M.A. in Foreign Languages (German, French, Spanish)

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The Department of Classical & Modern Languages and Literatures (CMLL) at Mississippi State University is a dynamic and growing M.A. program in Foreign Languages (French, German, and Spanish). CMLL currently offers a traditional face-to-face program.

Our graduate courses focus on literature, culture, linguistics, and film, with a strong foundation in language pedagogy. Our program provides an extremely flexible and interdisciplinary course of study.  

The majority of our M.A. students work for the department as Teaching Assistants, which covers the cost of their education and pays them a stipend for living expenses. Roughly one-third of our graduates go into teaching at the secondary or post-secondary levels, and another quarter of our graduates continue study in a Ph.D. program. Several of our graduates have also pursued work abroad following the completion of their degree. The department works to ensure that its graduate students receive advising related to academic and career options, and our faculty is happy to help cater the program to best position its students for future success. The department has also encouraged its graduate students to help coordinate its summer study abroad programs with an experienced faculty member, or to attend programs and earn graduate credit, with financial assistance. Overall, the program is designed to allow students the flexibility to earn a Master's degree that will best position them for their future, with faculty that are fully invested in the success of the department's graduates. If you have questions about our program or you would like to schedule a campus visit, please contact the CMLL Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Kelly Moser.


Program Specifics

Admission and Costs

Students interested in applying for the M.A. in Foreign Language will apply directly to the Graduate School (for tuition and fees, see the Office of the Controller and Treasurer website). Application materials will be reviewed by CMLL's faculty, and a decision is generally made within two to three weeks of submitting the completed application. Application deadlines are different for domestic and international applicants; deadlines can be viewed here. Please note that these deadlines are to apply for the program; however, CMLL has an earlier deadline for students seeking funding. The Graduate School requires that all applicants have a minimum 2.75 GPA (or equivalent) on the last two years of undergraduate coursework. Provisional admission is possible for students not meeting this requirement.

All applicants will be required to submit their application, along with a statement of purpose (outlining their reasons for wishing to study in the department and plans following completion of the M.A.), three academic letters of reference, unofficial transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate coursework (official copies will be required upon admission), and the application fee. GRE scores are accepted but not required by CMLL.

International students from non-TOEFL exempt countries must have a TOEFL score of 54 iBT to be admitted. Students scoring below 79 iBT will be required to complete ESL coursework upon admission, and might not be eligible for a Teaching Assistantship. Students with questions about TOEFL scores may contact the Graduate Coordinator.





The Department of Classical & Modern Languages and Literatures provides Teaching Assistantships to qualified graduate students. The department provides Teaching Assistants with a 100% tuition remission and a stipend to pay for living expenses. Teaching Assistants work with experienced faculty during the first year of their appointment, helping to lead class sessions of the department's first-year language courses. During their second year, many of our Teaching Assistants teach their own language class as instructor of record. Prospective graduate students interested in applying for a Teaching Assistantship should fill out and submit the Graduate Assistantship Application directly to the Graduate Coordinator. The Graduate Assistantship Application and the application for the graduate program must be complete (e.g., including all materials and TOEFL test scores if applicable) and submitted by April 1 for fall admission. CMLL has moved towards admitting Fall cohorts of students who will serve as Teaching Assistants. Students who apply for admission in the spring will rarely be considered for funding through the department. Generally, students are not admitted in summer semesters. Please note that the April 1 deadline  for the Teaching Assistantship is earlier than the application deadline for admission to the university to allow faculty adequate time to review materials; students are encouraged to apply as early as possible if they desire funding through an Assistantship. Students receiving a Teaching Assistantship will be required to complete FL 8693 Advanced Foreign Language Pedagogy during their first year of appointment.

