Masters Degree in Spanish: Program and Career Information
Students interested in Spanish and Latin American cultures and literature may benefit from a master's degree course in Spanish. Generally, a master's degree program in Spanish focuses on either linguistics or literature. This type of degree will open up career opportunities in many different fields.
Master of Arts in Spanish
Many Master of Arts in programs in Spanish offer students the option of pursuing a track in literature or in linguistics. Students who choose to major in literature may take courses on Spanish American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, Spanish literature of the Golden Age, medieval Spanish literature and Spanish literature of the 18th and 19th centuries. The linguistics option focuses on training students in phonetics, technical translation, linguistics research methods and methods for teaching Spanish. Students in linguistic-intensive programs may focus their studies around a specialization or concentration, such as applied linguistics, phonology and morphology, syntax or history and dialectology. However, some programs combine both linguistic and literature options.
In general, students learn about the history, cultures, literature and language of Spain and Latin America. Students who plan to continue their studies are encouraged to complete a thesis. The thesis will provide preparation for further study and research at the doctoral degree level. A comprehensive exam for both degree tracks may also be required and is typically taken during the last semester of enrollment. Students who complete an M.A. in Spanish are prepared to work in fields of humanities and education.
Applicants to an M.A. degree program in Spanish must hold undergraduate degrees in Spanish. Many schools require that applicants have at least a 3.0 GPA in Spanish courses. Additionally, scores for the GRE may be requested, along with 2-3 letters of recommendation. Many programs require a minimum number of approved semester hours in Spanish courses prior to admission into the program.
Classes for a master's degree in Spanish vary according to the area of emphasis in literature or linguistics. Many courses in either program require analytical skills. However, students will also engage in language, writing and literature courses. Some possible courses include the following:
- Literary theory
- Contemporary Spanish literature
- Hispanic folk literature
- Teaching Spanish in secondary school
- Semantics and generative syntax
- Literary criticism
- Great figures of Spanish literature
- Spanish teaching methodology
Career Outlook and Salary
Graduates of a master's degree program in Spanish will be able to compete for a variety of jobs where Spanish is commonly spoken. The publishing industry offers many opportunities, as do elementary and secondary schools where Spanish teachers are desperately needed. Some career outcomes include those as a Spanish teacher, a writer for a Spanish-language newspaper or periodical, literary critic, travel agent or interpreter. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, travel agents earned an average annual wage of $33,950 in 2010, whereas interpreters earned a mean income of $49,790 that same year (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Students who want to continue their graduate education commonly pursue Ph.D.s in Spanish. The degree is research-intensive, and it can be completed in four or more years of full-time study. Many graduates of a Spanish Ph.D. program teach and conduct research at a major university or college.
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