Skip Navigation
UMass Amherst Back to LLC Site

Spanish and Portuguese, Deparment of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Programs

Graduate Program Requirements

Master of Arts

Requirements

Credits:
Thirty credits beyond the B.A. are required, even in the case of students holding a “Licenciatura” or similar diploma. This also holds true for students who have taken graduate level courses through Continuing Education at this or another university, if those credits were used to complete a degree. In cases where credits were not used to complete another degree, the student may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for the transfer of up to 6 credits. However, credits taken in Spanish and Portuguese in our program not used to complete another degree are transferred automatically.  The courses to be transferred must have been taken no more than 3 years prior to the student’s acceptance into the M.A. Program.

Foreign Language:
Reading knowledge of an additional foreign language related to the student’s professional needs to be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor and/or the Graduate Program Director.  This requirement, which should be completed as early as possible in the student’s career, may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:

  • By the Princeton examination when available (“Intermediate level” minimum score 450).
  • If the Princeton examination is not available, by examinations given by the departmental units which offer those languages.
  • By earning a minimum grade of B in a 240 level class or above at UMass, within the preceding 3 years.
  • By special arrangement, when circumstances dictate: students may transfer prior validation of reading knowledge. The Graduate Program Director will grant waivers to students with formal training in the languages, such as an undergraduate major or minor, appropriate courses, etc. Unusual cases will be referred to the Graduate Studies Committee.
  •  By passing the intensive course in Portuguese or Catalan for graduate students with a minimum grade of B (only for students whose field of concentration is Spanish). 
  • By examination either given by the department that offers the language or by a qualified faculty member.

 

Tracks:

Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

Areas of Specialization:

  1. Medieval/Golden Age Spanish Literature and Culture
  2. Modern Spanish Literature and Culture
  3. Spanish American Literature and Culture from the Encounter to 1820
  4. Spanish American Literature and Culture from 1820 to the Present
  5. U.S. Latino/a Literature and Culture

Course Requirements (30 credits): 

Students must take: 

  • At least three graduate courses (9 credits) in their area of specialization (at least one of these must be at the 600-700 level).
  • At least two graduate courses (6 credits) in minor area.
  • One course in Literary Theory: may be taken outside the SpanPort unit (3 credits).
  • Up to two electives can be taken outside the unit of Spanish and Portuguese, in consultation with the student's advisor.
  • Methodology course for all students that are teaching associates or teaching assistants.
  • At least 12 credits must be at 600-700 level.

Advising: During the first semester in the program each M.A. candidate will be advised by a professor of Hispanic literature assigned by the GPD. By the second semester, the M.A. student must choose an advisor in his/her area of specialization. The student may change his/her advisor when appropriate and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

Double Concentration Option: A student may request a double concentration, individually designed, in the Literatures and Cultures of both the Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds. The request must be submitted for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee in consultation with the student's advisor.



Lusophone Literatures and Cultures

Areas of Specialization:     

  1. Medieval and Renaissance Portuguese Literature and Culture
  2. Modern Portuguese Literature and Culture
  3. Early Brazilian Literature and Culture
  4. Contemporary Brazilian Literature and Culture
  5. Lusophone African Literature and Culture

Course Requirements:  30 credits, 12 of which must be at 600-700 level (6 credits in the area of examination, 3 credits in the field of concentration and another  3 credits in any area or field).

Core credits: 18 core credits covering all five (5) areas of specialization.

Contact areas: (6 core credits)  One graduate course in each of the following areas:

  1. Hispanic Linguistics.  Students of Portuguese may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for a replacement if the course is not pertinent to their area.
  2. Literary Theory

Electives:  (6 core credits)  Two graduate level courses, which may be taken at the graduate level outside the unit of Spanish and Portuguese. It is strongly advised that students whose field of concentration is Spanish and Spanish American Literatures and Cultures take one or both of these courses in Lusophone  Literatures and Cultures, and vice versa.

