Graduate Studies

MA & MALT in Romance languages in Spanish

The School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures offers two Master’s of Arts programs in Spanish, with one track in Hispanic studies, the MA in Romance Languages in Spanish, and another track specializing in teaching Spanish as a second language, the MA in Language Teaching (MALT), administered by Dr. Dawn Heston. All students in both masters take an array of cultural studies, literary, and linguistics coursework to offer thorough preparation for the job market. Students also receive instruction and practice teaching in both programs. Here is a description of the programs' Plan of study and Requirements.

Take a look at these flyers: MA Hispanic Studies and MALT.


MA in Romance Languages in Spanish

Would you like to know more about AfroHispanic, Latinx, Latin American, and Spanish Iberian literatures and cultures? Would you like to obtain a degree that allows you to perfect your Spanish, gain valuable teaching experience, and work in a variety of fields such as education, government, and international business? If so, you’ve come to the right place, a place where you would earn such a degree while getting paid teaching at the university. 

Housed in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (SLLC), our two-year MA program in Hispanic Studies offers a comprehensive overview of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world with a special concentration in Afro-Hispanic Studies. Our students attend a wide variety of literary, cultural, linguistics, and teaching methodology classes taught by nationally and internationally renowned faculty. Much of the coursework focuses on the study of gender and race in the Hispanic world from different thematic and theoretical perspectives.

pOne of the highlights of our program is its concentration in Afro-Hispanic literature and culture. Our dynamic faculty research and teach courses on topics such as 19th-century Cuban anti-slavery narrative, Latin-American and Spanish Women writers, Afro-Latinx literature and film, the cultural representation of black people in Spain, and contemporary Afro-Cuban writers. The School is also home to the Afro-Romance Institute, the nation’s first center devoted to Afro-Romance Studies. The Institute provides an excellent source of interdisciplinary scholarly growth for our graduate students who are encouraged to attend and participate actively in its activities.

The Spanish MA program also encourages opportunities for interdisciplinary learning within the School, by taking graduate courses offered by faculty experts in German, French, and Russian, and also in other departments such as History, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Black Studies. In addition, we are also proud to host the School’s First Student Symposium, a graduate student-organized event that showcases artistic and scholarly presentations by Modern Languages undergraduate and graduate students in the Midwest.

Our MA candidates usually teach in our undergraduate Spanish language program as TAs (teaching assistants) and receive a stipend as well as health insurance coverage. The development of pedagogical skills is also an important aspect of the MA curriculum. Students are supported in their teaching through coursework in pedagogy as well as sustained individual and group mentoring. In addition to making the MA program very affordable, the TA program also has the benefit of fostering close cooperation between the members of each MA cohort in Spanish and in other languages.

Admission Criteria


  • February 1st (earlier applications are welcome)

 Requirements for Admission*

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0 in field of major
  • Masters applicants must have a bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants): 80
  • Excellent language skills in Spanish. A good command of English.

*The GRE is not required for application.

The Spanish admissions committee reserves the right to evaluate the work presented for admission and to determine how the student may make up for any background deficiencies.

Documents to submit in your online application at the Graduate School before February 1st:

  • 10-15 page writing sample in Spanish
  • 500-word Personal Statement
  • 3 letters of recommendation in English or Spanish, submitted through the online application
  • Résumé or CV
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants only)
  • Photocopies of diplomas earned at colleges/universities outside the US (international applicants only)

Regarding the Statement of Purpose: The admissions committee is interested in your past academic/teaching interests, including specific papers and projects you have worked on, and what you wish to accomplish as a graduate student. Please explain why you are  interested in pursuing a particular master program in this department.

Financial Support and Teaching Assistantships

Some incoming graduate students are offered paid positions as Teaching Assistants, with the initial one-year appointment renewable for a second academic year. Those MA applicants applying by or before the due date will have preference in receiving a TAship.

