MA Romance Langauges - Spanish Concentration
Before being recommended for graduation, every candidate for the Master’s degree is required to pass a final written and oral comprehensive examination and develop a capstone project, as detailed in the section Procedures for Comprehensive Exams. Eligibility to take the comprehensive exams includes the following:
- The student must have already completed a minimum of thirty-three (33) semester hours of graduate work including the minimum required coursework which is a combination of Spanish Literature, Spanish American Literature and Linguistic courses. All of these courses must be taken in the Department of World Languages and Literatures (unless permissions was granted by the graduate coordinator).
- At least twenty-three (23) hours must be taken in 7000-level courses (eight  courses in all). Only three courses at the 6000 level will count toward the degree.
- 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.
- 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.
Students who decide to postpone the date of the comprehensive exams should inform the Graduate Coordinator one semester before they completetheir 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 once 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.
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). The same applies to the capstone project. A student who does not perform satisfactorily on the first comprehensive examination or the evaluation of the capstone project will be given an opportunity to retake the areas that he/she has failed when the exams are offered again and/or resubmit the capstone project. 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 Comprehensive Examinations of the MA in Romance Languages include the following two components:
- A written exam followed by an oral exam
- A capstone project consisting of the development of either a research project or a teaching portfolio, followed by an oral defense.
Written Exam and Oral Exam
The written exam will consist of a combination of questions based on the ‘can do’ statements of the coursework and questions on culture corresponding to the language of concentration, e.g., including but not limited to geography, literature, art, history, regional differences in the language or lifestyles and social behaviors and customs. Both content and language skills (reading, listening, and writing) will be evaluated. The written exam format will be similar to the Praxis to help students prepare for this exam. Students will be provided with a practice exam to familiarize themselves with the exam format. Students may also benefit from becoming familiar with Praxis materials such as the Praxis Practice Companion of the respective languages:
- French: https://www.ets.org/content/dam/ets-org/pdfs/praxis/5174.pdf
- Spanish: https://www.ets.org/content/dam/ets-org/pdfs/praxis/5195.pdf
Students who perform poorly on the written exam will have an opportunity to improve their overall results in the oral exam, where their oral skills will be evaluated as well.
In order to obtain a passing grade on the Comprehensive Examinations, the candidate must pass the areas covered by these exams with a grade of B or higher (80-100). A student who does not perform satisfactorily on the first Comprehensive Examinations will be given an opportunity to retake the areas that they have failed when the exams are offered again. Typically, the exams will be administered at the end of the Spring.
In addition to the written and oral exams, students will develop a capstone project, which may consist of either the development of (a) a research project or (b) a teaching portfolio. The capstone project must be written in the language of concentration. In order to obtain a passing grade on the Comprehensive Examinations, the candidate must also obtain a grade of B or higher (80-100) on the capstone project. A student who does not perform satisfactorily will be given an opportunity to re-submit the capstone project for evaluation when the exams are offered again. Typically, capstone projects will be evaluated at the end of the Spring.
Faculty Sponsor: A faculty member will direct the capstone project. The student will choose freely among their professors. They may choose a co-advisor as necessary for the project. The student should approach the relevant faculty to seek their approval one semester prior to the examination date. An oral defense will be scheduled once the Faculty Sponsor considers that the research project / portfolio is ready.
Evaluation Committee: The evaluation committee will consist of at least 3 of the faculty from the language concentration the student has chosen. Exceptionally, faculty from the other language concentration may be asked by the candidate to sit on the committee if the capstone project is relevant to their area of expertise, subject to the approval of the faculty sponsor.
Research Project: The research project submitted for evaluation might have been developed specifically to meet this requirement, or it might be an extension of the research developed as part of course requirements. If the latter, the student should go beyond any course requirements to further develop the project, as determined by the Faculty Sponsor (e.g., by incorporating the feedback received, exploring new aspects of the research question, or expanding the bibliography). The Faculty Sponsor will notify the student of the expectations and should communicate those to the Evaluation Committee in a timely fashion in case adjustments are necessary.
Teaching Portfolio: The teaching portfolio submitted for evaluation might have been developed specifically to meet this requirement, or it might be an extension of the teaching portfolio developed as part of course requirements or graduate assistant training. If the latter, the student should go beyond any course or graduate assistant requirements to further develop the project, as determined by the Faculty Sponsor. In the case of the teaching portfolio, the Faculty Sponsor might be the Director of the Basic Language program, even if the student did not take a course with them. The Faculty Sponsor will notify the student of the expectations (e.g., materials to be included, such as teaching philosophy, sample activities and lesson plans, and/or teaching evaluations) and should communicate those to the Evaluation Committee in a timely fashion, in case adjustments are necessary.