Comprehensive Examination for M.A. in Spanish

After Admission to Candidacy,* each student must successfully complete a four-hour comprehensive examination. The student must be enrolled during the semester in which he/she takes the comprehensive examination. This comprehensive examination is usually taken during a student's final semester of enrollment in the program. The exams are scheduled twice a year: usually in mid to late November of each Fall semester and in mid to late April of each Spring semester.



A three-member M.A. Examination Committee (the student's advisor, who usually chairs the examination committee, and two faculty members selected by the student) will create the exam after soliciting questions from all graduate faculty members in the field(s) of the exam, and will oversee the grading of the exam as Pass, Fail, or Delayed Decision.

The exams will be kept anonymous during the grading. In preparation for the examination, it is expected that the student will meet with his/her advisor and members of the Examination Committee for guidance regarding the exam. After he/she has received the exam grade, the student may meet with the Committee in order to review the exam and receive feedback. The exam itself will not be released to the student.



  • Essay.  Two hours. The student will choose two essay topics out of six provided. Students may develop the topics in either English or Spanish.
  • Short answer questions. Two hours. The student will write short paragraphs in response to six questions based on courses taken by the student. Students must answer the questions in the language in which they are asked, either English or Spanish. The structure for this portion of the examination is the following:
    • (A) Answer three out of four questions. These topics will come from the student’s M.A. concentration.
    • (B) Answer three out of four questions. These topics may come from coursework taken by the student.
  • Oral examination. Thirty minutes. If the written examination has been evaluated as “Delayed Decision,” the examinee will be required to take an additional 30-minute oral examination before the final grade is determined. The oral exam will be based on the written exam and will be developed, administered, and evaluated by the Examination Committee. It is expected that the oral examination will be scheduled within one week after the examinee has received an evaluation of the written exam.

*For Admission to Candidacy, it is the student's responsibility to complete and submit to the Graduate School, in compliance with the deadlines published by the Graduate School, the Application for Admission to Candidacy and the Application for Degree. A copy of these applications must also be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator of the M.A. in Spanish and filed in the Department of Languages and Culture Studies.