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 their 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 experience 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, and provides students who pursue a terminal M.A. degree the necessary tools and experience to teach Spanish. 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 may 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.


Knights of Columbus Fellowship and Board of Trustees Full-Tuition Scholarship
The most qualified applicants whose application is complete by February 1 may be nominated for the University-wide competition for the Knights of Columbus Fellowship and the prestigious Board of Trustees full-tuition scholarship.

Half- tuition scholarship
Highly qualified applicants to the M.A program with a minimum verbal and quantitative G.R.E. score of 1200 or equivalent are considered for a limited number of half-tuition scholarships.
For information on financial aid resources offered by the university please visit:


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures attaches great importance to the personal nurturing of its students throughout their graduate programs, in the form of individual advising, professional encouragement, and financial support.
A limited number of Teaching Fellowships are available for the Spanish M.A. program. These include waiver of tuition and an annual stipend of $15,000. 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.

Apply online for Teaching Fellowships




  • Renaissance-Golden Age
  • Colonial and Postcolonial
  • Modern and Contemporary Peninsular
  • Modern and Contemporary Spanish America



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

  • ML 521 Principles and Practice of Second Language Teaching
  • ML 531 Theory and Criticism
  • 4 area courses (1 in each of the four areas)
  • 3 area courses (1 in three of the four areas)
  • 1 free elective course*

*For students intending to pursue doctoral work, the free course should be in the area they would focus on in their PhD program. For students seeking terminal degrees, the course may be offered in a department outside MLL with a Hispanic topic (Education, Anthropology, Sociology, etc.), a Linguistics course or an internship.


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 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. 

In their comprehensive examinations, students will be asked to select three of the four areas in which they would like to be tested. The comprehensive examinations will be comprised of three exams that each test one of the areas plus 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, 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 – 3:30 Second Language Teaching

Day 2 9:00 – 12:00 Area 2
2:00 – 5:00 Area 3

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