2023-24 Catalogs

125 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
Map and directions »
Phone numbers and e-mail »

MA in Romance Languages with Emphasis in Spanish

Degree Requirements

Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours at the graduate-level to earn their MA degree. At least 15 hours must be in courses at the 8000 level or above. The plan of study for the MA with an emphasis in Spanish must include a minimum of nine hours of course work in Spanish peninsular literature and a minimum of nine hours of course work in Spanish-American literature. The plan of study for an MA with an emphasis in Spanish must also include three credit hours in the history of the Spanish language (completion of or the equivalent).The total number of credit hours in special readings (7960), problems (8085) or any combination of both may not exceed 12. The number of credit hours in special readings (7960) within the student’s major field may not exceed three per semester. Graduate Instructors with no pedagogical experience or those who have completed no graduate course in foreign language teaching methodology will be required to take SPAN 7120 Foreign Language Teaching Methodology.

Non-native speakers will be required to complete an online proficiency assessment with the appropriate course coordinator before a decision on their admission status is finalized by the department.

Plan of Study

MA candidates must submit a completed M-1 Plan of Study form to the Graduate School at least one semester before taking their MA examinations.

Funding Through Graduate Instructorships

MA candidates normally receive 4 semesters of financial support from the University while completing their degree. This support will customarily take the form of a graduate instructorship, though it may take the form of either a research or teaching assistantship.

Possible Fifth Semester of Support

In exceptional cases, students in good standing — with no grades of Incomplete and unproblematic teaching — may receive a fifth semester of support, at the discretion of the faculty. Faculty will award a fifth semester of support according to the department’s need for instructors. Students must submit all requests for a fifth semester of support in writing to the director of graduate studies. No student will receive more than five semesters of support.

Normal Teaching Load vs. Course Load

The minimum teaching assignment for MA candidates holding instructorships is 1 course per semester, although there may be an opportunity for two. International students may never teach more than 2 courses per semester owing to visa restrictions. All MA candidates must be registered in a minimum of 6 hours of course work for each semester in which they hold an instructorship. Students may enroll in up to 6 hours per semester of 8080 (Readings) if they have completed all their course work and are preparing for their MA exams.

Annual Review

The faculty and course directors in both major languages meet during the fall and spring semesters to evaluate the teaching and academic performance of all graduate students. The director of graduate studies informs all students in writing of their status at the end of each semester. Students who fail to remove a grade of Incomplete will be limited to teaching one course per semester for as long that grade of Incomplete remains on their academic record.


Students may also elect a minor field of study, which requires a minimum of 9 hours of course work completed in another department or other departments. Students interested in such minors should consult the section titled Plan of Study in the Graduate Catalog. These minor fields appear on students’ plan of study, but not on their transcript. Students electing minors must complete the standard MA examination in their major field of emphasis.

Back to Top


The writing of a thesis is optional. A minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours of 8090 Research will be allowed for the thesis. Students are urged to obtain the Graduate School guidelines for thesis/dissertation writing as the thesis must conform to the Graduate School formatting and style specifications.

Thesis Committee

Students choosing to write a thesis must name a thesis committee consisting of no fewer than three members of the doctoral faculty at the University of Missouri, one of whom should be from a department other than the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

Comprehensive Examination

All candidates for the Master of Arts degree must pass a 6-hour written examination based on the MA reading list. The examination is given twice a year, generally in late October and late March.

The Spanish examination consists of two 3-hour examinations. The first component covers Peninsular Spanish literature from the Middle Ages to the present and the second component covers Spanish American literature from the Colonial period to the present.

At least half the examination must be written in the candidate’s language of specialization.

Grading of the Comprehensive Exam

The MA examination is graded as follows: High Pass, Pass, and Fail. In order to receive a passing grade on any section of the examination, a student must receive passing grades from two thirds of the examining committee. To pass the entire examination, students must receive passing grades on all sections. With permission from the examining committee, students who fail part of the examination may retake only the failed section or sections of the examination. Two failures of the examination, in whole or in part, will terminate candidacy for the degree and result in dismissal from the program.

Back to Top

Admission Criteria

Fall deadline: February 15
Spring deadline: October 15

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in field of major
  • Masters applicants must have a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum TOEFL scores (international applicants):
Internet-based test (iBT) Paper-based test (PBT)
61 Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 80 500 Effective July 1, 2015 must have score of 550

Applicants must also demonstrate adequate preparation in advanced language and literature courses. This will require their having completed at least four courses equivalent to a 4000-level course for masters applicants or a 7000 level course for doctoral applicants at the University of Missouri. At a minimum, three of these courses must be in literature. If the faculty determines a deficiency, they will require that the student complete remedial course work in literature during the first year of enrollment. The director of graduate studies will inform students of these additional requirements at the time of their admission. 

Required Application Materials

To the Graduate School

  • All required Graduate School documents
  • Official Transcript
  • 10-15 page writing sample in language of desired degree program, must be uploaded to the online application
  • 500-word Personal Statement, uploaded to the online application
  • 3 letters of recommendation (submitted through Apply Yourself or mailed to the Romance Languages Department, 143 Arts & Science, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211)
  • Résumé or CV

Choosing an Advisor

All graduate students in the department may choose, or the director of graduate studies will assign them, an academic advisor at the start of their first semester of graduate study. Students must choose an academic advisor by the end of their first semester of graduate study.

Admission Contact Information

143 Arts and Science
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-5039

Back to Top