Spanish (MA)

Master of Arts in Spanish
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Classical and Modern Languages
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): SPANMA, SPANMA_ACC

Program Information

The Master of Arts in Spanish at the University of Louisville offers broad-based coverage of fields in Hispanic studies, including literary/cultural studies, Spanish linguistics, and translation/interpretation. Through a combination of core courses taught exclusively in Spanish, electives taken either in Spanish or in contiguous programs of study, and faculty-directed research, students develop mastery in one of these fields, preparing themselves for increased cultural competence in the global workplace; more effective service to the Hispanic community; and/or greater competitiveness in doctoral programs in Hispanic studies or Spanish linguistics.

The Spanish MA also serves current primary and secondary school teachers of Spanish seeking to deepen their knowledge of the discipline.

Study abroad opportunities are available and may be supported by one of several departmental travel grants.

Degree Summary

Core Coursework24
Minimum Total Hours30

Accelerated BA/MA in Spanish

The combined BA/MA program is an accelerated option for motivated and highly prepared undergraduates at the University of Louisville who wish to prepare themselves for the global economy, a multicultural community, and a changing workplace through the study of language, culture, linguistics, translation, and interpreting. Students admitted to the program may apply up to nine (9) credit hours of graduate coursework towards both the BA in Spanish and the MA in Spanish. After completing the undergraduate program and receiving the BA, the student will enter the graduate program and complete the remaining requirements for the MA.

To be considered for admission to the accelerated program, students must:

  • Have a minimum overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.35.
  • Complete a graduate application for admission to the Spanish BA/MA (including two letters of evaluation) no later than the end of the junior year.

Full details are available on the program website.

Admission Requirements

A prerequisite for admission to the Spanish MA is advanced proficiency in Spanish (speaking, aural comprehension, reading, and writing) and significant previous study of the Spanish language and Hispanic literature and cultures. Applicants who do not hold a BA in Spanish or the equivalent by their intended start date may be required to take remedial coursework to make up for any deficiencies.

Applications are considered throughout the academic year for admission in fall, spring, or summer, although priority will be given to applications received at least six weeks prior to the intended start date. The Director of Graduate Studies in Spanish reviews applications and, in consultation with the Spanish graduate faculty, makes all admission decisions. In rare cases, applicants may be admitted on a conditional basis even though application materials are incomplete.

The complete application includes:

  • Graduate School application and application fee.
  • Transcripts from all accredited institutions where undergraduate and/or graduate credit was earned (submitted directly to the Graduate School by the institution). Minimum GPA required for undergraduate work: 3.0 on a four-point scale.
  • Two letters of evaluation (submitted directly to the Graduate School by the evaluators). Detailed comments should accompany the evaluation form and address specifically the applicant’s proficiency in both Spanish and English, preparation in Hispanic studies, and potential to do graduate work.
  • A personal statement of 400-500 words, written in Spanish, discussing how the MA in Spanish relates to the applicant’s professional or personal goals.
  • A sample of academic writing of at least five pages, preferably a research paper written as part of the requirements for a university-level course. (May be in English or Spanish.)
  • TOEFL scores (for applicants for whom English is a second language).
    Minimum required: 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 213 or higher on the computer-based test, or 550 or higher on the paper-based test (applicants holding a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States are exempt from this requirement).

NOTE: While submission of GRE scores is not required for admission to the Spanish MA program, it is strongly recommended for applicants who wish to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship or other university-awarded fellowship.

All application materials should be submitted to:

Graduate School
Graduate Admissions
Houchens Building, Suite 105
Louisville, KY 40292

or submitted via the online application at

Admission in Non-degree Status

Applicants who do not seek the Spanish MA but wish to take graduate course work in Spanish may apply for admission in non-degree status. Application credentials must include the application form, application fee, and an official transcript showing the award of a baccalaureate degree. Should a non-degree student be admitted at a later date into the degree program, up to nine (9) credit hours of coursework taken in non-degree status may be applied to the degree with departmental approval. No more than 15 credit hours may be accumulated while in non-degree status.

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate teaching assistantships most often take the form of a one-year appointment awarded to students just beginning the Spanish MA program (renewable for a second year if the student remains in good standing). GTAs are expected to perform a variety of duties (including teaching) in conjunction with a full-time load of nine (9) credit hours per semester, completing their degree at the end of their second year.

Exceptionally, the program awards one-year assistantships to current Spanish MA students who will have completed 18 credit hours of graduate credit by the start date of the appointment. Such GTAs are assigned immediately to teach basic language and are expected to complete their degree by the end of the appointment year.

Competition for graduate teaching assistantships takes place in the spring, with appointments beginning in fall of the next academic year. Applicants to the Spanish MA who wish to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship must submit an enhanced application for admission following the specific instructions posted on the program website. For full consideration, all application materials must be submitted by February 28.

Program Requirements

The MA in Spanish requires 30 credit hours of academic coursework at the graduate level, of which at least 18 credit hours must be taken at the 600-level. Upon approval of the Director of Graduate Studies, up to six (6) credit hours of graduate-level coursework taken at another institution or through an accredited study abroad program may be applied toward the degree.

Students must take SPAN 611 Introduction to Methods and Research in Hispanic Studies within the first year of their admission to the program.

In their final semester, all students are required to complete a Directed Research Project under the direction of a faculty mentor and present their findings in a public forum.

Required Coursework

SPAN 524Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics3
SPAN 554Hispanic Culture through Film and Media3
SPAN 611Introduction to Methods and Research in Hispanic Studies3
SPAN 624Special Topics in Hispanic Linguistics3
SPAN 634Spanish for the Workplace and the Community3
SPAN 644Approaches to Hispanic Literature3
SPAN 648Hispanic Cultural Studies3
SPAN 661Foundations of Translation and Interpreting3
Select two electives in Spanish or in contingent fields (with Director of Graduate Studies' approval)6
Directed Research Project (completed in final semester)
Minimum Total Hours30

Students enrolled in the Spanish MA program may count up to 12 credit hours of coursework for the Translation and Interpreting certificate program toward their MA degree requirements.