Master's Program in Hispanic Studies - Overview

Master's Degree

We revised our MA degree in Hispanic Literary and Cultural Studies in 2001 to foster study of Hispanic culture, literature, and language together. Our program devotes increased attention to the rich diversity of Hispanic cultural texts and to their interdisciplinary study while also promoting broad understanding of Spanish and Latin American literature. The program gives careful attention to acquainting students with the traditions of scholarship in our field as well as a range of current textual theory, criticism and research methods. Study of Portuguese and other Romance literatures and cultures, Comparative Literature, Romance and Spanish Linguistics, and other related disciplines may be included in the Master's Degree program. The degree is earned normally in six academic quarters.

Our MA Graduates

Some graduates of our MA Program pursue careers in teaching at the secondary and community college levels, while others use their Spanish skills in business, politics and translation. Many of our MA students go on to pursue doctoral studies in a variety of fields.


Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is the oldest state-assisted institution of higher education on the Pacific coast. The University's beautiful 700-acre park-like campus borders two lakes in a residential section of Seattle, three miles from the city center. With a student enrollment of 35,000 and a faculty of 3,500, the University has achieved an outstanding, international reputation for its diverse academic programs and distinguished faculty, its notable and varied research contributions, and its broad range of public services.

We invite you to consult for additional information about the University of Washington.


The city's metropolitan population of 3,500,000 (600,000 in Seattle) supports vibrant cultural, educational and recreational institutions, including flourishing opera, symphony, ballet, and professional theater groups, and major-league sports teams. The city hosts a renowned International Film Festival and boasts a lively film, theater, book and café culture. Seattle enjoys a mild climate year-round and is one of the nation's most beautiful, cosmopolitan, and liveable cities.


The nearby Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, the state's abundant lakes and rivers, the waters of Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, as well as the area's productive vineyards, orchards, crop lands, and forests, offer Seattle residents unsurpassed natural beauty and a rich variety of recreational opportunities.

Advanced Study and Research Support

The University of Washington Library system, exceeding 5,000,000 cataloged volumes and more than 50,000 serials, ranks high among the acclaimed American academic research libraries. The University's exceptional support facilities include the generously endowed Simpson Center for the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Research Technology in the Arts and Humanities. The latter provides high-level expertise (including optical scanning, database, and programing support) for the University's humanities departments. The University's many theaters, concert halls, galleries, language-learning and media centers, broadcasting stations, and satellite reception facility, are also used by students and faculty in research, instruction, and performance projects.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies is the home of the Center for Spanish Studies, a cooperative initiative of the Embassy of Spain and the State of Washington, that provides support to teachers and students of Spanish.

Financial Support and the Cost of Study

One form of support available for graduate students is Teaching Assistantships awarded by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. These Academic Student Employee positions are covered under a union contract. The positions pay $13,725 for the 2011-2012 academic year. The pay rate is expected to be similar in 2012-2013. Tuition is about $4,800 per academic quarter for full-time graduate students who are legal residents of Washington state and about $8,925 for nonresident students. Teaching Assistants pay only a few hundred dollars tuition each quarter; the remainder is waived.

Inquiries and Applications

Applications for Teaching and Research Assistantships received by December 15th will be assured preferred consideration for the Department's financial support. Applications for admission to graduate study must also be received by December 15th, for admission the following autumn quarter. For more detailed information and/or to submit an application, please visit the Admission Requirements & Application Forms page.

The Graduate Faculty

(See also Faculty Page)

Farris Anderson (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) Professor Emeritus.

Ana Fernández Dobao (Ph.D., University of Santiago de Compostela) Language Program Director, studies applied linguistics and second language acquisition.

Anthony Geist (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), studies 20th-century Spanish literature (particularly the Generation of '27 and poetry since Franco), Modernism & Postmodernism, and cultural studies.

Donald Gilbert-Santamaría (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) studies the novel and theater of Early Modern Spain. His next major project is a study of autobiography in Early Modern Spain.

Ana Gómez Bravo (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) Department's Chair, studies Medieval Literature.

Leigh Mercer (Ph.D., Brown University) Graduate Program Coordinator, studies 18th- and 19th-century Spanish literature.

Edgar O'Hara (Ph.D., University of Texas) studies Latin American poetry, especially modern and contemporary, as well as poetic theory.

Suzanne Petersen (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) studies the Pan-Hispanic ballad tradition from its origins to our time, and medieval literature, especially poetry (the popular lyric and the Libro de buen amor).

George Shipley (Ph.D., Harvard University) Associate Professor Emeritus.

Adjunct Faculty Members

Adjunct faculty who contribute to the Department's graduate program include the following
(See also Adjunct Faculty Page)

Lauro Flores, Department of American Ethnic Studies

Karen Zagona, Department of Linguistics (Spanish syntax, phonology, history of the language)