Please see this page for the Graduate School's general application FAQs.

What transcripts are needed?

For review and decision purposes you are required to upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) in the online application. We require one copy of the scanned transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed.

Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.

Only after you are recommended for admission will you need to provide official transcripts.

Instructions for Uploading Unofficial Transcripts to Your Application

Important note for international students whose school(es) will only issue one official transcript - if you are admitted and decide to attend CU-Boulder, you must present the original official transcript immediately upon your arrival to Boulder.


Is the GRE required?


Which English Proficiency tests are accepted?

All international students, whose native language is not English, will need to score at least 80 on the online Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in order to be admitted (65 on the IELT or 550 on the paper-based exam). We will also accept English language proficiency demonstrated through Duolingo. A minimum score of 120 (on the 160 point scale) is required.

International students who have completed an MA in the US with a minimum two years of study are exempted from this requirement.

What is the required writing sample?

All applicants are required to submit a 10-15 page writing sample written in Spanish. Please also include a one-page abstract written in English. The paper should focus on the applicant's area of interest and include a pertinent bibliography.

A writing sample is an academic paper that ideally would allow the Graduate Committee to evaluate your potential as a graduate student. It should demonstrate your familiarity (or your potential to become familiar) with the protocols of academic writing and research, your command of Spanish, as well as your previous knowledge of the literature and cultures of Latin American or the Iberian Peninsula, or the field of Hispanic Linguistics (depending on your area of Specialization).

What is the Statement of Purpose?

It is a short personal essay in which you should accomplish at least two things: (1) highlight any personal or professional traits/experience/education/goals that you think sets you apart from the general field of applicants; (2) state your personal/professional/intellectual goals, and why you think CU-Boulder would be the place where you can accomplish them. The statement should not exceed 500 words.

Can I submit a recommendation from my boss or other non-academic reference?

You have to provide three letters of reference. One of them can be non-academic. Make sure at the time of requesting the letter that this non-academic reference highlights aspects of your personal or professional profile that are relevant to your future academic endeavors (such as professionalism, ability to meet deadlines, and so forth). However, academic references are essential for consideration in the program.

How should the letters of recommendation be sent?

May I use a credential management company such as interfolio to submit my letters of recommendation?

Yes, as long as the letters are confidential you may use one of these services. Within the application you should leave the recommender information section blank and request that interfolio email your letters here, or mail them to the address listed below.

When is the request sent to the recommender?

When you enter the recommender info, you can either send it right away by clicking send, or you can save it and the requests for recommendations will be sent when you submit your application. We would suggesting hitting send right off to give the letter writers more time to complete the recommendations before the deadline.

Is my recommender notified of the application deadline?

They are not notified of the specific deadline. An e-mail will be sent to your recommender with a link to an online recommendation form. If they do not complete it after a week, they will also be sent a reminder e-mail to encourage them to complete the form. We recommend notifying your recommender(s) that you have listed them as a recommender and reminding them of the deadline.

Will I be notified when my recommender(s) submits the letter of recommendation form?

Yes, you will receive an e-mail when we receive a recommendation on your behalf - if you are using our online system to request recommendations. You will not receive an email if your letters are emailed or mailed to us from the recommender and/or a credential management service.

Who do I contact if one of my recommenders has not received the link?

If you have received confirmation that your application has been submitted and a recommender informs you that they did not receive a link to the recommendation form, Contact Graduate Admissions.  In your email include your first and last name, EmplID (located at the top of your application), the name of the recommender and the recommender’s email address.

Can letters of recommendation be mailed in?

Yes, please have the letters sent to the address listed below. The letters must come in signed and sealed envelopes.

Can I upload letters of recommendation with my application?

No, letters uploaded by applicants are not considered official and will not be used.

Domestic Applicants

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
553 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0553 USA

For overnight or express mail (DHL, FEDEX, UPS)  send to:

Graduate Admissions            
University of Colorado Boulder                    
3100 Marine Street - 553 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

International Applicants

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122
65 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0065 USA

Overnight/Express Mailing Address (DHL, UPS, Fedex)      

Office of Admissions/International              
University of Colorado Boulder                    
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB
Bldg RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA

I didn't major in Spanish as an undergraduate. May I still apply?

Yes, if your major is somewhat related to Spanish (for example, History, some other literary field, Comparative Literature and so forth), and/or you can demonstrate academic potential and willingness to make up for whatever hiatus in your formation you may have. Students that did not major in Spanish should take particular care to ensure that the writing sample shows evidence of a developed literary sensibility.

How will I know if I am accepted to the Graduate Program?

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese will notify you via the Slate application system.

The University of Colorado Admissions office and the Department will send you an official offer of admission through the application system that includes:

  • Instructions on how to confirm/decline your acceptance
  • Where to confirm your intent to enroll
  • Instructions about paying the confirmation deposit
  • "Identikey" instructions that will be necessary for using CU-Boulder email and intranet access

International Applicants. The Admissions Office will review your file for documentation required for immigration, so be sure you have supplied the necessary materials. If anything is missing, you will receive an official email informing you of what you will need to finalize your admission.

