College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Graduate FAQ

Who is the Graduate Advisor for the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures?

The current Graduate Advisor of Record (GAR) is Dr. Melissa Wallace. Dr. Wallace advises for the MA in Spanish as well as the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies. Dr. Whitney Chappell advises for the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics.


How do I enroll in a Certificate Program

Students who are already enrolled in a Master’s Degree at UTSA and would like to add on the Graduate Certificate in Spanish Translation and Interpreting Studies should contact Dr. Wallace.   Students who are already enrolled in a Master’s Degree at UTSA and would like to add on the Graduate Certificate in Linguistics should contact Dr. Chappell.

New graduate students should begin by applying to the Graduate School, either as a “special” (non-degree seeking) or as a degree-seeking student. If interested in translation studies, after you have submitted your application contact Dr. Melissa Wallace in order to take the entrance exam.


Do I have to be enrolled in the Spanish MA program if all I want is to take one of the graduate certificates?

No.  You can enroll as a “special” graduate student or add the Translation Certificate or the Linguistics Certificate to another Master's program.


I know I need to carry out an original research project in order to complete my Master’s Degree. What are my options?

Graduate students can choose from a thesis or non-thesis option. Please review the detailed instructions and timeline on the Thesis Proposal pages and discuss your options with the GAR or another faculty member.

Specifically, your first option is to write a comprehensive examination, which currently consists of a 25-page research paper that is presented to the faculty during your last semester.  To complete it you will work closely with your chair and at least two committee members.

The second option is the master’s thesis, which consists of a 65-page research paper. If you are writing a master’s thesis, your comprehensive exam requirement will be satisfied by an oral defense of your thesis proposal, and you will be not be required to write the comprehensive exam research paper. Instead, you will write your master’s thesis and defend it before your chair and at least two committee members.

More information is available about the comprehensive exam option as well as the thesis option for our graduate students. See resources under the “graduate” tab on the department’s web site or contact the GAR.


Comprehensive Exam Request Form

The GAR and support staff will work with you to complete the COLFA Comprehensive Exam Request form.  Once the form has been completed with all necessary signatures, you will be given a schedule and deadlines.

If you are not enrolled in any other classes during the semester that you are taking your comprehensive exam, you need to enroll in SPN 6961.

Once you have applied for graduation and taken your comprehensive exam, you will receive a letter notifying you whether you are graduating and whether you passed your exam. 


Plan for Early Deadlines

You need to plan ahead for your comprehensive exam because the deadlines for final completion generally fall in mid-October and mid-March.  For that reason, you will want to start work on your exam the semester before you plan to complete it.

When you have completed your final paper for the comprehensive examination, electronic copies should be sent to all committee members well in advance of stipulated deadlines. Committee members must receive the comprehensive exam for evaluation at least two weeks before COLFA’s deadline.


I was admitted as a non-degree seeking (“special”) student.  How can I change my status to degree seeking?

Please contact the Graduate School.


I need a Program of Study (POS). Where do I get it?

You should work with the GAR to complete a Program of Study and with the support staff to submit it in the proper format.


How do I transfer classes toward my Master’s Degree?

Under certain circumstances classes taken previously can be applied to your UTSA Master’s Degree plan.  If you want to do this, you first need to work with the GAR to fill out a Transfer of Graduate Credit towards Master’s Degree form.  You will need to provide official transcripts and syllabi for those classes you wish to transfer.   Keep in mind that classes that have been applied to another degree are ineligible. 

The final decision is made by the Graduate School.


I received a letter stating that I am on probation, but my grades are good. Why?

This could occur if you were admitted to the program with conditions that require you to get a certain grade level for a certain number of hours.  Once you fulfill your obligation, the conditions will be removed.   If this continues after the conditions are met, please contact the GAR or the department support office.


How do I apply for graduation?

Most of the information you need can be found on the Graduate School’s website.  Keep in mind that you need to apply for graduation and the deadlines are early, so plan ahead.  If you are graduating with your Master’s Degree and getting a graduate certificate in translation or linguistics, you will have to apply for each individually. At this time, you can apply for graduation for the MA in Spanish online through ASAP. However, application for graduation for one of the graduate certificates is a separate process which involves a physical paper form. If you fail to apply within the deadline you most likely will not be able to graduate. Check the Graduate School website for application dates. If you do not receive notification in a timely manner, please let the support office or the GAR know and we will help you get the information you need.


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Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

University of Texas at San Antonio

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

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San Antonio, TX 78249-1644