Double Concentration Option: A student may request a double concentration, individually designed, in the Literatures and Cultures of both the Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds. The request must be submitted for approval by the Graduate Studies Committee in consultation with the student's advisor.



Hispanic Linguistics

Areas of Specialization:

  1. Sociolinguistics/Dialectology/Bilingualism
  2. Applied Linguistics/Language Acquisition
  3. Syntax/Semantics
  4. Pragmatics/Discourse Analysis
  5. Phonetics/Phonology

Core areas (18 credits): Students must take six graduate courses in at least three of the major areas of Hispanic linguistics. A minimum of two courses in the area of specialization is required. Up to three courses may be taken outside the unit of Spanish and Portuguese, provided the language subject of research is, for the most part, a Hispanic language.

Contact Areas (6 credits): Two graduate courses, in the areas listed below:

  1. Another area of linguistics approved by the advisor
  2. Latin American Literature and Culture
  3. Peninsular Literature and Culture
  4. Portuguese Literature and Culture
  5. Brazilian Literature and Culture
  6. U.S. Latino/a Literature and Culture
  7. Education
  8. Psychology
  9. Translation Studies
  10. Cognitive Science

Electives: (6 credits) Two courses in other areas of linguistics at the graduate level. These courses may be taken outside the Spanish and Portuguese unit, provided the language subject of research is, for the most part, a Hispanic language.

Advising: During the first semester in the program each M.A. candidate will be advised by a professor of Hispanic linguistics assigned by the GPD. By the second semester, the M.A. student must choose an advisor in his/her area of specialization. The student may change his/her advisor when appropriate and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

 

Master Thesis or Master Exam

It is highly recommended that the Examination or Thesis be completed by the fourth semester by ALL students.  Click on the links below for complete reading lists in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, and Hispanic Linguistics.
Reading Lists:

  1. Master Exam: Peninsular Literatures and Cultures
  2. Master Exam: Latin American and US Latino Literatures and Cultures
  3. Master Exam: Hispanic Linguistics
  4. Master Exam: Portuguese Literature and Culture

M.A. EXAM Rules and Regulations for Examinees:

  • Pre-requisites for Examination: Completion of all requirements for the degree, except currently enrolled courses. All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the examination.
  • Credits:  A master’s candidate who opts to do the exam may register for six Master’s Practicum credits (Hispan 698) beyond the 30 credits required for the MA.
  • Exam date: The exam will be administered twice a year, during the 10th week of each Semester.
  • Format of the exam:  Two day in class exams in which the students choose 4 sub-area lists from the reading lists. The exam consists of questions on two sub-areas per day. The student may choose to write his/her examination in either the target language (Spanish or Portuguese) or English.
  • Reading list: Students are examined in two areas (major and minor) Each area has 3 subareas lists (each of 15 texts). Students choose two subareas lists per area (total 60 texts).

M.A. THESIS Rules and Regulations for Examinees:

  • Pre-requisites for the Thesis Defense: Completion of all requirements for the degree, except currently enrolled courses. All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the defense.
  • Credits:  A master’s candidate, who opts to do a thesis may register for six thesis credits (Hispan 699).
  • Committee:  The student is expected to choose the members of his/her thesis committee in consultation with his/her advisor. The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the Director of the unit, will recommend the thesis committee to the Graduate Dean, who will make the appointment. The thesis committee will consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty. The chair of the committee must be a member of the unit in the area of specialization of the thesis.
  • The proposal for the M.A. Thesis must be approved and signed by the committee at least 4 months in advance of the defense.
  • Defense:  The candidate has the option of a closed or an open thesis defense.  If “closed” is chosen, only members of the unit’s faculty may attend and participate.  If  “open” is chosen, any graduate student or faculty member may attend and participate.  Only the committee members may participate in the evaluation of the thesis.  The student is to indicate the open or closed status of the defense as part of the notice of intent to defend the thesis.
  • The Thesis Director will inform the graduate secretary of the results of the thesis defense.
  • The text of the thesis should be approximately 75-100 pages.  For the format, please follow the Graduate School Guidelines for Preparing Thesis Manuscripts

Grading System for both the MA thesis and the MA exam:

  • High Pass and Pass: the examinee may proceed automatically to the Ph.D. Program but must apply first.
  • Terminal Pass: the examinee receives an MA in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures but is denied entry to the PhD Program. Student cannot take the exam again.
  • Fail: the examinee does not receive a MA in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures and therefore is not allowed to continue to the Ph.D. program. Student is allowed to take the exam one more time at the following session in order to be eligible to receive a terminal pass.

