Apr 21, 2018  
2016-2018 Catalog 
  
2016-2018 Catalog

Spanish, Hispanic Civilization and Language Option, M.A.


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Program of Study


The mission of the Master of Arts in Spanish is to provide qualified students with a structured yet flexible program of study in the literature, linguistics, culture, and civilization of the Spanish-speaking world, and in the art of foreign language teaching. This program is designed to prepare students for further study at the doctoral level; for careers in teaching at the elementary, secondary, or community college level; or for positions in business, social services, international relations, government agencies, and other organizations in need of trained language specialists. The Master of Arts in Spanish degree program allows students the choice of three areas of emphasis: Option A – Hispanic Literature and Linguistics, Option B – Hispanic Civilization and Language, and Option C – Foreign Language Teaching. Regardless of the option selected, the student’s academic experience will be characterized by classes of the highest quality, which encourage the development of critical thinking, an appreciation of multicultural perspectives, and articulate use of the Spanish language. All students will receive ongoing faculty mentoring. Opportunities for guided and independent research, community involvement, and study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country are central to the graduate student experience in this program.

Our campus’ close proximity to the Mexican border, together with the large Spanish-speaking population in North San Diego County, makes our area a “living language laboratory” in which students can engage in first-hand study of the many linguistic and cultural aspects of native Spanish speakers. Students who wish to pursue teaching careers will benefit from the Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents, a special collection in the Cal State San Marcos library which houses more than 80,000 books, periodicals, and other materials pertinent to teaching Spanish and Hispanic culture to young people. The University’s commitment to multicultural and global awareness, together with the presence of an international group of faculty in the Modern Language Studies Department, will contribute to the student’s process of learning, in this unique academic setting.

Student Learning Outcomes


The Master of Arts in Spanish degree program allows students the choice of three areas of emphasis: Option A - Hispanic Literatures, Option B – Hispanic Languages and Linguistics, and Option C – Foreign Language Teaching.

Students completing Option A - Hispanic Literatures will:

  1. Articulate a sound understanding of the broad outlines of theory as well as the theoretical commitments that inform their own research and writing.
  2. Demonstrate advanced application of tools of literary analysis.
  3. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of and an ability to think critically about literary movements and key texts of the Hispanic literary tradition(s), including an evaluation of the process of canon formation.
  4. Demonstrate a familiarity with professional practices and issues (conferences, research, publication, mentoring, hiring and advancement, etc.) and prepare to enter doctoral programs or other professional fields.
  5. Exhibit an ability to identify relevant issues and conduct original research in the field of Hispanic Literature(s), to use appropriate methods of documentation, and to write essays clearly demonstrative of graduate-level research skills and independent thinking.

Students completing Option B – Hispanic Languages and Linguistics will:

  1. Understand the historical development of the Spanish language in its external (history, culture) and internal development (morphology, syntax and semantics).
  2. Know the linguistic variation of Spanish and its main dialects, including phonology, geographical variation, social dialects and registers.
  3. Identify the grammatical and discursive functions of Spanish language structures in a variety of social and cultural contexts.
  4. Demonstrate a familiarity with professional practices and issues (conferences, research, publication, mentoring, hiring and advancement, etc.) and prepare to enter doctoral programs or other professional fields.
  5. Exhibit an ability to identify relevant issues and conduct original research in the field of Hispanic Linguistics, to use appropriate methods of documentation, and to write essays clearly demonstrative of graduate-level research skills and independent thinking.

Students completing Option C – Foreign Language Teaching will:

  1. Demonstrate competence in the Spanish language, including knowledge of key aspects of Hispanic linguistics, as well as the ability to explain the language accurately to others.
  2. Be able to discuss key aspects of Hispanic literatures and cultures, especially in the context of teaching them to others.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of principles of foreign language learning, including theories of language acquisition, history and methods of language teaching, best practices for teaching the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, and assessment of language and culture learning.
  4. Be able to explain and evaluate published research studies in foreign language education, plan and conduct original research, analyze the data collected, and report the findings.
  5. Be aware of opportunities for continued professional development, associations in the field to support their ongoing work, and the ability to engage in the scholarship of the classroom.

Admission and Application Requirements


Admission to the program requires a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. It is expected that students will have received a major in Spanish, or a degree in a closely related field plus at least four (4) upper-division courses in Spanish.

A grade point average of 2.5 or higher, plus an average of 3.0 or higher in upper-division Spanish courses, is required for admission.

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (the general test only). While the test scores will be viewed in combination with other factors pertinent to the applicant’s ability to succeed in a graduate program, it is unlikely that students will be admitted with combined verbal and quantitative scores of less than 1000. However, no specific cutoff will be used.

Graduates of universities where English is not the principal language must take the combined Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and receive a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL and a minimum of 4.5 on the Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the paper-based TOEFL or on the writing portion of the computer-based TOEFL.

