Spanish logo
MA page

Master of Arts in Spanish

This information is intended for prospective graduate students and students who are already in the graduate program. All students pursuing the Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages with a concentration in Spanish should read this document in its entirety. If further information is needed or if any of the aspects described in this document requires clarification, the student should immediately make an appointment to speak with the Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Dr. Burgos.


The student is also expected to be aware of the academic regulations described in the Graduate Catalog. Prospective graduate students should also familiarize themselves with the material contained herein, for it will provide an overview of the program along with information about what is expected of the student, stipends available, and course offerings. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to meet the Spanish graduate faculty and the Spanish graduate students, to visit undergraduate and graduate classes, and to contact the Coordinator of Graduate Studies to arrange a personal interview.


The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures offers a program leading to the Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages with a concentration in Spanish.  The MA program prepares students in the areas of literature, culture, education, grammar, and linguistics and is oriented toward the preparation of students who may be interested in teaching in public and private elementary and secondary education, teaching as a part-time or full-time instructor at the college level, enhancing the student's skills for a career in law or business as well as in government agencies, pursuing a PhD in the field of concentration often at highly-ranked universities.   All graduate students must comply with the general requirements of the Graduate School (see Admissions Regulations, Academic Regulations, and Minimum Degree Requirements) as well as the program requirements of the degree being pursued. 


A student entering the program will be assigned a major advisor, usually the graduate coordinator for Spanish, Dr. Burgos. This advisor is to be consulted in all matters concerning the student’s program of study. It is the student’s responsibility to familiarize himself/herself with the detailed online description of the program concerning requirements, policies, and procedures including--but not limited to--the reading list, coursework requirements, course descriptions, comprehensive examination procedures, reading knowledge of a second language, independent studies, language proficiency, grade point average requirements, time limitation, academic misconduct policies, and other issues. It is also the student's responsibility to consult with his/her graduate coordinator and/or the chair for further clarification.


The application deadline for the spring is November 1.  The application deadline for the fall is February 15.  However, prospective students who are also applying for a graduate assistantship are strongly encouraged to apply much earlier than the indicated deadlines since these awards are very competitive.


A. Program Prerequisites 
1. The applicant must provide an official transcript showing that a bachelor's degree was awarded by an accredited college or university. Official transcripts should be sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
2.  A minimum of a 3.0 quality point average on a scale of 4.0. Students with less than a 3.0 quality point average may be admitted with the approval of the Department Chair and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.
3.  A minimum of 24 upper-division semester hours or the equivalent in Spanish. Examples of an equivalent preparation in Spanish include having native or near-native proficiency, university studies in a Spanish-speaking country, etc.
4.  A reasonable proficiency in the language of concentration, to be determined by the Department prior to admission.  In particular, an oral interview in Spanish is required. The applicant must contact the coordinator in Spanish early in the admission process to make arrangements for the interview.
5.  A writing sample in Spanish must be submitted to the respective coordinator. This documentation is intended to demonstrate the student's adequate command of writing skills in his/her field of concentration.
6.  A letter of intent explaining the applicant's motivation and objectives in pursuing a graduate degree in Spanish.
7.  Two letters of recommendation from professors who have taught the applicant.
8.  A 3.0 GPA for upper-division courses in the field. A GPA below 3.0 requires the approval of the Department Chair and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.
9.  International students, i.e. applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign university, must have their credentials evaluated. The university will accept evaluations done by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services web site The course-by course report is required. International students must therefore:

  1. score a minimum of 94 on the web-based TOEFL, and a minimum of 26 on the speaking portion of the same exam;
  2. convert their educational credentials–grades and diploma—into their US equivalents with an appropriate agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation services;
  3. Ask the same agency to submit the official transcript and diploma along with their respective conversion and translation to Graduate Admissions, University of Memphis.


B. Program Requirements

  1. A total of thirty-three (33) semester hours.
  2. Students interested in taking collateral hours — i. e. coursework in another discipline or department which is related to the field of concentration— will need to consult with the coordinator to see if these hours are available in their concentration and if they are eligible. At least 23 hours must be taken in 7000-level courses (eight [8] courses in all).
  3. Satisfactory completion of minimum standards for eligibility to take the comprehensive exams. Students in the program must seek advice from the coordinator to determine that the coursework they carry fulfills these minimum standards.
  4. A reading knowledge of a foreign language other than that of the concentration. This may be demonstrated in the following ways:
    1. achieving a grade of B (3.0) or higher in a fourth-semester language course (e.g. FREN/GERM/ITAL 2020 or equivalent),
    2. achieving a grade of B (3.0) or higher in a graduate reading course (FREN 7000 and GERM 7000 are the only two courses available for this option.  They are usually offered in the summer.  Or,
    3. achieving a grade of B (3.0) or higher in an upper-division course at the 3000 or 4000 level (e.g. FREN 3302, GERM 3790, ITAL 3311, PORT 3301),
    4. achieving a grade of B (3.0) or higher in a graduate course taught in the target language at the 6000 or 7000 level (e.g. FREN 6302, PORT 6024).
    5. Providing evidence of knowledge of a foreign language other than that of the concentration equivalent to a fourth-semester language course or superior, and passing written test to prove competency, with approval of the section head of the specific language.
  1. A comprehensive written and oral examination after completion of 33 hours and fulfillment of the reading knowledge requirement. These examinations will be conducted in the language of the concentration. For a full description of the comprehensive examination procedures see the corresponding section below.