General Administrative Issues

Credit for incompletes can be obtained only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. The Department strongly discourages the practice of requesting and granting incompletes. Graduate faculty should check students’ transcripts before granting incompletes. Advisors should keep track of their advisees’ progress and intervene promptly when problems develop. Once a year, the Graduate Studies Committee will review the cases of students with two incompletes. Appropriate warnings will be made by the Graduate Program Director and the Department Director. If the situation is not corrected in a timely fashion, the student may be dismissed and/or lose funding. All incompletes must be removed from a student’s transcript before she/he may petition for admission into the Ph.D. program.

Independent Study courses for the MA program can be counted towards the respective degree. All requests for Independent Study courses must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval. A descriptive proposal and the consent of the professor must be included in the petition presented to the GSC by the end of the pre-registration period. (A change of level in an existing course does not constitute an Independent Study.) When registering for an approved Independent Study the student and the professor must be sure to supply a brief title of the course.

In exceptional circumstances, variances to the program may be requested with the approval of the student’s advisor and the Graduate Program Director, who must refer the petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.

These guideline are intended to supplement the applicable regulations of the Graduate School with which the student should be familiar. Copies of the Graduate School Bulletin, the Graduate School handbook, the Typing Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations and other publications can be obtained at the Graduate School.

 These guidelines will apply to all MA students entering the graduate program in the fall of 2013 and thereafter. Students who entered the program before this date may follow these guidelines if they wish.

[top]

Ph.D. in Hispanic Literatures, Cultures & Linguistics

Requirements
  • Twenty-four course credits beyond the thirty credits required for the M.A., plus twelve dissertation credits. A minimum of fifteen course credits must be taken in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. All courses taken inside and outside the Department of Spanish and Portuguese require prior approval of the Graduate Program Director or the student’s advisor.
  • All 12 dissertation credits must be taken before a student leaves the university, while their tuition waiver is in effect. If a student fails to take these credits while in residence, s/he must pay full tuition.
  • Reading knowledge of an additional foreign language related to the student's professional needs. This language should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor and/or the Graduate Program Director. This requirement, which should be completed as early as possible in the student's career, may be fulfilled in one of the following ways:
    • By the Princeton examination when available (“Intermediate level” minimum score 450).
    • If the Princeton examination is not available, by examinations given by the departmental units which offer those languages.
    • By earning a minimum grade of B in a 240 level class or above at UMass, within the preceding 3 years.
    • By special arrangement, when circumstances dictate: students may transfer prior validation of reading knowledge. The Graduate Program Director will grant waivers to students with formal training in the languages, such as an undergraduate major or minor, appropriate courses, etc. Unusual cases will be referred to the Graduate Studies Committee.
    •  By passing the intensive course in Portuguese or Catalan for graduate students with a minimum grade of B (only for students whose field of concentration is Spanish). 
    • By examination either given by the department that offers the language or by a qualified faculty member.

Tracks

Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

Major area: (9 credits) Three graduate courses in one of the following areas:

  1. Medieval/Golden Age Spanish Literature and Culture
  2. Modern Spanish Literature and Culture
  3. Spanish American Literature and Culture from the Encounter to 1820
  4. Spanish American Literature and Culture from 1820 to the Present
  5. U.S. Latino/a Literature and Culture
  6. Medieval and Renaissance Portuguese Literature and Culture
  7. Modern Portuguese Literature & Culture/Portuguese Immigrant Literature and Culture
  8. Early Brazilian Literature and Culture
  9. Contemporary Brazilian Literature and Culture
  10. Lusophone African Literature and Culture
  11. A genre (prose fiction, poetry, theater, non-fiction prose), covering all areas of Spanish and Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures
  12. Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture, covering all areas of Spanish and Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures
  13. Hispanic film, covering all areas of Spanish and Spanish America or Lusophone cinema.
  14. Another topic choosen in agreement with the advisor.

