The University catalog describes the general graduate requirements as well as the details of the French and Spanish M.A. programs. This document is intended to supplement the catalog and does not supersede it in any way. For all official rules and requirements, please consult the current catalog.
I. Admission Requirements
II. Application for Admission
III. Admission/Entry Test
IV. Program Description
V. Structure of the Spanish Comprehensive Examination
VI. Structure of the French Comprehensive Examination
VII. Other Requirements
Generally, applicants must have a baccalaureate in either French or Spanish, as appropriate. In French, a 3.0 GPA is required in Upper Division French courses. In Spanish, a 2.75 GPA in the last 90 quarter units, and a 3.0 GPA in Upper Division Spanish courses are required. Students who do not meet the grade point requirements may be admitted by special action (see University Catalog and consult the Department Graduate Advisor). Applicants whose undergraduate major was not in French or Spanish, as appropriate, must consult the Department Graduate Advisor in order to determine prerequisites or their equivalents. Depending upon his/her background, an applicant may be required to complete the equivalent of a baccalaureate major in the appropriate field.
All applicants must apply to the University online at /www.csumentor.edu/. THIS REQUIREMENT MUST BE MET WHETHER THE CANDIDATE IS A GRADUATE OF CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, LOS ANGELES OR OF ANOTHER INSTITUTION. In addition to the University application, a departmental application is required, and an oral proficiency interview may be required. This application may be obtained at /sites/default/files/academic/mld/MA_applicationform.pdf
or in the department office (KH-D1054), or requested by telephone (323) 343-4230.
Students who want to pursue a Master’s degree in Spanish must take an entry test. The passing score for this test is 80% (B). MA candidates who fail the exam will have the opportunity to retake it for an unlimited number of times. However, only three attempts per quarter (each 10-week period) are allowed. The exam consists of three sets of questions (Linguistics, Peninsular and Latin America). For each exam, the computer program is going to choose randomly 15 questions per set from the bank of questions, for a total of 45 questions. Those students who have not obtained the passing score in the MA entry test will not be classified in the program.
The M.A. degree in French or Spanish requires successful completion of a minimum of 48 quarter units of course work plus a comprehensive examination. Spanish candidates must complete a minimum of 28 units of 500-level coursework, and French candidates a minimum of 24 units of 500-level coursework. Individual programs are prepared in consultation with the Department Graduate Advisor. Students who have been admitted to the University and have submitted the departmental application should make an appointment with the Department Graduate Advisor as soon as possible.
The M.A. program in French or Spanish at CSLA is intended to provide a basic, yet comprehensive preparation that will meet the needs of students for whom the M.A. will be a terminal degree, and for those wishing to pursue a doctorate. In Spanish, candidates are required to select an area of emphasis, either Literature or Linguistics, but students are expected to evidence competence in both areas. Questions on the M.A. examination in both French and Spanish will be based on a Reading List. All the works on the Reading List are governed by the guidelines found below. In cases where the term "selections" appears on the Reading List without qualification, it is expected that students will have read sufficient material by the author to enable them to discuss him/her in accordance with the guidelines.
(a) An awareness of the internal and external influences that contribute to the formation of the French or Spanish language through the centuries, with special attention to the major phonetic, morphological and lexical changes that Latin underwent to become either French of Spanish.
(b) An awareness of (1) the ways in which French or Spanish varies geographically and sociologically (i.e., its main “diatopic” and “diastratic” varieties) and (2) main concepts studied in sociolinguistic variation, including (but not limited to) those of a sociolinguistic variable, social factors conditioning variation and phenomena identified by the study of languages in contact.
The examination in French will be administered the Fridays of the 7th and 8th weeks of the fall and spring quarters. The examination in Spanish will be administered over three days, on Fridays* of the 5th, 6th and 7th weeks of the fall and spring quarters. CANDIDATES MUST APPLY TO TAKE THE COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION AND ENROLL IN FREN/SPAN 596 NO LATER THAN THE END OF THE FIRST WEEK OF THE QUARTER IN WHICH THEY INTEND TO SIT FOR THE EXAMINATION.
1. In order to be eligible to take the Comprehensive Examination for the first time, a student may not have more than one outstanding class or “Incomplete” on his/her M.A. program. Moreover, (a) all courses that expired BEFORE the quarter in which the exam is taken must be validated BEFORE the comprehensive exam is attempted;
(b) courses that are expiring DURING the quarter in which the exam is taken do not need to be validated if the student passes the exam; (c) if a student fails the exam on that attempt and further courses expire, rules a and b will be reapplied for subsequent attempts.
2. In order to be eligible to take the Comprehensive Examination for a second or third time, a student must have no outstanding courses or “incompletes” on his/her M.A. program.
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination in Spanish is a written exam structured to reflect the two emphases within the Master’s program: literature and linguistics. Students will be tested according to the emphasis they have chosen and followed at CSLA. The various sections of the examination will be administered on each day according to the following schedule. There will be a break on each day as appropriate.
Each exam receives a grade of Pass or Fail. Exams are graded independently by two readers, and must receive the equivalent of a “B” to pass. If the grades assigned by the two readers (who do not consult with each other in the process) do not coincide, a third reader is asked to break the tie.
Candidates will be notified of the results by the end of the quarter in which they took the exam. Failing candidates have the right to request a meeting with the Department Chair and/or the Spanish Exam Coordinator in order to be informed of the reasons for failing.
A candidate in Spanish must pass all six parts in order to pass the comprehensive examination. If four or five parts are passed, the candidate will be required to retake only the part(s) failed (one or two). All parts repeated must be passed in order to pass the examination. A maximum of three attempts are allowed. Candidates are reminded that courses in M.A. programs expire after seven years.
The M.A. Comprehensive Examination in French is a written exam that consists of 5 parts: one on historical linguistics and four on literature. In literature, students select two centuries as "specialty" areas. On the reading list, categorized by century, there are separate lists of works in each period for "specialists" and "non-specialists." Students should prepare the "specialist" lists for their chosen centuries and the "non-specialist" lists for the other centuries. For purposes of grading, the "non-specialist" exams are paired chronologically, with two "non-specialist" exams constituting one part of the comprehensive.
The first examination session consists of the four non-specialist literature exams. Students have 45 minutes to answer two questions on each period. Answers should display a solid understanding of the basic characteristics of the literary period and a succinct evaluation of specific texts relevant to each question. For grading, two non-specialist exams count as one part. Exams are graded by two readers on a point system; students must receive 75 out of 100 points to pass.
Part 3. Historical Linguistics (90 minutes; sections on external linguistics and phonology, morphology, and syntax, with a choice of questions in each section).
Part 4. Specialist exam (90 minutes; two of three questions to be answered).
Part 5. Specialist exam (90 minutes; two of three questions to be answered).
The second examination session consists of the historical linguistics exam and the two specialist literature exams. In the historical linguistics exam, students must demonstrate a knowledge of general linguistic concepts and the external linguistics of French as well as of the development of French phonology, morphology, and syntax. The exams are graded independently by two readers, and must receive the equivalent of a “B” to pass. If the grades assigned by the two readers are split (one pass and one fail), the exam goes to a third reader.
In the specialist literature exams, students have 90 minutes to respond to two questions. Answers should display the ability to critically evaluate literary texts, as well as a keen understanding of the literary and cultural forces of the given period. The exams are graded independently by two readers, and must receive the equivalent of a “B” to pass. If the grades assigned by the two readers are split (one pass and one fail), the exam goes to a third reader.
Candidates will be notified of the results by the end of the quarter in which they took the exam. In order to pass the comprehensive examination in French, four of the five parts must be passed. A candidate who fails two parts of the exam must repeat the failed parts. By passing one of the repeated parts, the candidate will be deemed to have passed the comprehensive. If three or more parts of the comprehensive are failed, the entire exam must be repeated. A maximum of three attempts are allowed. Candidates are reminded that courses in M.A. programs expire after seven years. A sample exam is available on the department's web page at
NOTE: In both French and Spanish, grammatical correctness, spelling, coherence, and level of expression will be taken into account in the grading of the M.A. examination.
The approved M.A. program must be completed within seven years, with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Failure to sustain a 3.0 average will result in probation and eventual disqualification from the Master's program. The g. p. a. must be raised to 3.0 after completion of two quarters in residence or 16 units, whichever is later. Failure to meet this requirement will result in disqualification.
All applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English must demonstrate competence in English. Those who do not possess a bachelor's degree from a postsecondary institution where English is the principal language of instruction must receive a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). For further information regarding this requirement, consult the University catalog.