SPAN 6306 - Applied Spanish Linguistics (3) Current research in linguistics, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics and their contribution to second language teaching and second language learning.

SPAN 6307 - Advanced Grammar/Writing (3) Special problems in Spanish grammar pertaining to the preterite and the imperfect, "ser" and "estar," special verb constructions, the subjunctive, and the definite and indefinite articles; also emphasizes writing styles, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. Strongly recommended for MA students who have not taken this course at the undergraduate level. Since this is a 4000/6000 level course it cannot count twice toward graduation.

SPAN 6308 - Advanced Grammar/Speech (3) Special problems in Spanish grammar pertaining to prepositions, placement of descriptive adjectives, passive voice, reflexive substitute, past participle in absolute constructions, and reflexive pronouns; also emphasizes speech production, vocabulary, and idiomatic expressions. Strongly recommended for MA students who have not taken this course at the undergraduate level. Since this is a 4000/6000 level course it cannot count twice toward graduation.

SPAN 6410 - Spanish Literature/Civilization (3) Survey of literary movements and major figures with readings in literature and civilization. Strongly recommended for MA students who have not taken this course at the undergraduate level. Since this is a 4000/6000 level course it cannot count twice toward graduation.

SPAN 6510 - Spanish Amer Literature/Civilization (3) Survey of literary movements and major figures with readings in literature and civilization. Strongly recommended for MA students who have not taken this course at the undergraduate level. Since this is a 4000/6000 level course it cannot count twice toward graduation.

SPAN 6563 - Hispanic Literary Genres (3) Study of literary genres with concentration on Hispanic literature; selections from origins to present time; emphasis on textual analysis. Strongly recommended for MA students who have not taken this course at the undergraduate level. It is necessary to clarify that students taking this course are not taking it twice since it will not count toward graduation.

SPAN 7101 - Intro Hispanic Culture/Business (3) Hispanic community and family, customs, geography, demography of Spain and Spanish America; United States business in Latin America and Hispanic business in the United States. Course is conducted in Spanish. Open only to students admitted to International MBA program. PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of proficiency examination.

SPAN 7102 - Comm Hispanic World (3) Hispanic markets and techniques of penetrating them; international advertising, import-export and economic review of Hispanic nations; history and circumstances of the Hispanic corporate world. Course is conducted in Spanish. Open only to students admitted to International MBA program. PREREQUISITE: SPAN 7101 or equivalent.

SPAN 7103 - Span Comm/Corresp Doc I (3) Various letters and documents for conducting business among Hispanic nations. Conducted in Spanish. PREREQUISITE: SPAN 7102 or equivalent.

SPAN 7201 - Workshop Spanish Language (3) Idiomatic construction, word formation, culturally connotated vocabulary and modern style techniques through intensive text analysis and writing. RECOMMENDED: SPAN 6302.

SPAN 7301 - Spanish Phonology (3) Principles of analysis of the sound system of human language; general sound system (phonetics) of Spanish; and phonemic contrastive analysis of sound systems of Spanish and English.

SPAN 7302 - Spanish Syntax & Semantics (3) Spanish syntax and compositional semantics: constituent structure, syntactic categories and grammatical relations, prepositional semantics, quantification, modality, and tense.

SPAN 7304 - Evolution Of Spanish (3) General history of the Spanish language based on political and cultural history of Spain and Spanish America; history of sound system, grammatical structures, word borrowings, and changes in meaning.

SPAN 7305 - Spanish American Dialectology (3) Fundamental notions of language variation, regional and social varieties, stylistic varieties and linguistic demography of general features of Latin American Spanish with respect to phonology, morphosyntax, and semantics.

SPAN 7420 - Medieval Span Literature (3) Reading of Old Spanish; Medieval Spanish literature from Mozarabic lyric through La Celestina.

SPAN 7421 - The Golden Age (3) Don Quixote and other classic works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

SPAN 7430 - 18th/19th Century Spanish Literature (3) Romantic and post-romantic poetry and drama; costumbrismo and rise of regional novel, realistic novel, and naturalistic novel.

SPAN 7431 - 20th Cenury Peninsular Literature (3) A look at different aspects of the literary culture of this century through various genres (poetry, novel, theatre and film). Special attention dedicated to Modernism, the Civil War, Literature during the Franco years and Postmodernism.

SPAN 7451 - Studies Spanish Culture (3) Literary history of Spanish autonomous regions as viewed through important writers; emphasis on regional dialects, character, economy, and culture; readings and discussions in Spanish. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours. RECOMMENDED: SPAN 6410.

SPAN 7452 - 19th-20th Century Hispanic Culture/Literature (3) Literary developments and major cultural events affecting Spain and Latin America, including issues pertaining to the question of national identity, modernismo, the Generation of 1898, the narrative of the Mexican revolution, and Hispanic avant-garde artistic movements.

