Master's Degree Requirements

We offer MA programs in French, Italian, Spanish, and Romance Languages. Our MA in Romance Languages allows students combine study of two languages. Students will gain broad cultural expertise, acquire familiarity with theoretical perspectives and methodologies appropriate to their disciplines, acquire professional presentation experience through the Fall Forum, and deepen their research and writing skills through the MA Essay. The Master of Arts program consists of:

Graduate Student Manual


A minimum of 52 graduate credits are required for the MA. All courses that count toward the fulfillment of degree requirements must be taken on a graded basis. Students must receive a grade of B- or above to count toward degree requirements. Distribution of course requirements for the MA is as follows:

All MA programs:

  • RL 636 Language and Teaching Methods (4 credits)

  • RL 620 Graduate Study in RL (4 credits)

  • RL 623 Romance Languages Colloquium (4 credits)

  • RL 601 Reading (4 credits)

Remaining coursework should be taken in French, Italian, Spanish, or Romance Languages courses. Students may take up to two courses outside of the RL department. They may take up to one reading and conference course to address a specific problem or project on which no course currently exists.

MA in French

  • 1 course in pre-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 1 course in post-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 7 additional courses (28 credits)

MA in Italian

  • 1 course in pre-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 1 course in post-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 7 additional courses (28 credits)

MA in Spanish: Students choose between two options

Option 1:

  • 1 course in pre-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 1 course in post-1800 cultures (4 credits)

  • 1 course in Spanish linguistics or pedagogy (4 credits)

  • 6 additional courses (24 credits)

Option 2:

  • 1 course in literature and culture (4 credits)

  • 2 courses in Spanish linguistics or pedagogy (8 credits)

  • 6 additional courses (24 credits)


MA in Romance Languages:

  • 1 course in pre-1800 cultures in major language (4 credits)

  • 1 course in post-1800 cultures in major language (4 credits)

  • 3 additional courses in major language (12 credits)

  • 4 courses in minor language (16 credits)

MA students who are teaching take FR, ITAL or SPAN 609 1st year Pedagogy or FR, ITAL or SPAN 609 2nd year Pedagogy (2 credits), which requires weekly meetings with their teaching supervisor and provides training that prepares them further to teach their classes successfully.

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Fall Forum Presentation and Paper

The purpose of this required independent project is to give students a chance to begin to form their MA Essay topic, gain experience presenting their research in a professional setting, and receive and integrate feedback as they begin to prepare their MA Essay.

In the Spring of the first year, students choose a Fall Forum essay topic and approach a potential faculty advisor. The topic may stem from a paper they wrote in their first year, or it may be a new research topic. Together with their advisor, students compose a reading list of 10 primary and secondary works that comprise the MA Essay Reading assignment. Generally these are a mix of core works for the student’s chosen field and important works that will support the student’s chosen topic. Students consult with their advisor to plan their Fall Forum paper, to be presented in Fall of the second year. 

The Fall Forum takes place in the first half of the Fall term in the second year of the MA, and is organized as an academic panel discussion. Students present a short paper of 6-7 pages in which they present an initial draft of their MA Essay. 

Presentations are 15 minutes long and are delivered in English. At the end of the presentations, there is a question-and-answer session. Faculty meet to evaluate the presentations and provide feedback and suggestions for each student. 

Students write a 1-page substantial reading response (reflection/ analysis) for each work on their MA Essay reading list, which serves as additional preparation for their MA Essay, due during the Fall term. 

Upon satisfactory completion of the Fall Forum presentation and MA Essay Reading Assignment, students receive credit for the RL 601 course.

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MA Essay or Pedagogy Portfolio

The MA Essay or Pedagogy Portfolio allows students to continue to develop their Fall Forum topic in close consultation with their advisor and a second reader. The MA Essay should be between 7000-9000 words. In consultation with the advisor, the student decides whether to write the essay in a Romance Language or in English. The Director of Graduate Studies makes a final assignment of the second faculty reader by the end of the Fall term of the student’s second year. 

By the end of the Winter term of the second year, students should submit a full draft of the MA essay to both the advisor and the second reader. The advisor and second reader will provide written feedback to the student early in the Spring term. The student should consult with the advisor and second reader as needed to revise the essay and resubmit it to both the advisor and second reader. The advisor and second reader come to a consensus on evaluating the essay.

The Pedagogy Portfolio is an alternative to the Essay. This project allows students to explore in depth specific issues of teaching language, literature, and/ or culture. The contents of the Portfolio are designed in consultation with the advisor and serve to demonstrate the student’s professional expertise. The Portfolio may include documents such as: a coherent collection of teaching materials supported by a theoretical rationale; a description, personal assessment, and third-party evaluation of an internship experience (e.g. participatory learning experience at UO); a formal philosophy of teaching statement; documentation of participation in a professional conference; and other components recommended by the advisor.

Students who plan to apply to the PhD program in Romance Languages or Spanish at the University of Oregon must complete the MA Essay.

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