Minor area: (6 credits) Two graduate courses different from the major in one of the following areas:

  1. One of the areas from a to m above.
  2. A genre (prose fiction, poetry, theater, non-fiction prose), covering at least three areas of Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures, excluding the major area.
  3. Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture, covering four Areas of Spanish and Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures, one of which must be the area of the major.
  4. Hispanic film, covering all areas of Spanish and Spanish America or Lusophone cinema.
  5. Literary Theory.
  6. One of the areas of specialization of Hispanic linguistics.
  7. A special topic, which could be of an interdisciplinary nature, subject to the approval of the departments involved, the Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Program Director and the student’s advisor.

Electives: (9 credits) 3 graduate courses. These courses may be taken outside of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

At least two (6 credits) of the eight courses required for the Ph.D. must be 700 level seminars, including one in the major field.


Hispanic Linguistics

Areas of Specialization:

  1. Sociolinguistics/Dialectology/Bilingualism
  2. Language Acquisition/Applied Linguistics
  3. Syntax/Semantics
  4. Pragmatics/Discourse Analysis
  5. Phonetics/Phonology

Major Area: (12 credits)
Four graduate courses in the areas of specialization of the student; at least two courses in the core area of specialization in the unit of Spanish and Portuguese, and up to two other courses in a related area of specialization with the approval of the advisor.

Minor Area: (6 credits)
Two graduate courses in another area of Hispanic linguistics, different from the areas of specialization. These courses may be taken outside the unit of Spanish and Portuguese, provided the language subject of research is, for the most part, a Hispanic language.

Electives: (6 credits)
Two graduate courses in the following areas other than the field of specialization with the approval of the advisor. These courses may be taken outside the unit of Spanish and Portuguese, provided the language subject of research is, for the most part, a Hispanic language.

  1. Another area of specialization in Hispanic linguistics
  2. Medieval Spanish /Golden Age Spanish Literature and Culture.
  3. Modern Spanish Literature and Culture
  4. Spanish American Literature and Culture from the Encounter to 1820.
  5. Spanish American Literature and Culture from 1820 to the Present
  6. U.S. Latino/a Literature and Culture
  7. Medieval and Renaissance Portuguese Literature and Culture
  8. Modern Portuguese Literature and Culture/Portuguese Immigrant Literature and Culture
  9. Early Brazilian Literature and Culture
  10. Contemporary Brazilian Literature and Culture
  11. Lusophone African Literature and Culture
  12. A genre (prose fiction, poetry, theater, non-fiction prose), covering at least three areas of Spanish and Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures.
  13. Hispanic Women’s Literature, covering four areas of Spanish and Spanish American or Lusophone Literatures and Cultures.
  14. Literary Theory.
  15. A special topic, which could be of an interdisciplinary nature, subject to the approval of the departments involved, the Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Program Director and the student's advisor.

At least two (6 credits) of the eight courses required for the Ph.D. must be 700 level seminars, including one in the major field.

Advising: During the first semester in the program each M.A. candidate will be advised by a professor of Hispanic linguistics that is assigned by the GPD. By the second semester, the M.A. student must choose an advisor in his/her area of specialization. The student may change his/her advisor when appropriate and in consultation with the Graduate Program Director.

[top]

Comprehensive Examinations


General Requirements

Administration of Examinations: All requirements for the major and/or the minor must be finished before a student is allowed to take the examination for the major and/or the minor. All incompletes must be cleared prior to the administration of the examinations. Course work and the reading lists prepared for the major and minor areas will serve as the basis for the examinations. The student will discuss each reading list with all examination committee members, who will make sure that it is appropriate, bearing in mind that the student is expected to show great familiarity with secondary, as well as primary sources in the examination.