SPAN 7453 - Studies Latin American Culture (3) Literary survey of social issues that affect perceptions of Latin America, its peculiar problems and its social upheaval; readings and discussions in Spanish. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit hours. RECOMMENDED: SPAN 6510.

SPAN 7532 - Spanish American Drama (3) Development of the drama in Spanish America, with an emphasis on the twentieth century. PREREQUISITES: Permission of instructor.

SPAN 7561 - Pre-Contemporary Spanish American Prose (3) Evolution of the Spanish American novel and short story from their beginnings through early twentieth century.

SPAN 7562 - Contemporary Spanish American Prose Fiction(3) Representative Spanish American novels and short stories of the twentieth century since 1940.

SPAN 7591 - Seminar Spanish American Literature (3) Topics in Spanish American literature designed to be of special interest for the advanced graduate student. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit hours.

SPAN 7691 - Research in Hispanic Studies (1-6) May be repeated for credit toward the concentration in Spanish up to 12 hours.

SPAN 7692 – Research in Literature and Culture (3-6) Directed readings in the field.  Several reports and a research paper will be required.  May be repeated for credit toward the concentration in Spanish up to 9 hours.

SPAN 7790 - Spanish for LSP and Civic Engagement (3)  This course presents a multicultural approach to the teaching of Spanish for Specific Purposes (SPP) and civic engagement. We will discuss/study the effects of multiculturalism on the communication practices of the professional setting as well as theoretical and experimental research in Languages for Specialized Purposes (LSP). In addition, we will analyze new insights into the adoption of culturally oriented perspectives in LSP, communication and comprehensive approaches to the discourse of professional, domain-specific communities, and communication practices and procedures operating in those communities. Finally, we will become familiar with how to design a teaching portfolio focusing on Spanish for specific purposes and civic engagement. This course has been designed for traditional as well as non-traditional students.



LALI 6441 - Dante (3) Vita Nuova and Divina Commedia; presented in English.

LALI 6493 - Contemporary French Literature (3) Emphasis on widely translated, well-known works by major French writers; presented in English translation.

LALI 6890 - Literary Criticism (3) Study of the history and theory of literary criticism as exemplified by texts selected from various literary traditions. PREREQUISITE: Six hours of coursework in a foreign language at the 3000 level or above.

LALI 7780 - Individual Studies in Business Language (1-3) Directed individual study in selected areas of language and culture chosen in consultation with instructor. May be repeated for a maximum of 10 credit hours. PREREQUISITE: Permission of instructor.



LING 7101 - Intro To Linguistics I (3) Nature of language; history of linguistic theory; morphology and syntax, concentrating on languages other than English.

LING 7174 - Spec Method/Lang Ed (3) (Same as ICL 7174). Examines theoretical and practical issues relating to teaching of foreign languages K-12 through lectures, reading of current literature, class discussion, guest speakers, etc.; explores role of context in comprehension and learning, listening, reading, oral proficiency, writing, testing, culture, and curriculum.

LING 7201 - Intro To Linguistics II (3) Principles and applications of phonology, with major emphasis on languages other than English; historical linguistics, concentrating on Romance and other language families; psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, semantics.



PORT 6024 - Brazilian Short Story (3)  Accelerated introduction to Portuguese for graduate students with a solid command of Spanish; provides an introduction to Brazilian contemporary literature and focuses on Portuguese grammar, emphasizing the differences between Spanish and Portuguese. This course fulfills the language reading knowledge requirement.




1. Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Teaching Assistantships carry a stipend of $7,000 per academic year and covers the cost of tuition for the entire program.  This award is offered on a competitive basis.  Students interested in obtaining a teaching assistantship must be officially admitted into the MA program in Romance Languages.  Part-time students or students who have a full-time job or any other activities that may interfere with their academic responsibilities are not eligible for these assistantships.  There is no stipend for the summer. Graduate students who obtain a graduate assistantship are usually supported for two academic years provided their academic and teaching performance are satisfactory. GA’s may also request to teach courses in the summer provided their academic and teaching performance are satisfactory. Summer courses cannot be assigned or guaranteed in advance since they are offered according to enrollment figures. In previous years our graduate assistants have generally been assigned courses, especially in the second summer session. This additional source of income may increase significantly the total amount of the stipend.

In addition to satisfying all the previous requirements set by the Graduate School and the Department, students interested in obtaining a teaching assistantship should submit a letter of intent, addressed to Dr. Will Thompson, Chairman, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures with a copy to Dr. Fernando Burgos, Coordinator of Graduate Studies. Prospective candidates will be interviewed by the Spanish faculty to determine their command of the language. Candidates are also interviewed by the Chairman of the Department. 


2. Duties and Responsibilities of Teaching Assistants

Each semester TA's must register for a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of graduate work chosen from courses taught in the Department of Foreign Languages unless an exception is approved by the coordinator. All courses must be approved by the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. The maximum number of hours is 12.  However, students must be careful in deciding to take 12 hours.  A student who decides to take 12 hours is expected to keep this number of hours for the semester rather than dropping a course at the beginning of the semester.

