Applying for Admission

We welcome students from every country, culture, and creed who seek rigorous study of Spanish and Portuguese cultural production. People speak Spanish and Portuguese in communities all over the globe, and the commitments and research of our program's students and faculty reflect these varied cultures. Because of this, we actively recruit talented, passionate students from around the world to our graduate program. A diverse graduate student body and a diversity of perspectives are key to our program's success and the success of our students as scholars, researchers, and instructors. So we affirm the university’s Principles of Community and commit ourselves to fostering an equitable, hospitable, and inclusive educational environment that is supportive of all students' success.

Thank you for your interest in the Spanish Graduate Program at UC Davis. We look forward to reviewing your completed application this January!

Please contact our Academic Advisors with any questions

Travis BradleyAdvisor: Primary (Linguistics)-

Michael LazzaraAdvisor: Primary (Latin American) -

Cristina Martinez Carazo - Advisor: Primary (Penninsular)-

  • A list of all our faculty and their research interests are here.

• For an overview of our program, visit our Graduate Program description.
• For a listing of current faculty & their research profiles, visit our People page.
• For information on graduate student funding opportunities, visit Financial Support.
• For information on where our alumni are now, visit our Alumni Placement page.
• Considering a visit to UC Davis? Contact Maria Ruby to make an appointment:


  • January 5th each year

    To be considered for funding, all required materials must be received by January 15th. First-year graduate students are typically funded by a fellowship (for the most competitive students) or a teaching position in Elementary Spanish (SPA 1, 2, and 3) or Elementary Portuguese (POR 1, 2, and 3). Just prior to the Jan 5th deadline we will check applications for completion. If required materials are missing, we will notify you via email.

  • February 1st

    The final deadline is February 1st.  Applications completed after January 15th, but by February 1st will be considered for admission only if space is still available. Applications completed after February 1st will not be considered.

Application Checklist

Thank you for considering applying to UC Davis.  As you prepare your graduate school application, keep in mind that our admission committee will be looking for two main things: 1. evidence that you have the potential to succeed in our graduate program and 2. evidence that our program is a good fit for you (there are faculty who are part of our program working in the area(s) you wish to study who could be good mentors for you).  Make sure the required items below speak to these two criteria. 

Online Application 

Click here to begin the online portion of the admissions & fellowship application (available from Oct. through the deadline):

  1. Application Fee: $135 domestic, $155 international.
  2. Statement of Purpose (4,000 character limit, including spaces)
    Please highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis.
    • preparation and motivation may include your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program (for example: coursework, employment, exhibitions, fieldwork, foreign language proficiency, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, studio projects, teaching, and travel or study abroad) and motivation or passion for graduate study.
    • interests, specializations, and career goals may include your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area/s of specialization, and professional objectives.
    • fit may include how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Please identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.
  3. Personal History Statement (4,000 character limit, including spaces)
    The purpose of this essay is to get know you as an individual and potential graduate student. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education.
    This essay should complement but not duplicate the content in the Statement of Purpose.
  4. Sample of written work in Spanish
    The sample of your written work should be in your proposed area of study (Linguistics or Literature), and it should be a research paper or critical analysis. It can be an essay previously submitted for a class. It will be submitted online during the application process.  While there is no length requirement, most successful samples are at least 10 pages long.

Please make sure that all information in your online application is correct and that all statements & writing samples are revised/uploaded before submitting. No changes can be made to your application once it is submitted.

Additional Required Materials for ALL Applicants - Must also be received by the deadline

  1. Three letters of recommendation (from Professors)
    During the online application process, you will be required to provide your three recommenders' contact information, including email addresses. Your professors will be contacted to submit their recommendations electronically once you have provided this information.  No letters sent by mail/email will be accepted. Letters must be submitted online in the Apply Yourself system.
  2. Transcripts:  We require academic records from each college-level institution you have attended.  You will be instructed to upload scanned copies of your transcripts after you have submitted your online application.  For more details visit   Upon admission, an official transcript must be shown to graduate studies as a condition of admission, but may be retained by the student. Falsified records will be immediate cause for revoking any offer of admission and funding.
    International Applicants: Certified English translations of your transcripts must be uploaded along with the original-language transcript.
  3. Digital Audio Recording of Spanish language proficiency: 3-5 minute recording that represents your conversational speaking ability.  Without reading from a prepared text, tell us about your research interests and/or a book that you have recently read and enjoyed.  Please email a digital audio sample to  Make sure to save digital recordings as one of these file types: .mp3, .m4a, .wav, or .wma .  In your email, please put "Spanish Audio Sample" in the email subject line and make sure to sign the email with your first and last name. This is required for all applicants (including native speakers).

Additional Required Materials for International Applicants - Must also be received by the deadline

Applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS examination scores unless they have earned or will be earning a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from either:  

A regionally accredited U.S. college or university where English is the sole language of instruction, or 

A foreign college or university which provides instruction solely in English. UC Davis Graduate Studies will only approve waivers for foreign colleges and universities which list English as the sole language of instruction in the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED). If English is not the sole language of instruction listed (or if no language is listed at all), the waiver does not apply. No other documentation (e.g. letters, language certificates, school websites) will be reviewed or accepted.

UC Davis does not offer conditional admission for applicants who have not earned a passing TOEFL/IELTS score. The score report is required before application processing can be completed. Contact us if you have questions.

View English Language Testing Requirements

  1. Transcript Translations - As mentioned above, certified English Translations are required for all transcripts issued by the institution in a foreign language. Please upload both the non-English transcript and the English translation. For more information, please see the graduate studies website:

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Should my Statement of Purpose and Personal History statement be in English or Spanish?  We will accept either.  However, we recommend English so that the fellowship committee can read it.  (The fellowship committee is composed of faculty from various departments.)  The same is true for letters of recommendation.
  • When I preview the application, it seems like I didn't fill in some of the information, but I wasn't asked.  What should I do?  Our graduate program opted out of asking some questions because we felt they were redundant. You may not be able to fill in the following sections (and that is okay!):  Prior Experience; Prerequisite Course History; Future Interests or Goals; Resume/CV (upload).
  • Is funding available for international students? Yes. For information on graduate student financial support, click here.
  • Is funding available for undocumented or DACAmented students? Some scholarships and loans may be available to undocumented students thanks to the California Dream Act. In order to work as a Teaching Assistant, Associate Instructor, Reader, or Graduate Student Researcher, students must be authorized to work (by DACA or other means). To learn more, please visit the Undocumented Student Center website.
  • How do I apply for Spring admission? Applications for admission are accepted only for fall quarter admission.
  • Do my recommendation letters have to be from professors? Even if you obtained your degree a few years ago, it is still best to get at least two of your recommendations from professors. 
  • Do you accept transfer students from other universities? Students wishing to "transfer" must follow the same application process above. Once you have successfully completed one year at UC Davis, you may request to transfer up to two graduate courses (roughly one quarter of coursework) toward your degree at Davis. Transfer requests will be reviewed by the graduate committee.
  • I made a mistake in my online application.  Can I send you a corrected version? Unfortunately we are not able to alter your application once you have submitted it. Please take care to proofread your documents before the final submission.

For further questions about the admissions process or more information about the Spanish M.A. & Ph.D. programs, please contact Maria Ruby at