Degree Options:

Thesis Option

Students pursing the thesis option are required to take at least 30 hours of graduate-level coursework, including:

  • 21 hours within the major field of study (FLx);
  • At least 9 of those hours must be at the 7000- or 8000-level; however, these can be language-specific (FLx), related to foreign language (FL), or from another department;
  • No more than 6 hours of Directed Individual Study (FLx 7000) coursework can be used toward the total hours;
  • Students must complete 6 hours of Thesis Writing (FLx 9000) toward the 30-hours requirement; however, these credits do not satisfy the 9 hours of 8000-level credit.

The thesis option will require an oral defense of the thesis at the time of the qualifying exams (in the last semester of study). Please talk with your thesis director to determine if other requirements need to be met.

Non-thesis Option

Students pursing the non-thesis option will be required to take at least 33 hours of graduate-level coursework, including:

  • 21 hours within the major field of study (FLx);
  • At least 12 of those hours must be at the 7000- or 8000-level; however, these can be language-specific (FLx), related to foreign language (FL), or from another department;
  • No more than 6 hours of Directed Individual Study (FLx 7000) coursework can be used toward the total hours.

Non-thesis students will be required to complete a comprehensive examination with written and oral components, based on their coursework and a departmental reading list based on their language of study.

For more details, consult the Graduate Catalog

Dual-Language Option

Students have the option of completing a dual-language degree by completing 18 hours of coursework in each of the languages of study. This is a rigorous course of study but will enable graduates to teach in both languages upon completion of the degree, or to be well-positioned for doctoral study. Dual-language students will be responsible for the reading lists of both languages when completing their comprehensive examination and will have faculty from both languages on their exam committee. All other requirements listed above for the thesis or non-thesis options still pertain to the course of study for a student choosing to complete coursework in two languages.

Minor Option

All students working toward an M.A. in Foreign Language have the option of completing a minor in a field related to their course of study and their academic interests, in addition to the major coursework. Many of CMLL's M.A. students have worked toward minors in fields such as Curriculum and Instruction, Business, History, or Political Science, or have completed the requirements for a TESOL certificate. Requirements for the minor are determined by the department offering the minor, and generally include either 9 or 12 hours of graduate-level coursework. In addition, a professor from the minor field of study must be included on the student’s comprehensive exam committee. Students should speak to a professor or the department head of the department they wish to work with to determine the specific requirements for completing the minor.

World Language Teaching Minor and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Graduate and undergraduate students have the option of completing a minor in World Language Teaching. Those who have earned a degree can work toward a post-baccalaureate certificate. Both options provide students with the opportunity to learn about teaching a world language other than English and to apply new knowledge by interacting directly with K-12 learners in Mississippi’s schools. The minor or certificate requires 15 hours of coursework including a 9-hour core. See here for the list of courses.

Required Core Courses:

  • FL 4203/6203 Methods of Teaching K-8 World Languages (Fall odd years)
  • FL 6213 Methods of Teaching 9-12 World Languages (Spring even years)
  • FL 6233 Linguistics for World Language Teachers (Fall even years)

The remaining six hours may include two of the following:

  • Any FLx (e.g., FLF, FLG, etc.) 4000/6000-level course
  • EN/FL 4463/6463 Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • EN 4603/6603 Introduction to Linguistics
  • FL 4223/6223 Foundations in Online Language Teaching
  • FL 4243/6243 Introduction to Ecolinguistics
  • FL 4253/6253 Biosemiotics
  • FL 8693 Advanced Foreign Language Pedagogy
  • FL 8793 Foreign Language Planning, Instruction, and Assessment

If you are interested in our graduate program or have any questions, please reach out to our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Kelly Moser at kellymoser@cmll.msstate.edu 




Your adviser is the department’s graduate coordinator. You will be released to register for classes after completing advising every semester with the graduate coordinator.

You will need to complete a Committee Request form at the conclusion of your first year of studies. It is your responsibility to work with your committee to determine how best to prepare for your comprehensive exams at the conclusion of your program of study. You will also work with the chair of your committee to schedule your exams. The graduate coordinator will share important dates related to applying for graduation and completing your exams.

