The Catholic University of America

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M.A. in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

It is our goal that the students graduating from our M.A. program display a solid knowledge of the developments in Hispanic Literature and Culture in both Peninsular Europe and Spanish America. We want our students to be able to place the literary works they study in the historical and cultural context of their time and place of composition and to provide insightful critical analysis of these works. Our M.A. graduates will be familiar with canonical works representing the major areas in the study of Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, and they will be equipped with both the theoretical foundation and the practical tools and experience necessary to pursue positions teaching Spanish at High Schools and Community Colleges. Our M.A. program provides students with the fundamentals required as a prerequisite to pursue doctoral work in the field. The curriculum is also designed to serve as a strong foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in the cultural or social service sector, in government positions, or on the free market.


The normal preparation for graduate work in Spanish is a B.A. degree in the language. Students without such a degree are encouraged to contact the department to see if their academic background qualifies them for admission. International students with undergraduate degrees in fields such as Literature, Cultural Studies, Philology, Linguistics, Humanities and Social Sciences and who are proficient in Spanish are encouraged to apply.

Applications are accepted year round. Online application available at: 

GRE scores are required for all U.S. applicants. International students whose native language is not English should present TOEFL or IELTS scores. GRE scores are required of international students who have obtained B.A. or M.A. degrees in English-speaking countries. Students are selected on the basis of undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) records, GRE, TOEFL or IELTS scores, a Statement of Purpose, 2 confidential letters of recommendation and an academic writing sample in Spanish. The department may schedule interviews to complete the application process.


Tuition scholarship
Highly qualified applicants to the M.A program are considered for a limited number of full or reduced (up to 50%) tuition scholarships. For information on financial aid resources offered by the university please contact the Department Chair:

Teaching Fellowships
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures greatly values the personal nurturing of its graduate students in the form of individual advising, professional mentorship, and financial support. 
A limited number of Teaching Fellowships with an annual stipend of $15,000 are available for the Spanish M.A. program. Graduate Fellows take a course on Principles and Practice of Second Language Teaching and have the opportunity to develop their mastery of the art of teaching under the supervision of faculty skilled in second language acquisition.



  • Colonial and Postcolonial Spanish America
  • Modern and Contemporary Spanish America
  • Modern and Contemporary Peninsular


Our M.A. students complete 30 credits, or 10 courses, during their M.A. coursework.

  • ML 521 Principles and Practice of Second Language Teaching (mandatory for Graduate Fellows)
  • ML 531 Theory and Criticism
  • 2 courses in each of the three areas
  • 2 free elective course*

*This is subject to modification depending on course offerings and in consultation with the DGS; one of the electives may be taken in a different department at CUA.

Directed Reading Courses

The department offers directed reading courses to accommodate the needs of individual students under special circumstances.

Transferring credits

Six semester hours of graduate work earned at another accredited institution within the past 10 years in which a student received grades of B or above, may be applied toward course requirements for the M.A. degree. This credit transfer must be recommended by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair, and approved by the Academic Dean.

Consortium Classes

The Director of Graduate Studies may recommend classes in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. For information on member institutions see:
A student may take a consortium course only for credit and must have the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, Chair, Dean and consortium coordinator.


Upon completion of twenty-four credit hours, the candidate is eligible to take the M.A. comprehensive examination while completing the remainder of his or her coursework. Students need to consult the Director of Graduate Studies to check eligibility and preparation for the exam. 

The comprehensive examinations will be comprised of three exams, one per area of specialization. Graduate Fellows will complete an additional exam with questions on Second Language Teaching.

Reading Lists:
In consultation with a faculty member representing one of the three areas the student selected, and no later than the first week of the semester prior to taking the exams, each student should compile a reading list for the comprehensive examination. This list should be a combination of canonical works in each area and primary and secondary readings selected by the student in consultation with the faculty member. The reading list should present a balance of primary sources as well as selected secondary sources. In addition to the three areas, the student will also select readings for the questions on second language teaching. The final reading list will comprise a total of 25 sources, the majority of which should be primary, for each of the three areas as well as 5 additional readings in the area of Second Language Teaching.

Day 1 9:00 – 12:00 Area 1
2:00 – 5:00 Area 2

Day 2 9:00 – 12:00 Area 3
2:00 – 3:30 Second Language Teaching (only for Teaching Fellows)

*Students will answer two out of three questions in each area exam. The questions for the Teaching Methods area are designed to be answered in the allotted time.