Procedural Guides for Graduate Students

NOTE: Click here for procedural guidelines pertaining specifically to French, Spanish and German.



A. If you intend to receive your Masters from UNI, you must:

Apply for and be admitted to graduate studies at UNI. You will be assigned a graduate advisor at this time. Unconditional admittance means that you have been admitted with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a 4.00 scale. Provisional admittance means being admitted with a grade point average of less than 3.00. A student is eligible for reclassification, that is, the removal of provisional status, after completing 8 hours with a grade point average of 3.00 or higher.


You may take courses on a non-degree status* but in order to become eligible for candidacy, you must change to degree status**. Please be advised that the current Graduate College policy states:


While it is possible for students to request degree status at a later date, non-degree admission entails no commitment on the part of the university to admit students to that status. Further, no more than 12 hours of course work taken on non-degree status may be applied to a University of Northern Iowa degree, and there is no guarantee that any course work students may take as non-degree students will count towards the degree. Inquiries regarding this status and requests to change from non-degree status should be directed to the assistant to the Dean for Student Services, Graduate College, by calling (319) 273-2241.


You are also responsible for the filing of any and all transcripts from other institutions where you may have taken graduate-level course work that you may wish to apply toward your degree (to a maximum of one-third the hours - except thesis credits - of your total program), in addition to the transcript from the college or university granting the baccalaureate degree, or equivalent (if other than UNI). You will not be admitted to degree status until all such transcripts are received and on file in the Registrar's Office. The application fee (check made payable to UNI) must accompany all graduate admission applications (unless you received your B.A. from UNI). It is a one-time fee and is nonrefundable.


*Non-degree status - taking courses which do not comprise a degree program or hoping to demonstrate competence in a specific area to be considered for degree status.
**Degree status - pursuing a program of study to the eventual completion of a graduate degree.

B. The Graduate Records Examination is not required. Foreign students (non-native English speakers) must take the TOEFL (or Michigan Test) as a condition of degree status admission or provisional degree status admission.

C. File Program of Studies

1. For all majors except the Teaching Emphases, you must have completed 9-12 semester credit hours of graduate study and be on unconditional degree status. You must also have attained at least a 3.00 GPA in the first 8 hours of graduate-level course work in our department for you to be recommended for candidacy.


2. For the Teaching Emphases only, candidates must:


a. have completed a minimum of 6 graduate credit hours in the Department of Modern Languages with a minimum 3.00 GPA


b. demonstrate proficiency in French/German/Spanish


c. have documentation of successful teaching experience


In all cases, you should consult with your advisor prior to filing for candidacy. GF-1 forms are available from your advisor or this department. The forms must be filled out in their entirety; it would be prudent for you to have a copy of your transcript in hand to assist you. Incomplete applications cannot be acted upon and will be returned to you for completion if there is any missing information. Please also bear in mind that no more than 12 semester hours of credit completed prior to candidacy may be applied toward your degree. You will be notified by the Dean of the Graduate College of the action taken on your application. Please do not wait until the last minute to file, or you may not be allowed to complete your degree.


D. Consult with your graduate adviser to ensure that all requirements will be met.

E. Thesis and Non-Thesis Options (see also section, "Research Papers/Theses")


1. Thesis Option


a. Prepare thesis according to UNI thesis manual latest edition (copies available from the Grad. College) and in consultation with your committee chairperson.


b. Arrange dates of comprehensive examination and thesis defense with your committee chairperson.


c. Submit 3 final copies to chair person 30 days prior to planned graduation.


d. Pass comprehensive examination and successfully defend thesis.


e. Take thesis to Graduate College for pre-submission check.


f. Submit at least 15 days prior to graduation to the Graduate College:


1) 2 deposit copies of thesis


2) 3 copies of thesis abstract


3) 4 signed thesis approval sheets + 1 signed university record sheet


4) receipt for binding fee (paid at Controller's Office)


2. Non-Thesis Option


a. Complete research paper which must be placed on file in the Department of Languages and Literatures office before the comprehensive exams may be taken.


b. Arrange dates of comprehensive exams with committee chairperson.


c. Pass comprehensive examinations.

F. File for graduation no later than the end of the ninth week of the semester or the fourth week of the summer session in which you plan to receive the degree. Applications are available from us or the Registrar's Office. Please do not submit for approval your application for graduation at the same time you file for candidacy; doing so may delay the eventual granting of the degree. Submit it only once the dates for your comprehensive examinations have been established, the research paper is on file, and you are certain all the requirements have been met. If you file for a specific graduation date but have not met all the requirements at that time, you will need to refile for the next anticipated date.



A. Department Committee


1. Makeup


a. The M.A. committee consists of 3 faculty members, whether the student is on the thesis or non-thesis plan. The role of the committee differs slightly in each case.


b. The student's graduate adviser need not be a member of his/her M.A. committee.


c. The Chair of the M.A. committee must be a regular member of the Graduate Faculty.


d. For the Two Languages major, the Chair and one member of the M.A. committee normally are in the language of the research paper or thesis. The third member should be from the student's second target language, to serve as a reader/evaluator/observer at the written and oral comprehensives, respectively. The fourth person, although having no vote in the committee's decision, shall participate in all of the committee's deliberations.


e. For the Translation/Interpretation (Spanish/English) emphasis, the committee also consists of three faculty members, two of whom must be fluent in Spanish.


f. As a matter of courtesy, faculty members should be consulted individually before the student formally proposes her/his committee.


g. Form ML-1 must be signed by all three members of the proposed M.A. committees rests with the department head.