Minors are optional. You will declare the minor when you complete the Committee Request form; you must include a professor from your minor field of study on your committee form. Your committee member representing your minor area of study will participate in the oral examination to evaluate your mastery of that content. You must meet with your minor area professor in order to prepare for success on that portion of the exam. Once you have passed your comprehensive examination, the Graduate School will be informed of your completion of both the major field of study and of the minor field of study.

You can transfer up to 9 hours of graduate coursework from another university, provided those courses are related to your M.A. degree at MSU and will have been taken no more than eight years prior to the completion of the degree. Any minor coursework that you wish to transfer will need to be approved by the minor department. Speak to the graduate coordinator to arrange for these credits to transfer.

Yes, CMLL currently offer study abroad programs every other year in France, Germany, and Spain that regularly take graduate students. Students in all languages may participate in study abroad programs through direct exchange programs or through provider companies that coordinate with MSU’s Office of Study Abroad. (See the Office of Study Abroad website for program options.) You should consult with the graduate coordinator to ensure that all of the credits earned on the program will transfer. All study abroad credits transfer as S grades and not as letter grades, unless the course is taught by MSU faculty. In addition to study abroad options, the department’s study abroad program coordinators may at times invite graduate students to assist with the coordination of a study abroad program. The opportunities are limited, and at the discretion of the program coordinator.

The department offers some graduate courses during the summer, generally determined by student demand. If you are interested in completing summer coursework, you are encouraged to consult with your professors to see what options might be made available.

We do offer some hybrid courses (open to both on-campus students and distance learners), and are constantly working to increase our online offerings to better accommodate students who need to complete coursework away from campus. Some of our summer courses are also available as online courses. As with our summer classes, we are best able to meet specific needs if we determine that there is demand, so contact your professors to see if their courses might be offered online. Please note that our program is not an online program, and students should therefore plan to take nearly all of their coursework in Starkville.

You may take a DIS course by speaking with the graduate faculty member in the department that you would like to work with. Together, you will choose a field of study and determine the course requirements. The professor will then arrange with the department to create the course in Banner. Remember that you are limited to two DIS courses to count toward completion of the M.A.

You may take a leave of up to two calendar years without having to reapply to the program. You are encouraged to stay in contact with the department while you are not taking courses, so that we can best advise you when you decide to return to campus.

The Graduate School requires that you complete your degree within eight years of your acceptance into the program. CMLL places no other requirement on the completion of your degree, but the department generally only guarantees funding through a Teaching Assistantship for four semesters. You should consult with the graduate coordinator if you will need a fifth semester and would like to continue to work as a TA; TA positions are contingent on departmental funds, and no guarantee can be made that funding will be available for a fifth semester as a Teaching Assistant.

The composition of the examination committee is determined by you; however, the committee should be selected to represent the courses you have completed as well as to evaluate your mastery of the reading list. The committee must comply with the requirements of the Graduate School (a minimum of two professors from CMLL, a professor from a minor field of study if applicable, and a minimum of three graduate faculty members overall on the committee). The purpose of the written and oral comprehensive exams is to evaluate your mastery of the reading list and your command of the target language. As a result, two of your committee members must be graduate faculty within your language concentration who represent the majority of coursework taken, and who will best be able to evaluate your mastery of the reading list, your course of study, and the contents of your thesis (if applicable).

In general, it should take you at least two semesters to complete the thesis, though in practice students sometimes take three semesters. In order to stay on target for graduation, you are encouraged to speak with your professors as soon as you decide to complete a thesis. Your major professor will be your best resource to determine a reasonable timeline for completion of the thesis. Please note that if your thesis requires you to be enrolled as a graduate student beyond two years (two fall and two spring semesters), you will likely not continue to receive funding through an assistantship offered by the department.

If you are interested in our graduate program or have any questions, please reach out to our Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Kelly Moser at kellymoser@cmll.msstate.edu

The Graduate School requires that you complete a minimum of 9 hours of coursework in your major field, with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA, and no grades lower than a C. Once you have completed these requirements, your change in status should be automatically processed by the Office of the Graduate School. You will be informed of your change in status once it has been processed.