A complete application consists of:

Application Materials sent directly to the Admissions Office of Cal State San Marcos

  • A completed university application form for admissions to Cal State San Marcos;
  • Application fee: and
  • One set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, with indication of graduation

Application Materials sent directly to the Modern Language Studies Department (see address below)

– Departmental Application
– One set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, with indication of graduation
– Two letters of recommendation
– A one to two (1-2) page statement of purpose, describing educational experience and career goals
– A writing sample of at least seven (7) pages. The writing must be in Spanish, and should deal with some aspect of Hispanic literature, culture, or linguistics
– A (video, audio, or digital format) speech sample, in which the applicant speaks in Spanish for at least five (5) minutes, on the topic of his/her choice; and
– GRE (and TOEFL/TWE, if applicable) score reports

These application materials must be sent directly to the Modern Language Studies Department Administrative Coordinator at: California State University, San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos, CA 92096-0001.

Application Deadlines:

  • March 15th for Fall Semester admission
  • November 15th for Spring Semester admission

Note: A limited number of Teaching Assistantships may be available.

Degree Requirements


The program requires thirty (30) semester units of study, at least twenty-four (24) of which must be at the graduate level (500 and 600 series). None of the thirty (30) units of coursework applied to the Master of Art’s degree in Spanish may have been applied toward a previous academic degree. A grade of B or higher is required in each course applied to the Master of Art’s degree. Students whose grade point average drops below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Students must demonstrate intermediate-level knowledge of a language other than Spanish and English (by completing a 201-level language course with a final grade of C or better at Cal State San Marcos or an equivalent institution, or by passing a Proficiency Examination given by the Cal State San Marcos Modern Language Studies Department), prior to graduation. Students must successfully pass the Comprehensive Master’s Examinations in Spanish in order to graduate.

Students enrolled full-time will typically complete the program in four semesters and must take the Comprehensive Master’s Examinations no later than the sixth semester following enrollment. Students enrolled on a part-time basis must take the Comprehensive Master’s Examinations no later than the tenth semester following enrollment. Students who do not pass the Comprehensive Master’s Examinations the first time may retake them a maximum of one additional time, no later than two years after the first attempt.

Students must complete the required 30 semester units in accordance with the specific requirements for the chosen Option.

Study Abroad


In order to appreciate and understand fully the nuances of the Spanish language and Hispanic culture, all students are strongly encouraged to spend at least one summer or semester abroad, in a Spanish-speaking country. Students will be permitted to transfer up to nine (9) units of credit toward the Master of Arts in Spanish from approved study-abroad courses. Spanish faculty will work closely with each student to assist him/her in identifying an appropriate study-abroad program, and in structuring his/her course of study to accommodate this important experience.

Financial Aid


Teaching Assistantships may be available to qualified students who wish to teach introductory- and intermediate-level Spanish language courses at Cal State San Marcos. Other forms of financial support may also be available, and interested students should contact the University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for further information.

Master's Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement


Students need to fulfill the Master’s Student Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement before advancing to candidacy. Please refer to Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement  for more information regarding this requirement.

Advancement to Candidacy


  1. Be in good academic standing, holding a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. Have completed all required course work.
  3. Have fulfilled the Foreign Language Requirement.
  4. Have filed a Declaration of Intent to take Comprehensive Examinations.
  5. Have procured all necessary signatures from testing faculty that will constitute his or her M.A. Exam Committee.
  6. Have filed Reading List Approval form with pertinent signatures.
  7. Have turned in all information and records of the items stated above to the Graduate Coordinator.

Comprehensive Master's Exams


One semester before students propose to take their Comprehensive Master’s Examinations, they must present to the graduate committee (made up of three faculty members) a reading list that must adequately represent both their readings for individual courses and readings undertaken independently to complement coursework. The reading list must be approved by the graduate committee, which has the right to prescribe authors and works not included in the list. The approved list then becomes the basis for the Master’s Examinations, which consists of two (2) three-hour examinations, and a follow-up oral defense. These examinations will be evaluated by a committee of three faculty members, and will be graded on a pass/no pass basis.

Note:


Students will be expected to choose the Option that most clearly meets their career goals, and will receive faculty mentoring prior to their first semester of enrollment, to assist them in choosing the appropriate Option and in designing their individual course of study.

Hispanic Civilization and Language


This option is designed for students wishing to pursue careers in business, social services, international relations, etc. This option exposes students to the most salient factors of the language and cultures of the people who make up the Spanish-speaking world.

Elective Graduate-Level Courses in Linguistics (6 Units)


Elective Graduate-Level Courses in Culture/Civilization (6 Units)


Additional Graduate Coursework (12 Units)


Additional graduate coursework, to be selected based on student’s specific areas if interest and academic plan, in consultation with faculty advisor. Courses may come from graduate offerings in Spanish, or from other disciplines.

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