Pre-requisites for Examination: Completion of all requirements for the degree, except currently enrolled courses. All incompletes must be cleared prior to the administration of the examination. Course work and the reading list prepared for the area of specialization will serve as the basis for the examination. The student will discuss the reading list with all examination committee members, who will make sure that it is appropriate, bearing in mind that the student is expected to show some familiarity with secondary, as well as primary, sources in the examination.

Committee: The student’s advisor will serve as chair of the examining committee. The dissertation committee is not necessarily made up of the same members as the examining committee. The examination committee will consist of two permanent members: the advisor plus one other members of the graduate faculty. The committee members will be chosen by the student and will be appointed by the Graduate Program Director. Changes in committees already appointed may be effected with the approval of the Graduate Program Director.

Scheduling of Examinations: The examinations will be given at the
convenience of the student, the examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. Requests for examinations must be made in writing to the Graduate Program Director at least one month prior to the date being set. Summer examinations are discouraged and, in any case, must be requested by April 1.
NOTE: Examination questions may be sent to a student via e-mail, or fax.

Evaluation of Examinations: Evaluation of examinations is by a majority vote of the examining committee members. Candidates will be notified in writing by the Graduate Program Director of their success or failure within two weeks of the examinations. The comprehensive examinations are graded Pass with Honors, Pass, Pass with Reservations, or Fail. The chair of each examining committee will also provide the student with a written evaluation of his/her exam upon written request by the student. In the case of failure the comprehensive examinations may be re-taken only once, normally within one year, during which time the student must maintain course enrollment or pay the Program Fee each semester, as required by the Graduate School.

Lusophone Literatures and Cultures

Major Examination (written and oral components)

Written Exam: The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book examination to be taken on two consecutive days. Each session will be timed for four hours. OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time s/he picks up the examination questions to the time s/he returns the completed examination. The student may choose to write his/her examination in either English, Portuguese or Spanish with the approval of his/her examining committee.
NOTE: Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

Oral Exam: A two-hour oral examination, including a presentation of a paper prepared in advance, with notes or other resources as the candidate chooses. The paper, which must deal with a topic in the student's major field of specialization, is to be entirely the work of the student; only the subject or title having been approved by the major advisor. The paper may not be a version of a paper presented earlier in a course. It is to be no longer than 20 minutes, so that there is enough time for the remainder of the oral examination. This consists of questions on the paper, questions on the written examination, and other questions in the major area.

Students may choose to have their Ph.D. oral examinations totally open, totally closed, or semi-open. The latter means that any graduate student in the department may come to the oral presentation and then leave prior to the question period. If "closed" is chosen, only members of the department's faculty may attend and participate. (If "open" is chosen, any graduate student or faculty member in the department may attend and participate.) Only the committee members may participate in the evaluation of the examination. The student is to indicate to the graduate secretary which option s/he prefers as part of the notice of intent to be examined. The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English, Spanish or Portuguese) with the committee's approval. The oral presentation normally will be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student's examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. The written and oral examinations will not be evaluated as separate parts, but as a whole.

Minor Examination

The student will have a choice of examinations: An eight-hour closed book written examination to be taken in two consecutive days. Each session will be timed for four hours. OR An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time s/he picks up the examination questions to the time s/he returns the completed examination. The student may choose to write his/her examination in either English, Portuguese or Spanish with the approval of his/her examining committee.
NOTE: Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

The PhD exam will be taken preferably before the end of the 4th semester. It will have three parts.

