Office:        King Hall D1054
Phone:       (323) 343-4230
Email:        [email protected]


The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a Master of Arts degree in Spanish.

Department Chair

Namhee Lee, Ph.D.
[email protected]

Spanish Graduate advisor

Pablo Baler, Ph.D.
[email protected]

Grad students at annual conference in the Humanities


Professors: Gastón Alzate, Pablo Baler, Marina Cuzovic-Severn, Paola Marín, Elena Retzer

Lecturers: Audrey Harris, Eilene Powell


Comprehensive Examination

Comprehensive Exam written chalkboard

After completing 30 units of coursework, or in the same semester that they are taking their final 3-6 units of coursework, Spanish M.A. students must pass a comprehensive examination.  The examination in Spanish will be administered in five parts over three days, on Fridays or Saturdays* of the Spring semester's 5th, 6th, and 7th weeks.

Topics will include Spanish (Peninsular) literature, Spanish American Literature, and Linguistics.  Questions must be answered in Spanish in essay format. Arguments must be presented in an organized progression of ideas. Correct sentence structure, orthography, and vocabulary are required to obtain a passing grade.

*Subject to change, check with the Department.

Questions on the M.A. comprehensive examination in Spanish will be based on the Reading List in place when the exam is taken. All the works on the Reading List are governed by the guidelines 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 the author per the guidelines.

1. Questions on literary topics are designed to allow students to demonstrate the following for the selections read:

  1. Familiarity with the work: themes and their development, style, relevant narrative, theatrical or poetic techniques, etc.
  2. An awareness of ways in which the work is representative of its author.
  3. An ability to relate the work and author to the period or literary movement with which they are commonly
        associated and their historical context.
 (Click here OR on the image to access the Spanish MA Comp Exam example.)

2. Questions on linguistics are designed to allow students

  1. to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of essential linguistic concepts, processes, and theories of Spanish phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, pragmatics, and language variation, and
  2. to show their ability to organize, synthesize, compare, and assess this knowledge in writing, using appropriate Spanish-language conventions in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and style.


For more information about the Spanish M.A. Comprehensive Examination and the Reading List, please click the image to download the pdf file.

 (Click here or on the image to access Reading List.)


Depending on availability, students in the Spanish MA program can teach Elementary Spanish (SPAN 1001 or SPAN 1002) courses. For further information, see the Graduate Handbook below.


Cal State LA Spanish M.A. Graduate Student Handbook (download this pdf file) has information about applying to graduate programs, financing graduate education, and essential policies and services for graduate students.

The University catalog describes the general graduate requirements and the details of the Spanish M.A. program.

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.

2018 Graduate Student holding sign on Graduation Day

Admissions Requirements

Generally, applicants must have a baccalaureate in Spanish. A 2.75 GPA in the last 60 semester 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 Spanish, as appropriate, must consult the Department Graduate Advisor in order to determine prerequisites or their equivalents. 


Student decorated commencement cap

The M.A. degree in Spanish requires successful completion of a minimum of 33 semester units of course work plus a comprehensive examination. Spanish candidates must complete a minimum of 21 units of 5000 level course work. 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 Spanish at Cal State LA 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.  Questions on the M.A. examination in Spanish will be based on the Reading List that is in place at the time the exam is taken.  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.  For more information about Spanish M.A. Comprehensive Examination and the Reading List, please download the following pdf files.


Graduate Students are exempt from UNIV 4000 (Writing Proficiency Examination in English) or the course alternative, UNIV 4010, if they hold an earned bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university where English is the primary medium of instruction. Graduate students are also exempt from UNIV 4000 if they have a score of 41 or better on the writing portion of the California Basic Education Skills Test (CBEST) or a score of 4 on the analytic writing portion of the GRE or GMAT. Otherwise, graduate students must pass UNIV 4000 within two semesters of admission. See the Schedule of Classes for further information and examination dates.

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.  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 post-secondary 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.

The Graduate Resource Center provides academic support, professional development, and community-building opportunities for graduate students on our Cal State LA campus.
To learn more about graduate studies, please 
visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.