Department of Modern Languages

The University of Mississippi

M.A. in Modern Languages – Spanish

Master of Arts

An M.A. in Modern Languages with a specialization in Spanish allows students to focus on literature or linguistics and gives graduates a high proficiency in communicative skills and a deep awareness of cultures in the Spanish-speaking world. The degree prepares students for a teaching career at a variety of levels as well as doctoral work in the discipline.

Specialization in Spanish

Spanish students choose either a Linguistics or a Literature focus and read from the matching list to prepare for the comprehensive exams. A student with a Linguistics focus will read the list labeled Linguistics, and a student with the literature focus will read the list called Literature. All students will be examined on both literature and linguistics; it is merely a question of emphasis depending on the focus you choose. The professors who examine you also change according to the focus you choose.


Three options for completing the degree are available, all of which require 36 hours and must include SPAN 672 and 572 as well as two of the following four literature survey courses: SPAN 577, 578, 579, and 580. The three options are as follows: (1) 33 hours of coursework in Spanish including all four literature survey courses (SPAN 577, 578, 579, and 580) and one elective; (2) a minimum of 24 hours of coursework in Spanish and between 6 and 12 hours of coursework in a departmentally approved subfield; or (3) a minimum of 24 hours of coursework in Spanish and between 6 and 12 hours of thesis work. When scheduling comprehensive exams, students must declare emphasis in either literature or linguistics. Students may not both write a thesis and study a subfield.

Students proposing a thesis are expected to decide on a topic and choose a tentative director as soon as possible after beginning Year One of their program so as to present a finished proposal for defense during their second semester of graduate school. The thesis director in consultation with the thesis committee decides the requirements for the proposal and the deadlines for each stage of development. The proposal for a thesis will normally consist of statements: (1) of a research question; (2) of a methodology or approach; (3) of a literature review or the state of the field; (4) describing the preliminary outline of chapters; and (5) of a bibliography.  The minimum length of the thesis proposal will be set by the thesis director. The proposal should be approved by the director of the thesis before being submitted to the whole committee, usually during the second semester a graduate student is in attendance. Students are encouraged to download the Graduate School’s style instructions for a thesis from the very beginning of the process and use them for the proposal as well.

Once a defense is scheduled, the thesis director will notify the graduate program coordinator (in advance of the proposal defense) of the date, time, and place, and afterward, of the result. The defense should be held in person, but under certain circumstances (study abroad, for example), it may occur by email or audio/video technology. It is important that the student receive comments from the whole committee at this stage of development. Following a successful proposal defense, the proposal will be placed in the student’s file by the thesis director. The thesis proposal committee normally will also be the committee for a student’s exams for graduation. Adjustments to the committee may be made as necessary, up to two months before the end of the exam process, the date by which the graduate school must be notified by the graduate program coordinator of the members of the comprehensive exam committee or thesis defense committee.

Reading List

For Spanish graduate students, those beginning in the Fall of 2013 and after must use the following lists, and must read both literature and linguistics, but how many texts depends on their choice of literature or linguistics:

Spanish MA linguistics list for both literature and linguistics students

Spanish MA literature list for literature students

Spanish MA literature list for linguistics students

Spanish graduate students beginning before the Fall of 2013 may choose these lists instead:

Spanish MA list for linguistics track

Spanish MA list for linguistics track

Courses offered