As a form of financial support, the TAship is subject to guidelines established by the university: each student holding a TA-ship must be actively pursuing a graduate degree, must be in good standing, and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. 

Minimum salaries for 0.5 TA appointments are listed at the Graduate School website. In addition to an insurance premium subsidy, TAships at .5 FTE (half-time) carry with them a tuition waiver, meaning that students do not pay tuition for courses taken toward the MA. The TA-ship also provides a monthly stipend during the regular academic year (September to May), which most students find is enough to cover their costs while living in Columbia. Finally, the department offers competitive grants for travel and research materials, in order to support graduate students’ professional development.

Possible Fifth Semester of Support

In exceptional cases, students in good standing — with no grades of Incomplete and unproblematic teaching — may receive a fifth semester of support, at the discretion of the faculty and depending on budgetary and teaching needs. Students must submit all requests for a fifth semester of support in writing to the director of graduate studies. No student will receive more than five semesters of support.

Normal Teaching Load vs. Course Load

The minimum teaching assignment for MA candidates holding instructorships is 2 courses per semester. International students may never teach more than 2 courses per semester owing to visa restrictions. All MA candidates must be registered in a minimum of 6 hours of course work for each semester in which they hold an instructorship. Students may enroll in up to 6 hours per semester of 8080 (Readings) if they have completed all their course work and are preparing for their MA exams.

Domestic students need to apply to the MU Graduate School directly by February 1st. Click here for information for prospective graduate students. Once the application is complete, the admissions commitee determines whether a student has met the requirements for admission to the program. Applications received after February 1st will only be reviewed as spaces become available in the program.

Please note that the Graduate School permits you to upload unofficial copies of your university transcripts yourself, but that your admission to the University is contingent upon the Graduate School's receipt of official transcripts directly from your university's registrar. 

Application Fee: The Graduate School requires a $65 application fee.

International students need to apply to the MU Graduate School directly by February 1st. Click here for information for prospective graduate students. Once the application is complete, the Spanish faculty determines whether a student has met the requirements for admission to the program. Applications received after February 1st will only be reviewed as spaces become available in the program.

The Graduate School permits you to upload unofficial copies of your university transcripts yourself, but that your admission to the University is contingent upon the Graduate School's receipt of official transcripts directly from your university's registrar.

Please note that the Graduate School application is more rigorous for international students because the Graduate School processes the documents required for visa applications, which usually ensures that students do not encounter problems when they apply for the visa. The Graduate School has attempted to streamline the process; before beginning your application, ­you should start at this helpful website.

Do not hesitate to contact either Mar Soria (soriam@missouri) the Director of Spanish Graduate Studies or the Graduate School if you encounter problems.

Please note: It is very important that you submit your application to the Graduate School as soon as possible. The Graduate School processes thousands of applications each spring, and does so in the order in which completed applications are received. It can take several weeks for the final visa documents to be produced, and you can only contact your embassy to make an appointment after these visa documents are produced. After this, it can take several weeks for your embassy to grant the visa. We are usually successful in moving our students through the visa process, but delayed cases can be very stressful.

Application Fee: The Graduate School requires a $90 application fee.


The MA degree requires a minimum of 30 credits (ca. 10 seminars) of graduate-level courses with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Under certain circumstances, some of these courses may be taken in other departments, but no fewer than 24 credits (ca. 8 seminars) must be earned in courses offered by the Spanish program, and at least 15 credits (ca. 5 seminars) must be taken in Spanish seminars at the 8000 level. Normally, students complete the Masters program in two academic years (four semesters).

At the end of their second year, candidates for the MA degree must pass comprehensive written and oral final examinations based on course work and an individualized reading list. In lieu of the exams, a thesis, with a maximum of six hours of credit, is also possible.

Choosing an Advisor

All graduate students in the department may choose, or the director of graduate studies will assign them, an academic advisor at the start of their first semester of graduate study. Students must choose an academic advisor by the end of their first semester of graduate study.