  1. A written exam on a reading list established with the advisor. The reading may include primary texts and criticism on both the student's minor and major fields or rather focus on the student's major field. Either way, the list may include no more than a fourth of texts immediately relevant for the student's dissertation topic. (Approx. 50 texts). Students have the option of a five-day, take-home exam on a reading list, or of a two-day closed exam on campus (three hours per day, one question per day)
  2. Students will prepare for journal submission an article of 7,000-8,000 words in length. This article should result from the revision and further elaboration of a piece of the student's graduate work, such as a seminar paper, or on the dissertation topic. Students will need to turn in their article the first day of their written exam.
  3. Within ten days after the written exam , students will give a presentation on their article to the exam committee. A discussion will follow, which will encompass the student's article and written exam.

Hispanic Linguistics

Major Examination (written and oral components)

Written Exam: The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book examination to be taken on two consecutive days. Each session will be timed for four hours. OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time s/he picks up the examination questions to the time s/he returns the completed examination. The student may choose to write his/her examination in either English, Portuguese or Spanish with the approval of his/her examining committee.
NOTE: Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

Oral Exam: A two-hour oral examination, including a presentation of a paper prepared in advance, with notes or other resources as the candidate chooses. The paper, which must deal with a topic in the student's major field of specialization, is to be entirely the work of the student; only the subject or title having been approved by the major advisor. The paper may not be a version of a paper presented earlier in a course. It is to be no longer than 20 minutes, so that there is enough time for the remainder of the oral examination. This consists of questions on the paper, questions on the written examination, and other questions in the major area.

Students may choose to have their Ph.D. oral examinations totally open, totally closed, or semi-open. The latter means that any graduate student in the department may come to the oral presentation and then leave prior to the question period. If "closed" is chosen, only members of the department's faculty may attend and participate. (If "open" is chosen, any graduate student or faculty member in the department may attend and participate.) Only the committee members may participate in the evaluation of the examination. The student is to indicate to the graduate secretary which option s/he prefers as part of the notice of intent to be examined. The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English, Spanish or Portuguese) with the committee’s approval. The oral presentation normally will be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student’s examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. The written and oral examinations will not be evaluated as separate parts, but as a whole.

Minor Examination

The student will have a choice of examinations: An eight-hour closed book written examination to be taken in two consecutive days. Each session will be timed for four hours. OR An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time s/he picks up the examination questions to the time s/he returns the completed examination. The student may choose to write his/her examination in either English, Portuguese or Spanish with the approval of his/her examining committee.
NOTE: Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

Dissertation

Credits: In addition to the twenty-four course credits, twelve dissertation credits (Hispan 899) must be taken prior to defending the dissertation.

Committee: The student is expected to choose the members of his/her dissertation committee in consultation with his/her advisor. The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the chairperson, will then recommend a dissertation committee to the Graduate Dean, who will make the appointment. The dissertation committee will consist of at least three members of the university's graduate faculty, two from the program -- one of them the dissertation director -- and one from outside the discipline of the student. The dissertation committee is not necessarily made up of the same members as the examining committee. Once appointed, changes in the dissertation committee may be effected only with the authorization of the Graduate Dean. NOTE: All members of a dissertation committee must be physically present for the dissertation defense.

Prospectus/Proposal/Outline:
A prospectus should be submitted to the student’s dissertation committee preferably within six months, but no later than one year after completing the comprehensive examinations.
A discussion of the prospectus will be held with all the members of the student’s dissertation committee, but any member of the departmental faculty can attend. This can be open or closed, as with major examinations or dissertation defenses.

Dissertation defense: If "closed" is chosen, only members of the department's faculty and the university's graduate faculty may attend and participate. If "open" is chosen, any graduate student or faculty member in the university may attend and participate. Only the committee members may participate in the evaluation of the dissertation. The student is to indicate the open or closed decision as part of the notice of intent to defend the dissertation. (FOR MORE DETAILS CONSULT UNIVERSITY REGULATIONS)

[top]

Additional Guidelines


Note: Teaching Associates/Assistants may only teach one course (or the equivalence of one course) per semester, as outlined in their yearly contract.