  • Once you submit your intent to enroll, your status is changed to "Confirmed Student."
    • Submit Official Transcripts
    • You should expect an Incoming Graduate Student email, providing links to helpful transition tips and information.
    • Carefully review the information for Admitted Students for details on how to prepare for your move to Boulder and the beginning of your graduate career at CU-Boulder.
    • International Applicants: Confirmed international students will also receive a welcome letter from International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) that contains important information about coming to both the U.S. and to Boulder, Colorado.
  • Insurance for Admitted International Students: CU-Boulder requires International students to have insurance at all times while in the United States. Since you are required to arrive to the United States before CU-Boulder coverage begins, you must purchase a plan that covers your needs in the meantime. For more information on this process visit the Office of International Students.
How do I find out about housing?

Please click this link for CU Graduate and Family Housing. Visit here for more information about life in Boulder.

We will also connect our admitted students and current students to share housing resources and information, if requested and agreed upon.

How should I apply to the PhD program if I am a current CU Boulder MA candidate?

If you are a CU Boulder MA candidate applying to our PhD program, please do not use the Slate application system. Please send the following materials in one PDF document by email to the Graduate Program Assistant (Shannon Markusen) by the application domestic deadline:


·      CV

·      Unofficial transcripts

·      Statement of Purpose

·      Writing Sample (10-15 pages)

You should also ask 4 recommenders to send their confidential letters of recommendation to the Graduate Program Assistant by the deadline.

The Graduate Program FAQs

Do you offer classes in applied linguistics or second language acquisition?

Our program provides students with a solid foundation in theoretical linguistics and current issues in Hispanic Linguistics. Many of our students are trained in applied linguistics and Second Language Acquisition in coursework they elect to take outside the department.

Do you offer on-line seminar courses?

No, we do not offer on-line or low-residency programs.  All of our seminars are offered face-to-face, Monday-Friday, in the late afternoon or early evening.

Is it possible for me to keep my current job while I am enrolled in the program?

Keep in mind that our graduate program is designed to be full time with a commitment to teach five days a week (between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm) and attend seminars usually scheduled from 3:30-6:00 pm or 6:30-9:00 pm. Preparation for seminars (reading, preparing presentations and papers) and for the class you teach as a TA/GPTI requires a great deal of time as well. It is unrealistic to work full time and very difficult to maintain a part-time job while you are enrolled in our program. Likewise, it helps to have plenty of support if you are responsible for child or dependent care in your family.

Additionally, if you are not a domestic student, the terms of your student visa stipulates that you are prohibited from working outside the University of Colorado or beyond your 50% appointment.

When I graduate will I be able to teach high school Spanish?

Through our program you will not earn a Secondary Spanish teaching certificate, the credentials needed for teaching in the public education system. Our program is mainly intended for students who hope to teach at the post-secondary level. CU-Boulder does offer a secondary Spanish teaching certificate through the School of Education.

How long does it take to get a degree?

The MA takes four semesters. The PhD takes four years, on average, including Dissertation.

Here you have a Sample Calendar (for reference purposes only):

MA Program

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 Graduate Seminars (9 units)
[Teaching Methodology Course]
Graduate Seminars (9 units)
[Select MA Faculty Advisor]
Year 2 Graduate Seminars (9 units)
[Satisfy Language Requirement]
[Select MA Supervisory Committee]
Graduate Seminars (6 units)
[MA Comprehensive Exams]

PhD Program

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1 Graduate Seminars (9 units) Graduate Seminars (9 units)
[Select PhD Faculty Advisor]
Year 2 Graduate Seminars (9 units)
Portuguese - SPAN 2350
[Form PhD Supervisory Committee]
Graduate Seminars (9 units)
[Satisfy Language Requirement]
Year 3 Dissertation Credits (5 units)
[PhD Comprehensive Exams]
[Select PhD Dissertation Committee]
[Submit Dissertation Proposal]
Dissertation Credits (5 units)
Year 4 Dissertation Credits (5 units) Dissertation Credits (5 units)
[Dissertation Defense]
Year 5 Dissertation Credits (5 units) Dissertation Credits (5 units)
[Dissertation Defense]
Can I take classes as a part-time student?

Yes, but you will not be offered a TAship. You should take your classes through Continuing Education. Please be aware that you can only accumulate a limited number of credits through Continuing Education and you cannot get a degree with us as a part time student. Consult the Graduate Manual for further information.

Do you offer medical insurance?

The Department/University will pay for your health insurance premium each semester (Student Gold Health Insurance Plan), that includes medical, dental, and vision coverage.

How much are fees?

You are responsible for the enrollment deposit ($200) which is returned to you upon graduation, the fees and other incidentals can be calculated by visiting the Bursar's Office website. Application fee waivers are available from the Graduate School for certain groups, details found here.

Can I afford it? (Will I be offered a TAship?)

If you accept our offer, you will be assigned a TAship appointment, and you will receive a stipend to teach a lower division Spanish course(s). The amount will depend upon whether you are an MA (TA) or PhD(GPTI) student. In addition the Department/University will pay for your health insurance premium each semester (Student Gold Health Insurance Plan) and your tuition is paid for.

You are responsible for the enrollment deposit ($200) which is returned to you upon graduation, the fees and other incidentals can be calculated by visiting the Bursar's Office website. 

What kind of job can I get after my degree?

Most of the students go on to teaching careers, at four year colleges. In past years, we were able to place students at top colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities, such as Dartmouth College, University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M, Portland State University, West Point Military Academy, Lehigh University.

Where are students generally from?

We strive to maintain a balance between domestic and international students.

How large is the program?

The program is comprised of eleven graduate professors and an average of twenty graduate students, at all stages of their careers. For more information, see “People.”

How may students do you accept each year?

We accept an average of ten students, total, including both Literature and Linguistics.