Loyola University Chicago

Modern Languages and Literatures

MA in Spanish


Welcome to the graduate program in Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University, a Jesuit university in the vibrant and multicultural city of Chicago. Our Masters of Arts degree in Spanish allows students to begin their careers as Hispanists in many areas: teaching, translation and interpretation, diplomacy, foreign service, social work, journalistic writing, editing, international business and more.

Please see below the basic information about our program and current course descriptions, including program requirements, teaching assistantships, study abroad, language proficiency, and program outcomes.

Success Stories:  Click here to see where some of our recent graduates‌ are and what they are doing, and how they reflect upon their time as graduate students in Modern Languages at Loyola.
Graduate Symposium in Hispanic Studies:  On February 27, 2016, we hosted our second annual Graduate Symposium ‌on the theme of Justice (click here to see the schedule and photos of the event). Our first annual Graduate Symposium took place on February 21, 2015 (click here to see the schedule and photos‌ of the event).

From Cervantes to the Popol Vuh:  Graduate students in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures visit the Newberry Library and view original editions from the printing presses of colonial Latin America and early modern Spain. Click here—Newberry Visit—for more information.


For specific inquiries related to the Spanish Graduate Program, please contact:

D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., DPhil
Graduate Program Director
Phone: 773.508.7364

Course Offerings

Previous Course Offerings

Program Description

Graduate courses in Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Chicago are designed for students who seek professional growth in the areas of language proficiency, research skills, linguistics and in-depth interpretation of literature and culture. Courses cover a wide range of topics and exemplify different critical approaches. Members of the faculty welcome scholars in pursuit of the rewards of intellectual stimulation and of heightened multicultural and historical consciousness. Our courses are attractive both to those who wish to earn a PhD and to elementary and secondary teachers who seek professional advancement. Recent graduates have gone on to earn their doctorates at Columbia University, UC Davis, UW Madison, SUNY Buffalo, and the University of Tennessee, while others have begun their teaching careers at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Loyola Academy, and other schools in Chicago, the greater metropolitan area, and beyond.

The program offers graduate courses in a number of areas. Our students experience both the traditional lecture/discussion courses and the graduate seminar. All graduate classes are conducted by full-time members of the department. Specific attention is given to the individual needs of students through directed readings and research studies. Graduate students also have the opportunity to work as Program Assistant to the Director of our undergraduate summer study abroad program at Universidad Loyola Andalucía, in Córdoba, Spain.

The department prides itself on the attention we give to our graduate students. We encourage interaction among students within and outside the formal classroom setting. We are committed to a strong advising program that gives students the individual attention necessary to complete their graduate work successfully. Close to 80% of our students receive their MA in two years. Given the flexible nature of our program, with permission graduate students may take up to two graduate seminars offered by other academic departments at Loyola University in areas such as literary theory, history, philosophy, bilingual education and women's studies and gender studies. They may also take up to two advanced courses in Spanish at the undergraduate level, and, if approved, transfer up to two graduate-level courses (or six hours), including study abroad, toward their graduate degree.

All applicants are asked to supply the following documents (GRE scores are not required):

  • three letters of recommendation, preferably one which is from an academic source
  • a current CV or resumé
  • a personal statement, in English or Spanish
  • an academic writing sample, preferably in Spanish
  • OPI score for non-native speakers of Spanish (see below)
  • TOEFL score for non-native speakers of English (see below)
  • official transcripts for all coursework (with transcript evaluation of foreign transcripts)

Please note that if your transcripts come from a university outside the United States, you will need to include a transcript evaluation in your application. This can be done through Educational Perspectives. For more information, please go to http://www.edperspective.org/.

Program Requirements

Students fulfill the requirements of the degree through the completion of ten regular courses and a two-part comprehensive examination based on the graduate reading list. The comprehensive examination consists of a four-hour written exam and a one-hour oral exam. A second option, subject to approval by the Graduate Program Director, would require the completion of nine regular courses, a written thesis, and an oral defense. Recent theses have covered Latin American, Iberian, and linguistic topics. For this option, students should follow the Thesis Guidelines.

Additionally, candidates for the MA degree fulfill the Research Tool Requirement of the Graduate School by showing competency in a language other than English or Spanish. This requirement can be fulfilled by taking a translation exam in the Graduate School, or by taking a language course at Loyola or elsewhere and earning a grade of B or higher.

Teaching Assistantships

Graduate awards, including three graduate assistantships, are made on a competitive basis. To apply for an award, complete the merit award form in the application. Deadline for consideration is February 1. In the online application, you can indicate that you are applying for a Teaching Assistantship by selecting the merit award.

The Spanish Teaching Assistantship involves teaching three undergraduate Spanish language courses over two semesters. A Teaching and Technology Assistantship is also available, and involves teaching one undergraduate Spanish language course per semester and working six hours per week in conjunction with the Language Learning Resource Center and under the supervision of the LLRC Director. This work will focus on the improved integration of technology into foreign language teaching department wide. Both assistantships include tuition waiver, a stipend  and health insurance, and are one year opportunities, renewable to a maximum of two years based on satisfactory fulfillment of duties.

If you are applying for an assistantship, please state in your application or inform the Graduate Program Director if you prefer one (teaching) over the other (teaching and technology). You may apply for both.

Language Proficiency

Foreign students whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (TOEFL). Applicants lacking any other entrance requirements may be accepted on a probationary status. Specific prerequisites will be designated for such students. Please include an official copy of your score certificate with your application.

Students holding degrees from universities whose primary language is not Spanish are required to take the OPI test (Oral Proficiency Interview in Spanish) to be considered for admission. The test can be taken on the Lake Shore Campus of Loyola at a lower cost, or at home, if you do not live in the Chicago metropolitan area. Tests taken at Loyola are the computer-based (OPI c) version. Please contact the Graduate Program Director of the Spanish program to set up an appointment. To register for the test, go to http://www.languagetesting.com/login-and-registration and create an account. You should use Loyola University Chicago as the client institution. If you are not taking the test at Loyola, please go to https://www.profluentplus.com/ and follow the instructions. Please include an official copy of your score certificate with your application.  

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, graduates will be able:

  • to demonstrate familiarity with works of Latin American and Peninsular literature.
  • to demonstrate familiarity with the general characteristics of several traditions and trends within the literary contexts of Latin America and Spain.
  • to use the Spanish vocabulary necessary for discussing literature critically.
  • to understand broad historical events, cultural currents, and current academic trends as they are represented in Latin American and Peninsular literature.
  • to read, write, and speak Spanish fluently.
  • to demonstrate the ability to do independent, scholarly research by integrating, comparing, and evaluating ideas and materials from various sources, both literary and critical.
  • to develop and sustain a coherent argument in both oral and written Spanish.
  • to know how to foster a collegial, collaborative learning environment that encourages self-expression.
  • to comprehend the social and historical function and significance of literature, culture, and art in Spain and Latin America, and more broadly. 
  • to understand and incorporate the national standards for the teaching of foreign languages into the teaching of Spanish at various levels.
  • to understand from a task-based perspective the theoretical and practical issues of communicative language teaching for all skill areas.
  • to demonstrate competence in a language other than English or Spanish, for the purpose of research.