Graduate Assistants are not permitted to teach during their first and second semester unless they have eighteen (18) credit hours of graduate work in Spanish, teaching experience in the field, and the approval of the graduate coordinator. Graduate Assistants will receive training in the teaching of lower-division courses. The training requires a total of 20 hours per week for two semesters. As part of this training, they will be required to visit classes taught by the faculty, and make an oral and written report to the Supervisor of Graduate Assistants as well as to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies. [Please refer to specific guidelines regarding class visitation]. TA's will also assist Spanish faculty with the teaching of upper-division courses for six hours per week. TA’s may also be required to perform other functions such as assisting instructors in the teaching of lower-division courses.  All of the aforementioned activities constitute a significant part of the graduate assistant training. Starting with their third semester TA's will teach two courses per semester. At this point graduate assistants become instructors of record and the total number of hours related to teaching is 20 per week, which includes actual teaching of 2 courses, class preparation, office hours, participation in online and on-campus workshops, and meetings with the TA supervisor.

TA's will be monitored every semester by the TA Supervisor. This supervision will include weekly meetings, seminars and class visitations. The TA Supervisor and the Coordinator of Graduate Studies will also determine the teaching schedule of each TA.

All TA's who are assigned to teach courses or to assist in the teaching of courses are required to hold office hours (three [3] hours per week) and to post them at the appropriate place.
Non-native English speakers must pass the SPEAK test or score 26 (or higher) on the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT before they can be appointed as teaching assistants. For further information you can visit

 3. Visitation guidelines for in-training graduate assistants

Graduate Assistants (GA’s) who are in the in-training teaching observation period must perform a series of visitations during the semester to satisfy the requirements of their position. The following guidelines may be adjusted and/or changed, in which case you will be informed by the supervisor.


By week 4 of the semester the GA who is not teaching will submit to the Spanish Language Supervisor the appropriate number of Class Visitation Reports, proving that he or she has successfully visited 14 classes. Nine of these visits will be of Spanish faculty or instructors. Five (5) of the 14 visits will be of faculty or instructors in a Foreign Language other than Spanish. No particular instructor in any language shall be visited more than once during this period.

From week 5 to week 8 of the semester the GA who is not teaching will submit to the Spanish Language Coordinator  11 new Class Visitation Reports, proving that he or she has successfully visited 11 classes. No particular instructor shall be visited more than once during this period.

In week 9 of the semester, the GA will perform a teaching demonstration, in consultation with the Supervisor. During such event, he or she will teach a class following a plan. The GA’s teaching performance will be used to consider if he or she is prepared to teach without direct supervision.

Although these are the minimum requirements, it is encouraged that GA’s visit as many other classes as possible.

These regulations apply to all GA’s who are not teaching a class even if such visits have already been performed during a previous semester. Failure to comply with the reports by the required dates will be considered as evidence of non-compliance with their responsibilities as Graduate Assistants.


Assisting instructors in the teaching of lower-division courses during the first two semesters is also a significant aspect of the GA training.  All graduate assistants are required to have the 20 hours of training per week, which will include aspects such as class observation, participation in workshops, preparation of mini-classes and full classes, assisting faculty in the teaching of upper-division courses, and assisting instructors in the teaching of lower-division courses.

4. Reappointment of Teaching Assistants

Graduate Teaching Assistantships are normally granted for four semesters. Appointments beyond the fourth semester are contingent upon the number of positions and funds available in the Department of Foreign Languages. In order to be reappointed, a graduate teaching assistant must:

  1. Show good academic performance. A minimum 3.0 GPA each semester must be maintained in order to retain your assistantship.
  2. Demonstrate a pedagogical competency meeting the requirements of the TA Supervisor. During their first and second semesters, TA's must comply with the required class visitation as stated in the specific guidelines, submit an oral and written report to the TA Supervisor and Graduate Coordinator, participation in online and campus workshops, and assist in the teaching of lower- and upper-division courses.

c.   Give evidence of an improved proficiency in Spanish.


5. Reading List

In addition to the course work, candidates are provided with a reading list, which is found at the end of this document. This particular reading list serves as a guide and a general orientation only.  However, the emphasis is on the actual reading list discussed in each class.


6. Language Proficiency

All graduate students must demonstrate proficiency in Spanish. Deficiencies must be corrected. Lack of proficiency in Spanish can and will be used as a basis for termination of the student’s graduate assistantship.

7. Reading Knowledge of a Second Language

All candidates shall acquire a reading knowledge of a foreign language other than that of the concentration. (See #4 under the section "Program Requirements" in this document). In the case of international students, English will not be accepted to satisfy this requirement.


8. Independent Studies

An independent study is a planned activity, under the direct supervision of faculty, involving a project not covered in any other format in the Department. Independent studies must not be taken in lieu of other courses being offered.  Independent study courses should only be approved in extraordinary situations.   Furthermore, independent study courses depend on the willingness and/or availability of faculty members.