2. Role of the Committee Chairperson


a. approves the research paper on the non-thesis option


b. acts as thesis director on the thesis option


c. is responsible for the preparation and administration of the comprehensive examinations, both written and oral, and is in consultation with the committee (both thesis and non-thesis)

B. Research Papers/Theses (see also section, "Thesis - Non-Thesis Option")


1. Research Paper (Sample title page as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file; as an MS-Word .doc file.)


a. General


1) must be relevant to the content of the program


2) needs approval by at least two members of the committee, including the committee chair


3) must be in a format acceptable for publication


4) must be filed in the Office of the Department of Languages and Literatures before comprehensive examinations may be taken


b. Specific (in addition to general terms):


1) Teaching Emphases only:


Research paper must be written on an aspect of methodology.


2) Two-Language Major only:


Generally, the research paper is written in the student's first target language and is comparative in nature.


3) Translation/Interpretation Emphasis:


The research paper usually consists of an annotated translation which is then defended before the candidate's committee. A video tape of an actual interpretation is also required.


4) TESOL/Modern Languages Emphasis:


Consult with your adviser for details.


2. Thesis


a. General


1) subject must be approved in advance by thesis committee chair


2) must be written in close consultation with thesis committee chair


3) must follow guidelines currently in force in the latest edition of the Thesis and Dissertation Manual (available from the Graduate College)


4) must be taken for 6 credit hours, under the number 7XX:299 but no more than 3 credit hours per semester may be taken


5) must be approved by the thesis committee and the Dean of the Graduate College


6) copies must be filed with the Graduate College at least 15 days prior to graduation.


b. Specific


1) No thesis options are available for the Teaching Emphases, the Translation/Interpretation Emphasis, or the TESOL/ML major.


2) Two-Language major: the thesis must be comparative in nature and codirected by a committee member in each of the two target languages.


3. Both options


Theses and research papers must be completed in accordance with the latest edition of the MLA Style Manual.

C. Reading Lists


1. Literary Track


a. French and German - A reading list will be compiled for each candidate at least one semester before the comprehensive exam. Since this exam represents the track in literature, it is understood that the culture and language part of the reading list will be of a limited nature. After the department head has approved the selection of the committee, the candidate will meet with them so that they may compile the list, taking her/his individual preparation and background into consideration.


b. Spanish - A standardized reading list has been prepared and is available either from the department office or from the graduate advisers.


2. Culture and Language Track

a. French and German - A reading list will be compiled for each candidate at least one semester before the comprehensive exam. Since this exam represents the track on culture and language, it is understood that the reading list will be of a limited nature. After the department head has approved the section of the committee, the candidate will meet with them so that they may compile the list, taking her/his individual preparation and background into consideration.

3. Two Language Major

a. There will be a list of 20 titles in each language, 12 of which may be required, as determined by the student's committee. (Substitutions may be made when appropriate.) The titles will include works in literature, civilization and linguistics/grammar.

D. Comprehensive Examinations

The comprehensive examination is both written and oral. Its specific format varies according to major. The candidate should consult with her/his graduate adviser for details other than those given below. The comprehensive examination may be repeated only once unless substantial additional course work is taken.



A. Graduate Assistantships/Graduate Tuition Scholarships

1. Assistantships and tuition scholarships are two distinct awards. Applications may be made for either one or both.


2. To be considered for either a graduate assistant or a graduate tuition scholarship, a student must meet the following criteria:


a. hold a B.A. (or equivalent) from an accredited institution


b. have a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale)


c. be admitted on graduate degree status


d. be enrolled as a full-time student during the time of appointment


3. Graduate Assistant Stipend


a. Stipends are paid in equal installments over the ten-month academic year


b. Partial stipends may be available


c. Recipients of stipends may also qualify for tuition scholarships


d. Work assignments may vary to a maximum of 20 hrs/wk and may include:


1) instructional assistance


2) research assistance


3) clerical assistance


4) a combination of any of the above areas


4. Graduate Tuition Scholarships


a. are automatically included with the recommendation of an assistantship. Separate applications must be filed and considered by the Graduate Faculty of the specific language section in which the student wishes to study


b. may be available for those applicants not awarded assistantships


c. may be available on a partial basis


d. do not require service or work-related assignments


e. cover tuition only - they do not cover UNI's student activity fee (mandatory) or any other additional fees required of the student during the course of her/his studies


5. Other requirements for both Graduate Assistant Stipends and Graduate Tuition Scholarships


Awardees of either or both of the above must:


a. register for a minimum of 9 and a maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate credit each semester they continue to hold the award(s)


b. maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 to retain either award


c. register for a minimum of 4 graduate semester credit hours per session in the Department of Languages and Literatures while holding either award


Awardees of either or both of the above may not:


d. enroll for classes with course numbers beginning with "0" unless the enrollment is to remove a deficiency or is an integral part of their total program and has been approved in advance by the department head


e. apply for credit received from auditing a class toward their program


6. Selection


a. Applications for assistantship stipends and tuition scholarships are available from our department and must be on file prior to March 1 to be considered for the next academic year.


b. Recommendations for both assistantships and tuition scholarships are made by the department head.


c. Pending final approval of an assistantship and/or tuition scholarship, awardees will be sent an official letter of offer by the Dean of the Graduate College. They must respond in writing of their acceptance or declension of the award(s). Awards are not final until such a letter is received.


B. Other Financial Aid

Other financial aid in the form of loans, need-based scholarships and part-time employment may also be available to qualified students. Those interested should write to the Office of Student Financial Aid, 116 Gilchrist, UNI, Cedar Falls, IA 50614.

The Department of Languages and Literatures itself does not offer any scholarships other than for the tuition which may accompany an assistantship stipend.

Part-time employment is not available to those who qualify for assistantships since it is assumed that the combination of responsibilities toward one's course work and teaching duties is equivalent to a full-time job. Part-time employment (other than assistantships) may be available to those either through Work-Study funding (contact Financial Aid) or Personnel Services (interested parties may write to them directly).