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M.A. in Spanish

M.A. in Spanish Requirements

  1. Maintaining good standing in the progress toward the Ph.D. degree
  2. Language requirement
  3. Coursework
  4. Successful M.A. Thesis
  5. Selection of academic adviser

Student Standing

Students must maintain a B+ average or better every semester in all graduate courses to remain in good standing. Students may request up to a maximum of two Incompletes (I) while enrolled at Vanderbilt and cannot carry an Incomplete (I) for more than one semester. Students must be conscientious classroom instructors and advance toward their degrees in a timely fashion. Students should participate actively in the academic life of the department, attending lectures, presentations, and other activities sponsored by the department. Only students in good standing may take the Comprehensive Exam. Good standing is a prerequisite for financial assistance, including summer support and teaching assistantships.

Language Requirement

The language requirement may be fulfilled by completing a graduate class in Portuguese with a minimum grade of B+, and it should be satisfied as early as possible. This requirement may be met by taking Port 5203 or a more advanced course taught in the target language. It is most often satisfied by officially auditing PORT 1103 in the fall of the first year and enrolling in PORT 5203 for credit in the spring. Other possibilities for meeting this requirement will be entertained and reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


The M.A. in Spanish requires 30 credit hours of coursework at Vanderbilt.

Required courses (6 hours):

  • SPAN 6010 Literary Analysis and Theory;
  • SLS/SPAN 6030 Foreign Language Learning and Teaching.
  • Core courses (18 hours):

A minimum of 18 additional credit hours in 6000- to 9000-level graduate seminars in Spanish.

Electives (6 hours):

6 additional credit hours of graduate-level courses in Spanish, Portuguese or another discipline approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. One of these courses would normally be a course taken to meet the language requirement, usually PORT 5203 or another graduate-level Portuguese course that appears in the Graduate School Catalog (with the exception of PORT 5301, 5302, and 5900).

Students cannot take an Independent Study toward the 30 credit hours for the M.A.

M.A. Thesis


All graduate students entering the Ph.D. program at Vanderbilt must complete a successful M.A. thesis (as defined below) no later than the beginning of their third semester of residence.


The M.A. Thesis will consist of an existing paper from a first-year seminar re-written under the supervision of the professor of that course. The supervisor must find that the article is suitable for submission to a scholarly journal. The article does not have to be accepted for publication, but it does need to be professional enough to be ready, in the opinion of the supervisor, for submission. The thesis is due at the DGS’s office by August 20th, before the start of the second year of studies.


After completion of 30 hours of course work at Vanderbilt, students who have presented a successful M.A. thesis will be awarded the Vanderbilt M.A. in Spanish, regardless of any M.A.’s that may be held from other institutions.

Students who have not taught in their first year must satisfactorily complete the M.A. thesis and 24 hours of course work in their first year to become eligible to teach in their second year.

NOTE: Failure to complete the M.A. thesis may result in the withholding of TA salary during the terms that the student is unable to teach.

Selection of academic adviser

In their third semester of study, graduate students must choose an academic adviser, who will eventually direct the student’s Ph.D. dissertation. Once the adviser has accepted the charge, the decision must be reported to the DGS so the information can be included in the student’s academic record, to which the adviser will then have administrative access. Although each student is ultimately responsible for his or her own decisions, the role of academic adviser is to provide continuous guidance in designing a plan of study in accordance with the degree requirements. If taken, the optional Comprehensive Exam preparation course (SPAN 6080) is done under the supervision of the adviser. With assistance from the Director of Graduate Studies, the adviser assesses the coherence and relevance of the proposed Ph.D. minor and generally serves as a mentor for the professional development of the student in terms of publications, conferences, grants and fellowships.


Time limit: The department expects students to complete all requirements, within the second year of residence in the program. Failing to complete the requirements for the M.A. will result in termination of support. The Graduate School stipulates that a student must complete all requirements for the M.A. degree within a six-year period, calculated from the end of the student’s first semester of enrollment in the Graduate School.