9. Minimum Coursework Requirements for the MA Program in Spanish

3 courses in Peninsular literature
3 courses in Latin American literature
1 course in Spanish Linguistics
1 course Optional (any one of the above)

Each of these courses carries 3 credit hours. They must be taken in the Department of Foreign Languages (unless an exception was approved by the graduate coordinator) and they must be at the 7000-level. This is minimum coursework without which the student is not eligible to take the comprehensive exams.

There are also additional requirements for eligibility. The listing above corresponds to what is usually referred to as a combination of:

This minimum coursework gives you 24 hours of graduate work. The rest of the courses to reach the minimum of 33 may be (these are only suggestions):

1.         SPAN 6563 - Spanish Lit Genres (3), unless this course was taken at the undergraduate level (4563)
2.         PORT 6024 Introduction to Brazilian Short Stories (3), unless this course was taken at the undergraduate level (4024)
3.         Additional 7000-level courses in SPAN Linguistics
4.         Additional 7000-level courses in Spanish literature or Spanish –American literature
In regard to 4000/6000 level courses. Students who have already taken a combination 4000/6000 level as an undergraduate student or whose topic is determined to have already been covered as an undergraduate student (although the title may be different) WILL NOT be able to count these courses (if taken at the 6000 level) for graduation. 


10. Comprehensive Examinations

Before being recommended for graduation, every candidate for the Master’s degree is required to pass a final written and oral comprehensive examination. Eligibility to take the comprehensive exams includes the following:
1.         The student must have already completed a minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours of graduate work including the minimum required coursework: 3-3-2/ 4-3-1 / 3-4/1 which is a combination of Spanish Literature, Spanish American Literature and Linguistic courses. All of these courses must be taken in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (unless permissions was granted by the graduate coordinator) and must be at the 7000-level.
2.         At least twenty-three (23) hours must be taken in 7000-level courses (eight [8] courses in all). Only three courses at the 6000 level will count toward the degree.
3.         The reading knowledge requirement must be satisfied prior to the comprehensive exams. A reading knowledge of a foreign language other than that of the concentration is required of all students in order to graduate. This is explained under the Program Requirements.
4.         The student must have at least a 3.0 average in all graduate work.

It is the student's responsibility to confer with the Coordinator one semester prior to the examination date regarding the time and place of this examination. At that time, the candidates should also arrange individual meetings with the professors of Peninsular literature, Latin American Literature and Linguistics to discuss material to be included in the comprehensive exams.

The comprehensive written and oral examinations will be conducted in Spanish. All exams are proctored by a faculty member or by personnel designated by the Coordinator. After the written exam candidates are required to take an oral examination which may include questions related to the written part (further analysis, clarification of points, etc.) as well as questions related to the reading list and/or content of the courses or any other material indicated by each member of the examining committee which may not have been included in the written exam.

In order to obtain a passing grade on the comprehensives, the candidate must pass the areas covered by these exams with a grade of B or better (80-100). A student who does not perform satisfactorily on the first comprehensive examination will be given an opportunity to retake the areas that he/she has failed when the exams are offered again. The Spanish faculty will recommend relevant coursework which the student may elect to take in preparation for retaking the exam. If the student's performance is unsatisfactory on the second examination, he/she will be dropped from the program.

The oral and written comprehensive exams are mandatory for all the students in the program.

After the administration of both the written and oral exams, the chair of the examining committee will ask each faculty member participating in these exams to sign the Comprehensive Examination Results Form which will be submitted to the Graduate School within a week. This form will indicate if the student passed or failed the comprehensive exams. 



1.         All students will take the exams during the same period of time.
2.         Exams will be administered by a faculty member or designated personnel.
3.         Written and oral exams are always in Spanish.
4.         Students must finish the exam within the allotted time. Missing any of these exams --including the oral-- will subject the student to a failing grade.
5.         The student can use a dictionary (Spanish-Spanish or Spanish-English). Notes, books or any other materials are not permitted and their usage will subject the student to a failing grade.
6.         Students who decide to postpone the date of the comprehensive exams should inform the Graduate Coordinator the semester they are completing their coursework. When the student decides to postpone the exam date, he/she will need to arrange with the Coordinator to schedule a new date. The new scheduled date will fall within the policy according to which comprehensive exams are given twice a year. Therefore, the student needs to be very careful when postponing these exams because he/she will have to wait an entire academic semester or more to retake them.
7.         Eligibility to take the comprehensive exams includes: a) 33 hours in the field; b) passing the Reading Knowledge requirement.
8.         The written and oral comprehensive exams may include the following sections in the areas of Spanish and Spanish American literature. These are only guidelines. It is mandatory to consult with each faculty member who is participating in the exam. The comprehensive exam in Linguistics, for instance, may have a totally different format.
a.         Questions requiring that the student identify literary works from the reading list and/or from the course work. The student should always consult with the corresponding faculty member to agree on a final reading list in each particular area.
b.         Questions that require specific knowledge regarding the content of the courses.
c.         Questions that require analysis and interpretation of literary works. This would usually be an essay intended to demonstrate the student's ability to analyze literary works at a level corresponding to the critical thinking required of graduate students. 

