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Spanish and Portuguese Degrees

M.A. Examination

A general examination over the literature of Spain and Latin America, partly written and partly oral. The written section is six hours long and is based on the M.A. reading list. Copies of this list are available above. The oral section is normally a one-hour examination of a more general nature, covering the reading list and course work. The oral examination will serve as a general assessment of how well the student can articulate ideas clearly and as a reading list check when necessary.

The M.A. examination is given once each semester at a date fixed by the department and is administered and graded by the M.A. Examination Committee.

The written examinations will be administered over a two-day period. The exams will be divided into four areas with one and a half hours allocated for each category:

  • Medieval and Early Modern
  • 19th, 20th, and 21st Centuries Spain.
  • Colonial through Modernismo in Spanish America.
  • 20th and 21st Centuries Spanish America.

Generally, the faculty who write the exam in the different areas will read the exam. These two readers per exam area should come to an agreement about the results of the written portion of the exam in their area; if these readers cannot come to an agreement the Chair of the Graduate Studies will assign a third reader. These results will be communicated to the Chair of the Graduate Studies and to the student's advisors. If the student passes the written section, the advisor will schedule and chair the oral.

Those who do not pass one section of the written exam may retake that section before the end of the current semester, but no later than the end of the following semester. Those who do not pass two or more sections of the exam will typically retake the entire exam the following semester. However, under extenuating circumstances, students may consult with their advisors and petition the Graduate Studies Committee for a different retake arrangement. The oral section is usually given by two members of the department and is chaired by the student's advisor.

Should the student fail the oral section, the committee will decide what kind of remedial work may be necessary before the student may repeat the oral exam. This remedial work may include repeating the oral exam, writing a research paper under the supervision of a faculty member in the weak area, and/or requiring the student to take a particular class.

The exam or any section of the exam may be taken only three times. M.A. examinations are not given during the summer session. Students will sign-up to take the M.A. exam by the deadline designated each semester. After that date, withdrawal from the exam will constitute a failed exam. Petitions for exceptions in extenuating circumstances may be presented to the Graduate Studies Committee with the endorsement of the student's advisor. Unless a student has received Graduate Studies Committee's approval for an exception, exams will normally be repeated in consecutive semesters following the first attempt.


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The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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