's approval, a maximum of 9 units related to the student's field of concentration may be taken from other disciplines. Some seminars may be repeated when content changes.

Students complete the requirements for the M.A. by taking 30 units and a final comprehensive examination in Spanish.

Undergraduate Courses

Maximum 12 units

  • Span 120 A, B Spanish Literature (4 units each)
  • Span 132 Business Spanish (4 units)
  • Span 140 A, B Spanish American Literature (4 units each)
  • Span 160 A Hispanic Culture (4 units)
  • Span 160 B Hispanic Linguistics (4 units)
  • Span 160 C Hispanic Literature (4 units)
  • Span 170 Spanish Translation (4 units)


Graduate students who qualify may apply after their admission for a Meta Marion Goldsmith scholarship, as well as other scholarships offered by the Department.

Teaching Opportunities

Qualified students may receive training in teaching Spanish at the college level through the department's Teaching Associate program.

Courses and Seminars

Courses and seminars are taught in Spanish. 160 and 200 level courses are scheduled in the evening.

Graduate Seminars and Special Studies

Minimum 18 units

  • FORL 200 Graduate Research and Writing (Required of all students) (4 units)
  • Span 201 Modern Spanish (Topics, Spanish Linguistics) (4 units)
  • Span 202 Special seminars in a variety of Hispanic cultures (Peru, Mexico, Spain, etc.) (4 units)
  • Span 210 Old Spanish (linguistics) (4 units)
  • Span 220 Seminar in Historical Spanish Linguistics (4 units)
  • Span 225 Seminar in Spanish Dialectology (4 units)
  • Span 250 Seminar in the Siglo de Oro (4 units)
  • Span 260 Seminar in Modernismo and the Generation of 1898 (4 units)
  • Span 270 Seminars in Contemporary Literature of Spain and Latin America (4 units)
  • Span 280 Seminar in Romanticismo of Spain and Latin America (4 units)

FORL 200 also fulfills the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR).

Final Comprehensive Exam

Students take the final comprehensive exam no earlier than the spring semester of the academic year in which they finish their coursework. In order to prepare for their comprehensive exam, students must create a study plan with their advisor and enroll in a special section of SPAN 298 (Exam Preparation) in the semester in which they are to take the exam.

Please click here: Comprehensive Exam Reading List

How to Apply

Applying to the M.A. in Spanish is a twofold [two step] process. 

Step 1: Apply to SJSU through Calstate 

Deadline: March 1, 2021. (also see Graduate Deadlines)

For information on CSU Graduate Admissions please refer to:

Step 2: Submit materials to the Department of World Languages and Literatures

Deadline: March 1, 2021. 

  1. Statement of Purpose: A 150-250 word statement in SPANISH detailing: 

    1. Why you want to pursue an MA in Spanish at SJSU

    2. Why you are qualified for an MA in Spanish at SJSU

    3. Upload Here:

  2.  A copy of a graded class paper written in Spanish demonstrating ability to write in Spanish at an advanced level.

    1. Must have instructor comments

    2. Upload Here:

  3. Two letters of recommendation: 

    1. From faculty members who can address your academic performance and potential

    2. On institutional letterhead 

    3. Uploaded by the author of the letters here:

    4. * Students should not submit letters of recommendation themselves*

Final deadline for documents is March 1, 2021.

Spanish M.A. Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  1. Ability to understand the historical development of the Spanish language in its external (history, culture) and internal development (morphology, syntax and semantics).
  2. Knowledge of and familiarity with the linguistic variation of Spanish and its main dialects, including phonology, geographical variation, social dialects, and registers.
  3. Knowledge of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world (Spain, Spanish America and the Hispanic U.S.) and relevant literary and cultural criticism.
  4. Ability to write and present orally in a scholarly fashion.

For more information, please contact the Spanish Graduate Coordinator:

  Vanessa Marie Fernández, PhD
Assistant Professor of Spanish 
San José State University
Clark Hall 408M