Each section must be allotted a certain percentage. The following percentages are recommended:

Part a: 20-30%

Part b: 20-30%

Part c: 40-60%

12. Additional Information regarding the Comprehensive Exams

The student will have three written and oral exams 1) Spanish Literature; 2) Spanish American Literature; and 3) Linguistics.* 

The student will have a written and an oral exam in each of these subjects that they will take the same day. For the written exam the student has a maximum of two and a half hours, but it may only be two hours.





Spanish American



Written Exam  1:00 pm- 3:30 pm 1:00-3:30 1:00-3:30pm**
Break  3:30 pm -4:30 pm 3:30 -4:30pm 3:30-4:30 pm
Oral Exam  4:30 pm- 6:00 pm 4:30-6:00 pm 4:30-6:00 pm 

Each of these written exams may have questions from all of the different professors and their specified area, or only some of them. In any case, you should be well prepared and know all of the material covered by each of the professors. In the oral exams from each subject- except Linguistics- a minimum of two professors will participate, but all of the professors of the subject may be there even if they have not participated in any of the questions for the written exams.  In the oral exams of each subject there may be questions or comments about the questions from the written exam, or questions from professors who did not participate in the written exam.
**Depending on the courses that the student has taken in Linguistics, the exam duration time may vary from one hour to one and a half hours to two hours to two and a half hours at the maximum.

The content of the exams may refer to any of the following situations:
a) The material of the course or courses from the professor with whom the student took the class
b) New readings or materials- essays, for example- that the professor determines relevant in relation to a specific class
c) A combination of the course material with the new lectures  or materials that the professor determines relevant in relation to a specific class
The student must have an interview with each professor who will test the student to determine which of the situations mentioned will correspond to the student. This may be different with each professor that may participate. The responsibility of scheduling the interview relies on the student and is not the responsibility of the professor.


 13. Graduation

 In order to graduate, students are required to submit to the Graduate School the following:

  1. Intent to Graduate Card
  2. Master’s Degree Candidacy Form

Students are responsible for submitting both forms and making sure to comply with the deadlines. The Coordinator of the program and/or faculty members are not responsible for informing the students about the deadlines or for filling out these forms. In the case of the Master’s Candidacy Form, students need to secure each of the required approvals and signatures requested on the form.


14. Time Limitation

All requirements for the degree must be completed in six calendar years. Courses more than six years old will not be allowed as credit toward the Master's degree. There are no exceptions to this policy. However, students may request the option of validating old courses as described in the catalog under the section "Course Validations." It should be noted that even though validation of old courses is provided as an option, this procedure is very restricted and subject to several regulations. 


15. Grade Point Average (GPA)

Graduate students must maintain a 3.00 GPA (the equivalent of a "B"). A grade below "C" will not apply toward any graduate degree, but will be computed in the GPA. No more than seven (7) hours of "C" will be applied towards meeting degree requirements. Grades of “D” and “F” will not apply toward any graduate degree, but will be computed in the GPA. Grades earned at another university will not be computed in the cumulative GPA. A graduate student whose cumulative grade point average drops below 3.00 will be placed on probation. A second consecutive semester on probation can result in suspension.


16. Academic Misconduct

Graduate students at The University of Memphis are expected to observe the regulations and policies that govern the behavior of students as members of this academic community. These regulations and policies are published and available online. In particular, graduate students should become familiar with the University's policies on plagiarism in its various forms. Furthermore, term papers may not be used to meet the requirements of more than one course unless approved in advance by both instructors. 


17. Invitation to evaluate the MA program

 Graduate students have the opportunity to evaluate each course every semester by means of the standard student evaluation (SETE). Additionally, all graduate students who have passed their comprehensive exams are invited to submit an evaluation of the program, which should be addressed to the Coordinator of Graduate Studies.


18. Current Graduate Course Offerings

Please refer to the corresponding schedule of classes.


19. Spanish Graduate Faculty (you can also visit our Faculty Website)

Pilar Alcalde, Associate Professor of Spanish. Ph.D. University of Southern California. Area of Research: Golden Age
Vania Barraza, Associate Professor. Ph.D. University of Arizona. Area of Research: Spanish American Literature
Fernando Burgos, Professor of Spanish. Ph.D. University of Florida. Area of Research: Nineteenth- & Twentieth-Century Spanish American narrative
Inmaculada Gomez Soler, Assistant Professor. Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Area of Research: Linguistics

Yuki Matsuda, Associate Professor of Japanese and Linguistics. Ph.D. University of Southern California. Area of Research: Linguistics

Fatima Nogueira, Associate Professor. Ph.D. Vanderbilt University. Area of Research: Latin American Literature. Spanish and Portuguese languages

Iván Ortega Santos, Associate Professor. Ph.D. University of Maryland. Area of Research: Linguistics

Diana Ruggiero, Assistant Professor.  Ph.D.  Ohio State University. Area of Research: Spanish for Professional Purposes
Francisco Vivar, Professor. Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles.  
Area of Research: Golden Age prose and drama. Colonial Spanish American literature

Lan Zhang, Associate Professor of Chinese and Linguistics. Ph.D. University of South Carolina. Area of Research: Linguistics


Contact information

Fernando Burgos, Professor of Spanish. Ph.D. Coordinator of Graduate Studies (901) 678-3158. E-mail:

These readings are recommended for all graduate students throughout their program  but it is not a specific listing of works required for the comprehensive exams.  For the material to be included in the comprehensive exams you need to consult with each faculty member who will participate in the exams. The reading list is subject to revision. Any changes will be reflected/ posted on this site.

