Graduate Certificate in Hispanic Cultures, Literature, and Linguistics

The Graduate Certificate in Hispanic Cultures, Literature, and Linguistics at the University of St. Thomas allows you to go beyond mastering the Spanish language.

Throughout the program, students will develop their verbal and written abilities in Spanish, all while engaging with the vibrant intellectual and cultural history of Latin America, Spain and the United States. You will also learn about Hispanic linguistics and language pedagogy. This combined learning will prepare you for a variety of professional fields and help you become a compassionate global citizen at the same time.

Courses are designed to provide maximum access and flexibility to meet the needs of the modern student. The Graduate Certificate meets the needs of educators who seek a credential for teaching college Spanish in Minnesota high schools. More information about course formats and program requirements are laid out below.

Master of Arts in Educational Studies

The M.A. in Educational Studies is an advanced degree for licensed teachers who want to advance their curricular and content knowledge in Spanish. 

What you can earn

Where you will learn

  • Traditional face-to-face courses
  • Online courses
  • Blended courses (50 percent online, 50 percent face-to-face)

When to start

  • Fall - September
  • Spring - February
  • Summer - June

Credits required for certificate: 18

Required Foundational Course: GSPA 510 - Topics in World Languages Teaching (3 cr.)

Plus, students will complete an additional 15 credits in the following areas. Students will choose one course from each area:

Hispanic Culture and Civilization

  • GSPA 515 - Hispanic Cinema Studies (cross-listed with SPAN 415)*
  • GSPA 523 - Hispanic Visual Culture and Literature
  • GSPA 524 - Hispanics in Minnesota and the U.S.
  • GSPA 530 - Exile and Migration in Contemporary Spain

Hispanic Literature

  • GSPA 512 - Chicano and U.S. Latino Literature(s) and Culture(s) (cross-listed with SPAN 412)
  • GSPA 522 - Mexican Literature and Society
  • GSPA 525 - Caribbean Litreature and Cultures
  • GSPA 540 - Topics in Hispanic Culture and Literature (cross-listed with SPAN 489)

Hispanic Linguistics

  • GSPA 517 - Spanish Phonetics and Phonology for Teachers
  • GSPA 519 - Spanish Sociolinguistics
  • GSPA 550 - Topics in Hispanic Linguistics (cross-listed with SPAN 490)

An additional three (3) credits may be distributed between any of the remaining Hispanic Culture and Civilization, Hispanic Literature and Hispanic Linguistics courses.

Finally, students will complete a required capstone course: GSPA 698 - Independent Project (3 cr.)

*Note: Students may not repeat a cross-listed course for graduate credit if the class has already been taken for undergraduate credit at St. Thomas. SPAN 489/GSPA 540 and SPAN 490/GSPA 550 may be taken for credit more than once with different topics, either at the undergraduate and graduate levels, or just at the graduate level.

Application deadlines

  • Fall semester - June 1
  • Spring semester - October 1
  • Summer semester - April 1

Applications received after a deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

  1. A bachelor's degree with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher from an accredited college or university verified by an official transcript.
  2. A minimum of five (5) undergraduate Spanish courses beyond the second-year level with a grade of "B" or better.
  3. Three (3) confidential letters of recommendation. Your letters should address your relevant academic abilities and achievements. Ideally, at least two of your letters should be written by your former professors.
  4. A writing sample, in Spanish, of literary, cultural or linguistic analystic. This 7-15 page, double-spaced paper with one-inch margins should be a close, analytical reading of a text, cultural phenomenon or linguistic phenomenon rather than a broad overview of a topic. You may consider revising a previous paper to reflect your current writing and analytical abilities. Please include any research references in a bibliography.
  5. A two-minute MP3 audio recording of the applicant speaking Spanish and English. The audio recording can be submitted via a shared link in the application or emailed as an attachment directly to the Director of Graduate Studies in Spanish.

2019-2020 Tuition Rates
The 2019-2020 tuition rate will take effect beginning in summer 2019. The required technology fee (per semester/term) is $56.25 for one graduate course and $112.50 for two or more. 

Degree-seeking and certificate programs: $625 per credit ($1,875 per course)
Non-degree program: $625 per credit

To learn more about financial aid, please visit the Graduate Financial Aid website.

Summer Session II

GSPA 540 - Violent Times in Latin American Culture and Literature
Taught by Professor Paola Ehrmantraut
July 15-August 22
Tuesday 6-9 p.m. and online 
Why are we fascinated by the dangerous and extravagant lifestyle of narco kings and queens? What do media depictions of violent crimes tell us about Latin America today? How do we ethically approach representations of violence in film, TV shows and literature? Why is the region affected by such levels of violence? Through an exploration of the representation of violence in Latin American culture, this course will pose challenging questions that will intersect violence with issues of gender, democracy and citizenship.

Fall 2019

GSPA 515 - Hispanic Cinema Studies
Taught by Professor Juli Kroll
5:30-9:30 p.m.
This course examines topics in Hispanic cinema starting from early twentieth-century images through cinema’s Golden Age to the internationally produced twenty-first-century films. With an eye toward understanding basic cinematographic techniques and terminology, narrative structure, major cinematic movements and salient sociocultural themes, students will view and analyze films representing Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Peru. The viewing of films will be accompanied by the study of critical texts on cinema theory, the history of Hispanic cinema, and scholarly articles on the films. Topics covered include nationalism and the individual; history and memory; urban and rural life; women, gender and society; machismo and identity; non-traditional relationships and the family; religious identity; race relations and ethnicity; indigenismo in cinema, human rights, land and labor rights. 

GSPA 517 - Spanish Phonetics and Phonology for Teachers
Taught by Professor Donny Vigil
5:15-6:40 p.m.
This course is designed to give students and teachers of Spanish a review of Spanish phonetics using the most current texts and approaches. Concurrently, the course will also present: recent research articles on the acquisition of second language phonetics and phonology and current teaching methodologies and resources for teaching the Spanish sound system. The main goal is to provide students and teachers with a greater repertoire of teaching tools to use in a variety of Spanish classes and levels.

Spring 2020

GSPA 540 - Topics in Latin American Culture and Literature
This course examines a cultural and/or literary movement from Spain and/or Latin America from a historical and interdisciplinary perspective. Includes theoretical approaches and can include the study of novels, poems, theater, film, art, music and performance. Topics may include Colonial Latin America and its relationship to the present, Border Culture: Mexico and the U.S., or From Farm to Table: Fair Trade, Economics, and Latin American culture, etc. 

GSPA 523 - Hispanic Visual Culture and Literature
This course is a survey of the literature and arts in the Iberian Peninsula from the Eighth Century until today. Students will read different types of texts from the first marginalia containing early signs of Castilian and Basque to some of the most recent examples of interdisciplinary writing in Spanish. These readings, together with the discussions and the analysis of selected iconic buildings, paintings, sculptures, and movies will provide students with a broad understanding of Spanish cultural production, as well as of Spanish history over the years. 

Questions about the certificate and admissions should be directed to

Graduate Studies Director:
Juli A. Kroll, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spanish
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul MN 55105
Office: OEC 320-G