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Spanish Pedagogy MA

What is Spanish Pedagogy?

Teaching is both an art and a science. It requires imagination and skill on the part of the teacher as well as a concerted awareness of the learner. Pedagogy incorporates theories, beliefs, and practices in helping students learn new languages. In the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, we explore different facets of learning, ranging from recent research to lessons from accumulated experience in order to understand how to be an effective teacher in the Spanish classroom.

MA Program in Spanish Pedagogy

The purpose of the Spanish Pedagogy MA is to prepare graduate students in the field of Spanish language teaching with additional understanding, knowledge, and pedagogic skills beyond those acquired at the BA level in order to be an effective teacher in the Spanish classroom and/or a successful student in a doctoral program in foreign language education.

Program Strengths

  • Broad range of course offerings, including principles of language teaching and learning, teaching oral and literacy skills, teaching culture, using technology in the classroom, assessing language learning, and conducting research
  • Many courses tailored specifically for teachers of Spanish
  • One-week minicourses taught by visiting professors from around the country (recent topics: Spanish for heritage speakers; using technology; teaching culture; Spanish immersion)
  • State-of-the-art technological facilities and labs
  • Professional-track program available (see below), with classes offered in late afternoons and evenings to accommodate practicing teachers

Prerequisite Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, Spanish Teaching, or the equivalent
  • Previous experience teaching Spanish preferred
  • Proficiency in a second foreign language; through 205 course level for Spanish (Intermediate High Level), or through 201 course level for other modern languages (Intermediate Mid Level). If not completed during undergraduate studies, this requirement may be fulfilled by Challenge Exam concurrently with MA program coursework no later than the third semester of study.
  • For teaching eligibility, complete a teaching methods course (SPAN 376 or equivalent). If not completed during undergraduate studies, this requirement may be fulfilled concurrently with MA program coursework in the first semester of study.
  • Strong academic writing skills and a capacity to conduct independent research
  • Strong language skills in Spanish
  • GRE (required)
  • English Proficiency Exam

Program Requirements

  • Complete the required 27 credit hours of coursework and 6 project or thesis credit hours, totaling 33 credit hours
  • Teach at least one semester during the program
  • Complete a Specialty Exam which covers readings and coursework
  • Complete a project or thesis

Tuition Scholarships

  • Department tuition scholarships typically cover 50–80% of LDS tuition rates for courses in a student's Program of Study for the first two years.
  • Paid teaching assistantships are available.

Program Track Options

Traditional Track

Portuguese Pedagogy traditional track students can complete their coursework by enrolling as full-time students in day classes during Fall and Winter semesters. Students are welcome to enroll in the BYU Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers to fulfill required coursework during Summer term.

Professional Track

The Portuguese Pedagogy professional track is tailored toward practicing teachers who work full-time. Students in this track take one required course during Fall semester and one during Winter semester, offered in the late afternoon and evening. They complete additional courses by enrolling full-time during Summer term. Students are welcome to enroll in the BYU Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers to fulfill required coursework during Summer term.

Optional Third-year Teaching Licensure Track

The current Spanish/Portuguese MA does not lead to state licensure. Therefore, an optional third-year licensure track is available for students who wish to not only graduate with an MA but also obtain a teaching license.

There is an industry need for trained and qualified instructors who are prepared to teach a variety of languages, particularly in Utah, where there are more dual language immersion (DLI) programs (one-way) than in any other state. The proposed third-year licensure track will meet all licensing requirements including coursework and exams.

The third-year licensure option will only be available to students in languages that are taught in BYU's partnership districts (Provo, Alpine, Nebo, Jordan, Wasatch) where BYU can place students for practicum and student teaching.

Application Requirements

  • Prospective students should apply to be admitted to the third-year licensure program before the fourth semester of the second year.
  • This acceptance will be contingent upon the completion of the MA requirements, including the thesis or project.
  • Students who are accepted into the third year licensure program must attain an ACTFL OPI rating of Advanced Low or higher.
    (Advanced Mid or higher is required for DLI).
  • Students must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and may not have any grade lower than a B- (classes can be repeated).
  • Students should submit one letter of recommendation from a faculty member.


Scholarships are available for the third-year licensure option from the Center for Language Studies and are based on student academic performance and student evaluations. Availability is dependent on need. Contact after acceptance for scholarship inquiries.

McKay School of Education Classes

(11 credits):

Spanish/Portuguese MA students who choose to do the third-year licensure track will join with BYU education majors to take the following classes during Fall semester.

Additional Field Experience Classes

(17 credits):

Third-year licensure track students will join the Spanish teaching practicums and student teaching courses (below). These students will have a cohort and meet weekly to develop lesson plans, discuss teaching experiences, refine teaching skills, and engage in professional development and reflection. A BYU professor skilled in target language pedagogy will serve as the university supervisor that completes the observations and evaluations required for licensure. All students will be expected to pass the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT), which is an online portfolio that measures teacher candidates’ abilities and readiness to teach.

  • Exploration of Foreign Language Teaching: FLANG  276 (4 credits). Ideally this class should be taken 3rd or 4th semester of the MA program as prospective teachers visit many different language classrooms.
  • Practicum in Language Teaching: SPAN 380 (1credit). This 1-hour practicum should be taken Fall semester.
  • Student Teaching/PPAT: Span 476 (12 credits)
    • Students must pass the Praxis in their language of instruction prior to beginning student teaching.

Summer Institute for Spanish Teachers

This study abroad program for graduate students in BYU's Spanish Pedagogy MA program is offered every third year (2024, 2027, 2030) and allows the practicing teacher to refresh their linguistic ability in Spanish, increase their understanding of the Spanish culture, and gain 9 semester credits of graduate course work.

For more information, contact:

Merrie Kay Ames, Graduate Program Manager – – 801-422-2196

Brian Price, Graduate Coordinator –

Rob Martinsen, Pedagogy Section Head –