I. PENINSULAR LITERATURE, comprising the following areas of specialization:
1. Medieval period
2. Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries
3. Nineteenth century
4. Twentieth century 

II. LATIN AMERICAN LITERATURE, comprising the following areas of specialization:
1. Colonial period
2. Spanish American narrative & poetry from 1800-1955.
3. Spanish American narrative, poetry & essay from 1955-1994.
4. Spanish American drama (twentieth century). 

1. Medieval period
El Mío Cid, Per Abat (copista).
Milagros de Nuestra Señora, Berceo.
El Conde Lucanor, Don Juan Manuel.
El libro de buen amor, Juan Ruiz.
La celestina, Fernando de Rojas. 

Recommended editions:
El Mío Cid (Madrid: Cátedra, 1976. Colin Smith, ed.)
Milagros de Nuestra Señora (Londres: Tamesis, 1971. B. Dutton, ed.)
El Conde Lucanor. (Madrid: Castalia, 1969. J. M. Blecua, ed.)
El libro de buen amor (Madrid: Cátedra, 1992. A. Blecua, ed.)
La celestina (Madrid: Clásicos Hispánicos, 3a ed., 1970) Criado de Val, ed.
If any of these editions is unavailable, please consult with Dr. A. Torres Alcalá. 

2. Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries
Don Quijote, Cervantes. Recommended Edition: Martín de Riquer.
La gitanilla, Cervantes.
Rinconete y Cortadillo, Cervantes.
La vida es sueño, Calderón.
El gran teatro del mundo, Calderón.
El mágico prodigioso, Calderón.
A secreto agravio, secreta venganza, Calderón.
El pintor de su deshonra, Calderón.
El Caballero de Olmedo, Lope de Vega.
Fuenteovejuna, Lope de Vega.
El burlador de Sevilla, Tirso de Molina.
Sonetos 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, Garcilaso. In Poesías castellanas completas. Elías L. Rivers, ed. Madrid: Castalia, 1985 or latest edition.
Egloglas I y III, Garcilaso. In Poesías castellanas completas. Elías L. Rivers, ed. Madrid: Castalia, 1985 or latest edition.
Soledades, Góngora.
Lazarillo de Tormes, Anónimo.
Guzmán de Alfarache, Alemán [Selection]
Vida del buscón, Quevedo [Selection]
Selection of poetry from the following authors: San Juan de la Cruz, Fray Luis de León, Santa Teresa de Jesús, Quevedo, Góngora. In Poesía lírica de Siglo de Oro. Elías L. Rivers, ed. Madrid: Cátedra, 1985 (or latest edition).

3. Nineteenth century
"Navidad 1836," Larra.
"Día de difuntos," Larra.
"Canto a Teresa," Espronceda.
"Canción del pirata" Espronceda.
Don Juan, Zorrilla.
Rimas, Bécquer
Leyenda "Los ojos verdes," Bécquer.
Leyenda "El rayo de luna," Bécquer.
Leyenda "Maese Pedro, el organista," Bécquer.
Doña Perfecta, Galdós.
Los pazos de Ulloa, Pardo Bazán.
"La cuestión palpitante," Pardo Bazán. 

4. Twentieth century
El idearium, Ganivet.
San Manuel Bueno Mártir, Unamuno.
Niebla, Unamuno.
El árbol de la ciencia, Pío Baroja.
La rebelión de las masas, Ortega y Gasset.
La familia de Pascual Duarte, Camilo José Cela.
La mazurca para dos muertos, Camilo José Cela.
Nada, Carmen Laforet.
El camino, Miguel Delibes.
Tiempo de silencio, Martín Santos.
Señas de identidad, Juan Goytisolo.
Volverás a Región, J. Benet.
El jinete polaco, Antonio Muñoz Molina.
La dama del alba, A. Casona.
La casa de Bernarda Alba, Federico García Lorca.
En la ardiente oscuridad, A. Buero Vallejo.
Escuadra hacia la muerte, Alfonso Sastre.
Selections from the poetry of Antonio Machado, Valle Inclán, Unamuno, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Federico García Lorca, Alberti, Vicente Aleixandre, Dámaso Alonso, Salinas, Guillén, Otero, Rosales, Miguel Hernández in Angel Del Río; Antología general de la literatura española. II. New York: Holt, 1960.

1. Colonial period
Brevísima relación de la destrucción de la Indias (1552), Bartolomé de Las Casas.
La araucana (1569-1589), Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga [Selection].
Comentarios Reales (1609) [Selection of Part I], El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz (1691), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz [Selection].
Primero sueño (1692), Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

2. Spanish American narrative & poetry from 1800-1955.
El matadero (1839/1871), Esteban Echeverría.
"Don Dimas de la Tijereta" (1864), Ricardo Palma.
Martín Fierro (1872-1879), José Hernández [Selection]
Martín Rivas (1862), Alberto Blest Gana.
María (1867), Jorge Isaac.
Sin rumbo (1885), Eugenio Cambaceres.
"El combate de la tapera" (1892), Eduardo Acevedo Díaz.
"El cuento azul" (1899), Manuel Díaz Rodríguez.
"El sueño de Rapiña" (1899), Carlos Reyles.
Los de abajo (1915), Mariano Azuela.
Doña Bárbara (1929), Rómulo Gallegos.
Azul (1888), Rubén Darío.
Prosas profanas (1896), Rubén Darío.
"La compuerta Número 12" (1904), Baldomero Lillo.
"La lluvia de fuego" (1906), Leopoldo Lugones.
"Poncho de verano" (1908) Roberto Payró.
"A la deriva" (1912), Horacio Quiroga.
"El hijo" (1928/1935), Horacio Quiroga.
"El hombre que parecía un caballo" (1915), R. Arévalo Martínez.
"El ermitaño del reloj" (1915), Teresa de la Parra.
Alsino (1920), Pedro Prado.
Desolación (1922), Gabriela Mistral.
Residencia en la tierra I (1925-1931), Pablo Neruda.
"La biblioteca de Babel" (1941), Jorge Luis Borges.
"Funes el memorioso" (1942), Jorge Luis Borges.
El señor presidente (1945), Miguel Angel Asturias.
"El guardagujas" (1952), Juan José Arreola.
El llano en llamas (1953), Juan Rulfo.
"Mr. Taylor" (1954), Augusto Monterroso.
"Chac Mool" (1954), Carlos Fuentes.
Pedro Páramo (1955), Juan Rulfo.

3. Spanish American narrative, poetry & essay from 1955 to the present.
"Viaje a la semilla" (1958), Alejo Carpentier.
"Borrador de un informe" (1958/1966), Augusto Roa Bastos.
"Los jefes" (1959), Mario Vargas Llosa.
Rayuela (1963), Julio Cortázar.
"La autopista del sur" (1967), Julio Cortázar.
"La tregua" (1960), Rosario Castellanos
La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), Carlos Fuentes.
La casa verde (1966), Mario Vargas Llosa.
Cien años de soledad (1967), Gabriel García Márquez.
"Final del tango" (1969), Antonio Skármeta.
"A las arenas" (1969), Antonio Skármeta.
"El ahogado más hermoso del mundo" (1968/1972), García Márquez.
"Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes" (1972) G. Márquez.
"La increíble y triste historia de la cándida Eréndira y de su abuela desalmada" (1972), Gabriel García Márquez.
Concierto barroco (1974), Alejo Carpentier.
Los hijos del limo (1974), Octavio Paz.
Confieso que he vivido (1974), Pablo Neruda.
"El lugar de su quietud" (1975), Luisa Valenzuela.
El beso de la mujer araña (1976), Manuel Puig.
La casa de los espíritus (1982), Isabel Allende.
"Ondina" (1983), Carmen Naranjo.
"El ángel caído" (1986), Cristina Peri Rossi. 

4. Other Twentieth century Spanish American Readings (Drama, Poetry, Essay and Novel)
Las manos de Dios (1956), Carlos Solórzano [Guatemala].
Los fantoches (1958), Carlos Solórzano [Guatemala].
Los huéspedes reales (1957), Luisa Josefina Hernández [México].
Los soles truncos (1958), René Marqués [Puerto Rico].
Medusa (1958), Emilio Carballido. [México]
Teseo (1962), Emilio Carballido. [México]
Medea en el espejo (1960), José Triana [Cuba]
El cepillo de dientes (1961), Jorge Díaz [Chile]
Lo que dejó la tempestad (1961), César Rengifo [Venezuela]
En la diestra de Dios Padre (1962), Enrique Buenaventura. [Colombia].
Y nos dijeron que éramos inmortales (1962) Osvaldo Dragún [Argentina].
Juicio final (1962), José de Jesús Martínez [Panamá].
El campo (1968), Griselda Gambaro (Argentina).
La colina (1958), Daniel Gallegos [Costa Rica].
Flores de papel (1970), Egon Wolff [Chile].






How is having a Spanish Degree beneficial? Check out the Success Story Page

Why should I study Spanish?

Want to get to know your professor? Check out the bio pages:

Ivan Ortega-Santos

Pilar Alcalde

Vania Barraza Toledo

Francisco Vivar

Fatima Nogueira

Fernando Burgos

Diana Ruggiero

Inmaculada Gómez-Soler

Text Only | Print | Got a Question? Ask TOM | Contact Us | Memphis, TN 38152 | 901/678-2000 | Copyright 2015 University of Memphis | Important Notice | Last Updated: 
Foreign Languages and Literature | 108 Jones Hall | Memphis, TN | 38152 | Phone: 901-678-2507
Last Updated: 12/15/14