Submitting Your Plan of Study to the Graduate School Office

MA candidates must submit a completed M-1 Plan of Study form to the Graduate School at least one semester before taking their MA examinations.

Annual Review

The Section Directors of Graduate Studies meet with faculty during the fall and spring semesters to evaluate the teaching and academic performance of all graduate students. The Director of Graduate Studies informs all students in writing of their status at the end of each semester. Students who fail to remove a grade of Incomplete will be limited to teaching one course per semester for as long that grade of Incomplete remains on their academic record.

Master’s Thesis

The writing of a thesis is optional. A minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 6 hours of 8090 Research will be allowed for the thesis. Students are urged to obtain the Graduate School’s guidelines for thesis/dissertation writing as the thesis must conform to the Office of Graduate Studies' formatting and style specifications.

Thesis Committee

Students choosing to write a thesis must name a thesis committee consisting of no fewer than three members of the doctoral faculty at the University of Missouri, one of whom should be from a department other than SLLC.

Comprehensive Examination for the MA degree

All candidates for the Master of Arts degree must pass a 6-hour written examination based on the MA reading list. The examination is given twice a year, generally in late October and late March.

The French Master’s examination consists of six 1-hour parts covering literature of the Middle Ages/Renaissance, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, and two of the following three periods in the contemporary period: twentieth century French Literature, twentieth century Francophone Literature, contemporary literary theory.

At least half the examination must be written in the candidate’s language of specialization.

Grading of the Comprehensive Exam

The MA examination is graded as follows: High Pass, Pass, and Fail. In order to receive a passing grade on any section of the examination, a student must receive passing grades from two thirds of the examining committee. To pass the entire examination, students must receive passing grades on all sections. With permission from the examining committee, students who fail part of the examination may retake only the failed section or sections of the examination. Two failures of the examination, in whole or in part, will terminate candidacy for the degree and result in dismissal from the program.

Discover here the beautiful facilities and buildings on campus.

Columbia (also know as CoMo) is a great city to live in. Check out this webpage with all the information you need to know about this welcoming city.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from our applicants. If you still have any doubt, do not hesitate to contact Mar Soria, the Director of Spanish Graduate Studies, at

Yes, we do accept international students and students who are not native Spanish speakers. Indeed, we've had students from many countries such as Ghana, Russia, Spain, Colombia, Peru, Brasil, and Mexico.

No. You don't need it.

Yes, we offer TAships for domestic and international students in both MA programs. We encourage students to apply to the program as soon as possible to ensure that they can opt to receive a TAship.

Of course. Mar Soria, the Director of Spanish Graduate Studies, we'll be happy to schedule a Zoom meeting with you to answer all your questions.

You do not need to wait until your degree is conferred to apply. You can present an unofficial copy of your transcripts. As long as you complete all of your degree requirements by the Fall you begin our program, it is OK. At that point, if your degree has not yet been conferred, we would need documentation stating that you have completed all degree requirements.

No. They can also be written in Spanish.

Definitely. Living in Columbia, MO is significantly cheaper than living in other areas in the US. Keep this in mind when you are comparing offers from other programs. We recommend that you look at a cost of living calculator to make an informed decision. Many are available free on the internet, and you can find some by Googling “cost of living calculator”.

In our experience, students can live comfortably (albeit frugally) on the teaching assistant stipend.

As of the school year 2021, MA students in Spanish holding a TAship have paid $1,500 per year in fees + $300 for the medical insurance if they use the insurance. If they do not use it, they don't have to pay those $300.

We especially encourage first-year MA students to have some savings to cover these costs at the beginning of their first semester.

TAs do not pay tuition for courses taken toward the MA. Most students find that the TA funding is enough to cover their costs while living in Columbia.


No. All incoming students need to start the program in Fall so that they can attend the necessary orientations before the classes start.

The number of students accepted in the program varies from year to year depending on the type of applicants, funding availability, and departmental needs.

Students usually complete the program in four semesters (2 years).