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Department of Languages and Literatures

UNISSIST Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive Exams

  Sample Questions - Checklist - Reading Lists


General Information

All candidates for graduate degrees in Spanish must pass a comprehensive examination. Under the non-thesis option the candidate must have completed all coursework in her/his program of study or be in the final academic session to complete the work. The research paper must be complete and have preliminary approval before the comprehensive examination can be taken.

Students must give notice that they intend to take the M.A. exam a minimum of one month in advance. Exams will be administered during the academic year on the UNI Campus between Sept. 15-Nov. 15 for the fall semester and between February 1-April 15 for the spring semester (not including UNIÕs spring break). Schedules for Summer comprehensives may vary and will be posted during the previous Spring semester.

Research Paper: The research paper must have preliminary approval before the candidate may take the comprehensive examination.

Committee: The committee consists of three members of the UNI DML graduate faculty when possible. The committee chair must be a UNI graduate faculty member, but need not be the candidate's advisor or one of the research paper readers.

Examination: The examination will consist of two days of written portions, with a maximum of five hours per day, followed by an oral portion on a third day, with a maximum duration of two hours.

Under the Standard M.A. plan, all sections of the examination must be written in Spanish and the oral portion conducted in Spanish.

Questions for the written portions of the examination will be selected by all three members of the committee under the coordination of the committee chair. Questions will be selected from an existing ÒBank of M.A. Examination Questions" or designed ad hoc with the approval of all members of the committee. Sample questions are available. These are to be used by the candidate for preparation for the comprehensive examination. Candidates are not to receive actual examination questions in advance.

The examination committee performs the evaluation of the written exams and their approval is decided by a vote.

All sections of the comprehensive examination must be passed before official approval of the comprehensive examination can be forwarded to the Office of the Registrar. In exceptional cases, when extenuating circumstances have inhibited the examination process, an M.A. candidate may be permitted to retake (once) one section of the written comprehensive exam. This privilege will only be extended when the examining committee deems it appropriate.

The comprehensive examination is based entirely on the pertinent reading list, not on classes taken by the candidate. The following are the areas that included in the respective M.A. programs:

Examination Standard M.A. in Spanish

Areas of Written and Oral Exams: The committee will prepare several question for each area. Students will answer one of these questions in each category.

First Day:

  • 1. Spanish Literature (question from different periods)

    2. Culture and Civilization (questions include Spanish, Latin American and Latinos in the US)

    3. Grammar/Linguistics/Translation (select one of these sub-categories)*

Second Day:

  • Spanish American literature

    Comparative Literature

Third Day:

  • Oral exam

  • *There will be several questions under Grammar and under Linguistics. Students select one question from the category selected. Translation includes both English to Spanish and Spanish to English


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