Policies and Practices for Appointments and Reappointments of Teaching Assistants and Associates in Spanish and Portuguese
  • Applicants to our graduate programs who check off the appropriate box in the Graduate School application form are automatically considered for Teaching Assistantships or Associateships at the time their applications are reviewed. The review is carried out by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) and the Graduate Program Director (GPD) of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Students admitted into our graduate programs are ranked by the GSC for the purposes of awarding TAships and/or TOships. The criteria used for ranking students for funding is the same as those used to determine admission to the graduate programs: academic record, personal statement, GRE scores and letters of recommendation. Native or near-native fluency in either Spanish or Portuguese is a determining factor in the awarding of TAships and/or TOships.
  • Students are normally offered a full Teaching Assistantship for which they have to teach four course sections per academic year, two in the fall and two in the spring and/or a full Teaching Associateship for which they have to teach two courses per academic year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Occasionally, graduate students are offered only a 1/2 TA or TO-ship.
  • Students awarded a full or partial TAship or TOship upon admission have the TAship or TOship renewed subject to the following conditions: satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory teaching evaluations. Beyond the admission year TAship or TOship if awarded, students seeking a Master’s degree are normally renewed for one additional academic year (two years in total). If pursuing the Ph.D., students receiving an admission year TAship or TOship are normally renewed for three additional years, one year at a time (four years in total). A “year” consists of two semesters, beginning with the semester of first entry into the Program. It is possible for students to request an additional year of TAship or TOship, but these requests are contingent upon available Program funding, and the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. It should be noted that Master’s students requesting an extra year of TAship or TOship will be using a year of their Ph.D. funding, should they go on to pursue a Ph.D. at UMass Amherst.
  • In cases where a partial 1/2 TAship or TOship is awarded upon entry, Spanish and Portuguese will make every effort to award a full TAship or TOship in subsequent years.
  • University fellowships or assistantships in our programs abroad (Granada and Oviedo) will NOT count as part of the renewal process for graduate students and do not count against the student’s available years of funding as outlined in number 4 above.
  • In cases where a student defers admission to the Program to the following year, the application for a TAship or TOship is again ranked and reconsidered along with those of other applicants for the year in which the student enters the Program officially.
  • All Teaching Assistants and Associates will be notified by April 15th of their final year of funding that their TAship or TOship will expire at the end of the academic year in question. In addition, all other Teaching Assistants and Associates will be informed of the status of their current TAship or TOship.
  • For further information on funding, financial aid, and TAships and TOships, please visit http://www.umass.edu/spanport/programs/index.html.

[top]

Criteria for Teaching Assignments for Graduate Students
  • Availability:
    • Graduate Students who receive a TAship through Spanish and Portuguese should expect to teach 100 and 200 level language courses for the duration of their funding.
    • 300-level courses should be primarily taught by faculty members. These courses can be assigned to Graduate Students, in the event that there are no faculty members available to teach them. Because there are fewer 300-level classes available than instructors interested in teaching them, Graduate Students should not expect to teach those classes.
  • Definitions (for the purpose of this document):
    • Teaching Assistants: TAs are responsible for discussion sessions and grading in courses that are primarily taught by a faculty member.
    • Teaching Associates: TOs are responsible for the individual classes they teach in courses that are supervised by a faculty member, such as 100 and 200 level courses, and some 300 level courses. These Graduate Students must be qualified to work effectively with less direct supervision.
  • TA Assignment for 300-level classes:
    • The professor who teaches a course with TAs will be solely responsible for selecting and training the TAs to perform their duties according to the expected academic standards.
  • TO Assignment for 300-level classes:
    • The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) will be responsible for evaluating the petition from Graduate Students who would like to teach a 300-level course.
    • Preference will be given to Graduate Students who are making adequate progress towards their degree according to the milestones described in our guidelines.
    • Seniority will be used as one of the criteria for course assignment. PhD students who are ABD will have priority over PhD students who have not completed their candidacy exams. All PhD students will have priority over MA students.
    • Graduate Students who request a 300-level course should demonstrate their qualification to teach it. Preference will be given to students whose areas of expertise are similar to the area of the course.
    • Previous teaching performance will be used to determine eligibility to teach a 300-level course, including student evaluations, classroom observations, and the evaluation of their current or previous supervisors, such as a language program director or other faculty members with supervising role.
    • The student advisor should sign the petition to demonstrate his/her support.
    • Provided all the criteria stated above are respected, the GSC will give preference to students who have not taught 300-level courses in previous years, to ensure that the largest number of Graduate Students possible have the chance to do it.

[top]

Statute of Limitations
  • The Graduate School sets the expected graduation term for each student based on its rules for the Statute of Limitations (SOL). These rules can be found at item "e" on the Graduate Student Handbook web page: http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/current-students/graduate-student-handbook/1-enrollment
  • The Graduate School stipulates that students who wish to request an extension of their SOL must show that “satisfactory and reasonable progress” is being made towards their degree.
  • According to the milestones that have been established for our program, satisfactory progress by the end of the initial SOL time frame means that the student must have at least completed all the coursework (with no incompletes), taken the minor candidacy exam, and be actively working with his/her adviser to take the major candidacy exam. Please notice that those are the minimum requirements for an SOL extension.
  • Requests for SOL extensions will only be considered if the minimum requirements stated in the item above are satisfied. The request should be accompanied by a "plan of work" that will consist of a list of the activities to be completed in every semester of the extension (i.e, divided in 4 semesters). The "plan of work" has to be signed by the adviser.
  • After the first SOL extension, future extensions are contingent upon the completion of at least a significant part of the activities listed on the "plan of work".
Incompletes

Credit for "incompletes" can be obtained only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. The department strongly discourages the practice of requesting and granting "incompletes." Graduate faculty should check students' transcripts before granting incompletes. Advisors should keep track of their advisees' progress and intervene promptly when problems develop. Once a year, the Graduate Studies Committee will review the cases of all students with incompletes. Appropriate warnings will be made by the Graduate Program Director and the Department Chair. If the situation is not corrected in a timely fashion, the student may be dismissed and/or lose funding. Whether or not they have a Master's degree or wish to obtain one, all Ph.D. students must meet all of the departmental M.A. course requirements, if they have not done so already before taking any comprehensive exams.

[top]

Other Administrative Matters

As noted in the Graduate School Bulletin, a minimum of one academic year as a full-time graduate student in residence at the University is required. The residence year must consist of two consecutive semesters, either a fall-spring or a spring-fall sequence. In order to qualify for full-time status, a student must be enrolled for nine or more credits per semester, either in regular graduate courses or for Doctoral Dissertation credits (Hispan 899) or in some combination of residence a student must be physically present on the campus for some part of each week during the semester, although the student need not reside or be domiciled in the Amherst area.

Deadlines:

  • The foreign language requirement should be fulfilled by the sixth semester.
  • The comprehensive examinations should be completed by the eighth semester.
  • The prospectus should be submitted to the student’s dissertation committee preferably within six months, but no later than one year after completing the comprehensive examinations.

Students' progress towards the degree will be assessed yearly by the Graduate Studies Committee.

No more than two Independent Study courses at the Ph.D. level can be counted towards the degree. The Graduate Studies Committee must approve any Independent Study course. A descriptive proposal and the consent of the professor must be included in the petition presented to the GSC by the end of the pre-registration period. Students who have incompletes will not be allowed to take Independent Studies.

In exceptional circumstances, variances to the program may be effected with the approval of the student's advisor and the Graduate Program Director, who must refer the petition to the Graduate Studies Committee.

These guidelines are intended to supplement the applicable regulations of the Graduate School with which the student should be familiar. Copies of the Graduate School Bulletin, the Graduate School Handbook, the Typing Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertation and other publications can be obtained at the Graduate School.

These guidelines will apply to all Ph.D. students entering the graduate Program in the Fall of 2002 and thereafter. Students who entered the program before this date may follow these guidelines if they wish.

FINAL NOTE: Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with The Graduate Student Handbook for University guidelines.

[top]