All students admitted to the graduate program in Hispanic & Lusophone Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics are guaranteed financial support (four academic years for students entering with an MA in Spanish or six academic years for students entering with a BA). This financial support is in the form of a graduate instructorship that includes full tuition, academic year stipends, and subsidized health insurance coverage. All funding is subject to the student's satisfactory academic progress toward the degree and satisfactory performance as an instructor.
Employment opportunities include Graduate Assistantships, the Writing Center, Hispanic Issues, various Research Assistantships, and more outside the department.
The duties and responsibilities of a graduate instructor (GI) in the department consist of a combination of teaching, training, and departmental services. The basic teaching assignments are two undergraduate level courses per year. The training consists of a one-week orientation workshop conducted prior to the beginning of classes each fall semester by the director of language programs (DLP) and meetings throughout the year. Further training occurs during meetings with the DLP throughout the year.
GIs must also successfully complete SPPT 5999: The Teaching of College-Level Spanish: Theory and Practice. Service includes things such as administrating proficiency tests, working in the tutor lab, and performing other tasks in support of the department’s program of language instruction. All of these activities combined average 20 hours per week over the semester which is equivalent to a 50% appointment. Graduate Instructor benefits include a nine-month stipend, tuition waiver for full-time registration (6-14 credits), and eligibility for health insurance through the Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Plan.
Appointment Eligibility for Graduate Instructors
In order to remain eligible for a graduate instructor appointment, students must make satisfactory academic progress toward the degree and satisfactory performance as an instructor. Please see the Graduate Handbook for more information on program progress. Students with any outstanding incompletes on their degree programs will not receive an instructorship.
If a graduate instructor is discharged, disciplined, or not reappointed, he/she is entitled to a written explanation of the cause, and to avenues of appeal. Graduate instructors should address the following individuals with issues relating to their appointment or grievances:
- the director of language programs
- the director of graduate studies
- the graduate studies committee
- the department chair
Academic year appointments generally run from mid-August until mid-May. Since students are being paid during this time, they are expected to be local and available during the dates of their appointments. Students may be required to attend events at the end of the year (such as the annual evaluations) even after their classes have ended, and should, therefore, be available.
Tutor Lab: 217 Folwell Hall
The departmental tutor lab provides an extremely important service to Spanish and Portuguese students. Students are able to seek help throughout the day, decreasing their reliance on their own instructor’s office hours. Graduate instructors are required, as part of their contract, to work one hour per week in the tutor lab and to hold one office hour per week.
Fulfilling your assigned tutor hours is mandatory and considered part of your teaching responsibilities. If you cannot be present for your tutorial period, arrange in advance for a substitute; if you arrive late, compensate your colleagues appropriately. For emergencies when a substitute cannot be found, please notify the main office immediately.
Mutual Roles and Responsibilities for Faculty and Graduate Students: Guidelines
Graduate Assistant Employment Policy
Graduate Assistant Employment Services
The Spanish Writing Center is dedicated to helping Spanish students become better communicators by engaging students in the process of crafting a written essay. The center's objective is to empower students with strategies for writing in Spanish through a process of organizing, drafting, and revising their analytical ideas. We aspire to unite students who desire to be proficient and creative writers in a community with instructors and faculty. Every semester, one graduate student is assigned to staff the writing center. For more information, visit the Spanish Writing Center page.
Editorial Research Assistantships (Hispanic Issues & La Corónica)
A refereed scholarly series devoted to the study of Hispanic and Lusophone cultures--including literary criticism and historiography, Hispanic cultural studies, human rights, Hispanic linguistics, and other areas of inquiry. Each publication stresses collaborative research, drawing on a network of scholars from the United States and abroad. One graduate student in the spring semester is awarded an Editorial Research Assistantship to work on the publication. More info can be found on the Hispanic Issues site.
A refereed journal published every spring and fall by the Modern Language Association Forum, LLC Medieval Iberian. It publishes groundbreaking articles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, and Catalan on topics in medieval Iberian cultural studies, literature, and historical linguistics. Edited by Michelle Hamilton, there is often a semester RA-ship available to a graduate student.
Research Assistantships are frequently available with individual faculty working on specific projects.
Working Outside the Department
Fellowships & Awards
The Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies offers fellowships and competitive research semesters to our graduate students. Additionally, we offer travel awards and career development to further scholarship and professionalization.
Department Fellowships & Awards
- First Year Summer Fellowships - guaranteed after completing your first year
- Competitive Summer Fellowships - summer research/writing funding
- Competitive Summer Abroad Fellowships - for research abroad during the summer, in particular those projects that focus on underrepresented groups and reflect the diversity of Iberia and Latin America.
- Research Semesters - a full semester stipend, plus tuition and health coverage for the student with the best DDF application who did not receive one
- Competitive Travel Awards - for students traveling to present research at conferences, typically, all applications are funded
- Career Development Awards - Varies on dept funding. This year all applications were funded for taking classes, participating in workshops etc.
University Fellowships & Awards
Our students have been successful at securing University Fellowships and Awards including but not limited to:
- Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
- Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship
- Hella Mears Fellowship
- Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World Dissertation Fellowship
- Diversity of Views & Experience Fellowship (DOVE)
- Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change (ICGC) Fellowships
- Thesis Research Travel Grant
- Less Common Taught Languages (LCTL) Teacher Scholarship
- Graduate Student Teaching Award. Council of Graduate Students,
- Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) Fellowship,
- UMN Social Science Research Council Interdisciplinary Dissertation Proposal Development Program
- Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship from UMN, Institute for Global Studies;
- Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowships
- The Proficiency Assessment for Curricular Enhancement (PACE) project Conference Funding
- Council of Graduate Students Travel Grant
- Council of Graduate Students Intellectual Community Building Grant
- Diversity Predoctoral Teaching Fellowships
Graduate Students have also received these outside awards: