Loyola University Chicago

Modern Languages and Literatures

Degree Requirements

Students fulfill the requirements of the degree through the completion of ten regular courses and a two-part comprehensive examination based on coursework and the graduate reading list. The comprehensive examination consists of a three-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. Students who write a thesis are required to complete a RCRS workshop (Responsible Conduct in Research and Scholarship). Please see the following guidelines for writing a Thesis Proposal.

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.

Required Coursework

Coursework for credit toward the MA degree in Spanish consists of graduate seminars in Spanish (Loyola University SPAN 400-level courses). With the permission of the Graduate Program Director, graduate students may take up to two graduate seminars in other academic departments of Loyola University, up to two advanced-level undergraduate courses in Spanish (Loyola University SPAN 300-level courses), and may transfer credit toward their degree of up to two graduate-level courses completed at another academic institution. For more detailed information, please see the Masters Curriculum for the MA in Spanish. Students who wish to complete their degree in two years should plan to follow the proposed Masters Course Load.

Our tradition: Eloquentia perfecta

Jesuit education is steeped in a tradition that reaches back five centuries, to the flourishing of Renaissance humanism in sixteenth-century Europe. The humanists immersed themselves in the study of language, rhetoric, grammar and literature, with the aim of achieving eloquentia perfecta. Their ability to speak and write well would reflect their values as good citizens who stood to uphold the common good.

 The graduate program in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures of Loyola University Chicago rests on this tradition. Candidates for the Masters degree in Spanish, as well as students of our new five year BA/MA in Spanish (2016), immerse themselves in the language, the literatures and the cultures of the Hispanic world with the same goal: eloquentia perfecta. Not only do they strive to master the Spanish language, they study the past and present of the Hispanic world with the aim of understanding it and its peoples more fully. While our graduate students write and research in the areas of linguistics, literature and culture, they also teach undergraduates, translate tax documents for Latin American immigrants in the United States and wrestle with the complex issue of societal injustice. For example, in February of 2016 our graduate students hosted and participated in a symposium on the theme of social justice in Hispanic literatures. The 2017 symposium will focus on immigration, border issues and hybrid identities.

 As students complete their Masters degree in Spanish, they discover how linguistic and cultural competency begins to open many doors. Some further their graduate education by earning doctorates in Spanish, History, and International Education, while others use their degree to teach Spanish at all levels. Graduates of our program also start careers in business and social work, while others use their Spanish proficiency to gain employment as translators and interpreters. Whatever career path they take, all of our graduates agree that the study of language and culture leads to adventure. But as they go on to face the challenges of an imperfect world, they aim to engage it by relying on the tradition of eloquentia that has been passed on to them as students of a Jesuit university.