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Graduate Program

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 examination will serve as an assessment of the student's critical thinking as well as his/her familiarity with and understanding of the texts contained in the reading list. 

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.

Students have the possibility of opting out of one of the four areas of the M.A. examination provided that they take at least two courses in that area and pass the course with a grade of B or above. They will have to present a formal request to opt out of an area to the director of Graduate Studies (via e-mail) by the last week of classes of the semester prior to taking the exams.

If the student selects this "opt out" option, s/he will have to enroll in 18 credit hours per year (3 courses per semester). 

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 chaired by the student's advisor and will normally take place within a week of receiving the results of the written exams. The oral section is a one-hour examination that includes review of the written exam, and also a conversation about the student's experience in the program and professional development. 

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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