Our graduate programs in French, German and Spanish thrive in a dynamic environment that combines the advantages of a large, multilingual department in a comprehensive research university with three distinct language sections. We offer the MA in Spanish, French and German, and the PhD in Spanish and French.

While pursuing their degree in their chosen target language, all of our graduate students work together to share their knowledge and coursework, participate in department-wide events and exchange common interests and interact with faculty in multiple languages. We strengthen their learning through innovative courses in cultural and literary studies, and linguistics.

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Our French Graduate program has particularly strong emphases in medieval and early modern literature and culture, Francophone literatures of the Oceanic region, women’s writing, and literary translation. Courses in second language acquisition and literary theory round off this core.

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The German Graduate program emphasizes proficiency in major areas of German literature, culture and pedagogy. Courses and seminars offered represent a spectrum of broad cultural topics and highly specialized themes. Emphasis is placed on discussions, reports, and close work with professors.

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Our Spanish Graduate program offers you the opportunity of critically engaging with Hispanic literatures, cultures and linguistics. You will be able to work with a dynamic and professionally active faculty with a wide range of scholarly and interdisciplinary interests, ranging from early modern literature to contemporary Spain and Latin America.

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Teaching Assistantships and Fellowships

Deadline for application: February 1. Our graduate teaching assistantship includes tuition remission of up to 12 credit hours during the Fall and Spring semesters, and six credit hours during the summer. In addition, teaching assistants receive a departmental stipend that covers the cost of living in Lincoln. Students are also eligible for departmental merit fellowships to supplement their assistantship, which can be used to cover student fees. Summer teaching is available to students in Spanish.

We also offer economic support for students presenting their research at conferences. Support is also given to doctoral students interviewing for jobs at the MLA. Students may also apply for various Graduate College fellowships, which provide financial awards in varying amounts.

At the graduate program’s discretion, we accept applications at any time, but priority consideration is given to those who apply before the announced deadline.

Learn About our Graduate Programs

If you want to learn about our current graduate programs as well as our current graduate teaching assistants, scroll through the Department directory to get an idea of the variety of research and teaching that takes place here. You can also learn more about our past graduate students’ research by checking their successfully defended PhD dissertations and MA theses.

Careers and Recent Graduates’ Experiences


Some of our recent MA graduates in French are now in teaching positions or doctoral programs at other universities; others are teaching high school. Others have pursued careers outside of academia or education, in the world of publishing, in non-governmental organizations and in the professional translation and interpretation.

I gained incredible linguistic and analytical capabilities that equipped me to interact with clients in my second language and adapt easily to working with people from a variety of backgrounds, customs, and languages.

Madeline Smith, Marketing Manager for Sandhills Publishing
The highlights of the program are absolutely the faculty you get to work with in the Department. They keep their door wide open and encourage creative interpretation. Michael Overstreet PhD student in French at the University of Iowa

Recent MA graduates in German are now doctoral students at other universities, both in the US and abroad, and teachers of German in public schools across the United States. They are also pursuing a range of non-academic careers in areas such as diplomacy, film, translation, business, and international hospitality.

Because of the unique dual Master’s degree program, I was able to continue my personal education in German literature and language, while simultaneously teaching German classes and receiving extensive pedagogical training from the College of Education. Kaylee BarberGerman Teacher at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, Kansas
Because of the open, caring atmosphere among my professors, I felt like all the program participants shared a common goal. We were working with our professors to grow, not just working for them. Brian RentfroGerman teacher at Brentwood High School in Williamson County, Tennessee

Our recent MA graduates are now in teaching positions in colleges or high schools, both in the United States and abroad. Recent PhD graduates in Spanish are now professors and work at institutions such as Drury University, Universidad Isabel I, Utah Valley University, Truman State University, Dixie State University, Creighton University, University of Nebraska-Omaha, Henderson State University, Hendrix College, and Milligan College.

I met with my advisor each week to conduct research together and collaborated on classroom questions and activities. So much of who I am as a teacher is a reflection of his methodologies, mentoring, and influence. Heather JerónimoAssistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa
During the graduate program, I learned about multiple theories, digital methods and tools for the study of literature and history. This prepared me well for my current position. Jennifer IsassiPost-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin

Application Requirements

Applicants for the MA should present the equivalent of an undergraduate major in their language, including a range of courses in literature, culture and humanities. They also should show strong language skills and familiarity with the target culture, often including study or experience abroad. PhD applicants must have an MA or equivalent with strong preparation in the target culture, excellent language skills, critical thinking, and the potential to complete a doctoral dissertation.

The application materials include: statement of purpose, unofficial transcripts (with translation if they are in a language other than English), proof of English proficiency for international students (TOEFL or IELTS), three letters of recommendation, writing sample in the target language, voice recording, and curriculum vitae (optional for MA applicants).

ApplyUse the application checklist

For assistance, please contact the main office at 402-472-3745 or

Application Process

The application deadline for teaching assistantships is February 1st.

The application process requires two parts. Students must apply first to the Office of Graduate Studies (Step 1) and then to the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (Step 2).

Graduate Studies Application Requirements (Step 1)

After completing the form you will soon receive an NUID that allows you to sign in to MyRED, the University’s online personal records system where you can view a list of application materials received or still needed by the Office of Graduate Studies.

Department Application Requirements (Step 2)

      After receiving your NUID from the University, you will receive a welcome email message asking you to login to
GAMES (Graduate Admissions Management and Evaluation System)
    , a secure, web-based system that allows you to provide materials online. There, you can submit the additional materials and information required by the Department, including:
  • Statement of purpose
  • Writing sample
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Voice recording
  • Curriculum vitae or resume

If you have any questions, please contact Bri Petersen,