M.A. in Spanish (Information for Applicants)

The Master of Arts in Spanish at San Francisco State University offers students a challenging and enriching experience in the study of Spanish and Latin American literature and culture in one of the most fascinating cities of the world. San Francisco has a rich Hispanic heritage and a vibrant culture. At San Francisco State you will study literature and culture from the Middle Ages to the present and receive training in academic writing, and in literary research, methodologies and cultural theory. Over the course of their graduate studies in our Spanish Master, students acquire in-depth knowledge of Spanish-speaking countries and their cultures and challenges, along with the critical skills for academic analysis. We are committed to critical thinking and creative writing as well. Our objective is to inspire our students to develop their knowledge in specialized fields of the Spanish speaking cultures in order to educate responsible, creative and competent citizens of a global and connected world.
It generally takes two years to complete all the requirements for the M.A. program in Spanish, but it may take more time, according to other personal conditions. A maximum of seven years is allowed.


Learn more about the Spanish M.A. Program at San Francisco State University.


Admission to the Program

Admission to the Spanish M.A. Program is a two-step process; the application is first processed the Division of Graduate Studies, and then is passed along to the Spanish Program for review. Prospective graduate students apply for admission to the university through Cal State Apply (https://www2.calstate.edu/apply/graduate). The CSU has produced a comprehensive manual that will guide you through the process of setting up a Cal State Apply account and completing the application. Please go to https://www2.calstate.edu/apply/graduate/Documents/graduate-application-... to access the application guide as a PDF file. 
Through Cal State Apply you will also be able to upload materials that will be evaluated by the Spanish Program. The Program asks that prospective students submit: 
  • Transcripts from all colleges attended
  • A statement of purpose written in both Spanish and English. This should be between 500-750 words.
  • Two letters of recommendation from former professors.
  • A brief writing sample indicative of potential success as a graduate student. This is generally an essay written in Spanish which shows the scope of the applicant’s critical preparation and analytical ability. Ideally this will be a paper written in an undergraduate class, from 1,000 to 1,200 words in length.
All applicants are expected to have the equivalent of a B.A. in Spanish, that is, 30 units of upper-division work in Spanish, with a GPA of 3.0 or better. If the student has not met this requirement, he or she may, at the discretion of the Program, be admitted as a “conditionally classified” graduate student. Students thus admitted must satisfactorily complete certain specified courses before they become fully classified. These courses are not included in the 30 units required for the M.A.
Applicants are responsible for meeting the appropriate deadlines.



The MA in Spanish consists of 30 units of coursework, and 3 units of Culminating Experience (Exams or Thesis). Of those 30 units, a minimum of 21 must be from graduate-level (700-800 level) courses. The Program allows a maximum of 9 units from upper-division courses. Up to 9 units from a related field may be counted toward the degree. 
Written English Proficiency: The University requires all graduate students, regardless of major, to pass two levels of Written English Proficiency. The Statement of Purpose in English satisfies the Level 1 requirement. Students fulfill the Level-Two English requirement by  passing MLL 701 with a B or higher. It is recommended to take it the first fall semester of the Master, because it is not offered in the spring. Students who do not receive at least a B must retake the course. 
  • Graduate courses (700-800 level): 21 units, minimum. Of those 21 graduate-level units, at least 15 should be courses in Spanish. 
  • Upper division courses: 6 units, maximum.
  • At least 8 courses (24 units) must be taken within the Spanish Program (allowing for up to 6 units from a related field to count toward the degree). Any courses taken outside the Spanish Program must have prior approval of the Graduate Advisor.
  • The culminating experience must be met by the satisfactory completion of a thesis, special project, comprehensive examination, and/or an oral defense of the work. The culminating experience is not a course. For more information please see the Graduate Studies site. 3 units.


Graduate Teaching Associate or Teacher Aide Opportunities

Spanish M.A. students have the opportunity to assist the faculty in the undergraduate Spanish program.

Graduate Teaching Associates

Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA) provide currently enrolled or admitted CSU graduate students with part-time employment offering a practical teaching experience in fields related to their advanced study. GTAs teach university courses and may also assist faculty or teaching staff with various professional and technical activities. Work assignments are closely associated with their program of study or the academic department in which they are enrolled. GTA assist faculty in lower division courses of the Spanish program. Students interested in being GTA are required to pass MLL 750. It is recommended to take it the first fall semester of the Master.
Graduate students seeking GA or GTA appointments must meet the following minimum academic eligibility requirements:
  • Classified or conditionally classified graduate student
  • Cumulative post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.0 (B) or better
  • Enrolled in a minimum of 3 units of course work applicable to the master’s degree
  • May not be enrolled in any course associated with work assignment
  • Employment at SFSU may not exceed 20 hours per week
  • Must be supervised by a SFSU faculty member

Teacher Aides

Teacher Aide: Graduate students in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures may have the opportunity to assist the faculty in upper-division courses. This a great opportunity to learn how to create a course on language, literature or culture, and how to teach on the upper-division level. Teacher Aides enroll in MLL 785, and receive 3 units of course work toward practical teaching experience.


Career Options

Interpreters and Translators

  • Legal
  • Medical
  • Business
  • Political


  • University
  • College
  • High School
  • Tutoring

Social Service

  • Peace Corps
  • Recreation
  • Social Worker
  • Police Officer
  • Nursing
  • Lawyer



Literary and Cinema Critic

Radio and Television Broadcastings

Communications and Internet Companies

International Business

International Organizations

Government Agencies


Cultural Agencies

Bilingual/Multilingual Work


Travel Agencies

Hotel and Restaurant Services


Armed Forces


Faculty of the Spanish Program

  • Professor Gustavo Calderón (Latin America): gusto@sfsu.edu 
  • Associate Professor Michael Hammer (Spain from Middle Age to 18th Century): mhammer@sfsu.edu 
  • Graduate Advisor:  Assistant Professor Ana Luengo (Spain from 19th to 21st Century, and Contemporary Transatlantic Literature): aluengo@sfsu.edu