PhD in Spanish Literature and Culture

Spanish Literature and Cultural Studies
New Graduate Program Requirements for Students Entering in Fall 2015 and forward
M.S. Degree

1. Director of Graduate Studies

Students should consult with the DGS, currently Professor Yarza, any time they have questions about the program. Students are responsible for checking with the DGS at least once per semester to make certain that they are not only taking the appropriate courses, but are also following the correct sequence of courses. New students must meet with the DGS prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. Continuing students must meet with the DGS during pre-registration. All students must meet again with her during add/drop period if changes to their registration are necessary, as students cannot change their course selection without prior approval from the DGS.

2. Course and Examination Requirements

The following course and examination requirements must be met for the M.S. in Literature and Cultural Studies:

A.  2 required courses to be taken preferably during the first year:

  • 500 Spanish Teaching Methodology
  • 461 Introduction to Critical Theory

B. 6 courses, chosen from the following subject fields: (each course must be from a different field)

  • 1. Medieval Peninsular literature and culture (to 1500)
  • 2. Early Modern Peninsular Literature and culture (to 1700)
  • 3. Modern and Contemporary Peninsular literature and culture
  • 4. Ethnography
  • 5. Latin American colonial literature and culture
  • 6. Modern and Contemporary Latin American literature and culture
  • 7. Luso-Brazilian literature and culture
  • 8. Transatlantic literature and culture

C. 3 free elective courses from any of the seven subject fields

3. Language Requirement

All Master’s students must show reading proficiency in a language other than English or Spanish. The language requirement must be completed prior to taking the Master’s comprehensive exam. Each student should consult with the appropriate language department
administering the examination to inquire about the standards and format of the test. Please see guidelines.

4. Comprehensive Examination

During the fourth semester of the program, students will complete a comprehensive written examination. The examinations are based upon the works listed in the department’s Master’s Examination Primary Texts Reading Lists, available below. Prior to taking the examination, students should consult with the faculty to discuss their intentions, and request further critical and bibliographical guidance. The student will choose to be examined in six of the following eight fields. Exams may be presented in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

1. Medieval Peninsular literature and culture (to 1500)
2. Early Modern Peninsular Literature and culture (to 1700)
3. Modern and contemporary Peninsular literature and culture
4. Ethnography
5. Latin American colonial literature and culture
6. Modern and Contemporary Latin American literature and culture
7. Luso-Brazilian literature and culture
8. Transatlantic literature and culture

The examination will be given each year at the end of the spring semester. Students must notify the DGS that they plan to take an examination at least three weeks prior to its scheduled administration.

Exam format: Students will receive two essay questions and one selection for textual analysis for each exam field.  Students will choose one of the two essay questions in five of the six exam fields and write a textual analysis in the sixth field.

A grade of “low pass” or higher is necessary to pass the M.S. exam, while a grade of “pass” or higher is required for authorization to continue on to the Ph.D. first exam. The examination must be completed by the fourth semester of study for the Master’s. Students not taking the examination within this time frame must petition the department for an extension. In the event of an unsuccessful outcome, the student may retake the examination only once, and within one year of the first exam. If the student does not pass one section, s/he may retake that section only. If a student receives a does not earn a passing grade in more than one section of the exam, the exam must be taken again in its entirety.

Spanish Literature and Culture M.S. Exam Reading Lists

*Click on link to access list*

Ph.D. degree

1. Director of Graduate Studies and Adviser

Students should consult with the DGS, currently Professor Yarza, any time they have questions about the program. Students are responsible for checking with the DGS at least once per semester to make certain that they are not only taking the appropriate courses, but are also following the correct sequence of courses. New students must meet with the DGS prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. Continuing students must meet with the DGS during pre-registration. All students must meet again with her during add/drop period if changes to their registration are necessary, as students cannot change their course selection without prior approval from the DGS.

By the second year of study for the Ph.D., students choose an adviser whose research interests coincide with their area of concentration. This adviser could be the student’s potential dissertation mentor.

2. Prerequisites

Students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. must have completed successfully the eleven courses required for Master’s candidates. They must also have passed the comprehensive examination taken to satisfy the Master’s requirements with a minimum grade of “pass,” plus obtain departmental approval to advance to the doctorate. Departmental approval to advance to the doctoral program will be based on a combined assessment of performance in courses and on the Master’s examination.

3. Courses

Students qualified to pursue the Ph.D. must complete six additional courses beyond the Master’s chosen in consultation with a prospective dissertation mentor for a total of 17 courses beyond the B.A. (For students entering with a Master’s from another institution or program, see #7). At least one of these courses should be a graduate-level course offered outside the department in another discipline. Students may take a maximum of three graduate courses outside the department during the course of their graduate work.

4. Language Requirement

In addition to completing the requirements outlined under A 3, Ph.D., students will show reading proficiency in an additional language other than English, Spanish, or the one offered to satisfy the language requirement for the Master’s. This requirement should be completed prior to the approval of the dissertation proposal outlined below. Please see guidelines.

5. Complete the Requirements in One Minor Field. In consultation with the mentor, DSG, and minor field specialist, the student will define a minor field. The requirement can be satisfied by completing four graduate level courses with a grade of B+ in the department or an interdisciplinary field.

6. Pass the Examination in One Major Field chosen from the eight area fields listed above with a minimum grade of “Pass”. In the major field, there will be a take-home exam divided in two parts. In the first part, the student will be examined in the area field he/she plans to write a dissertation. In the second part, the student will be examined on the theoretical framework of his/her dissertation as part of the preparation for writing the dissertation proposal. For the exam the student will develop two reading lists in consultation with the examining committee (usually two faculty from the field) and the DGS. The final lists should be submitted to the examining committee and the DGS at least 3 months prior to the exam. The first part of the exam will consist of five questions from which three will be selected, one of which will be a textual analysis (unless the major field requires an alternative format). In the second part of the exam, the student will be asked to elaborate on the theoretical framework of his/her dissertation. The student will have two (2) days for the first part and a week for the second part. This exam should be taken the semester after the last semester of coursework is completed. Grade options are: 1) Distinction, 2) High Pass, 3) Pass, 4) Fail. In the event of a failing grade, the student may take the exam once more the following semester.

7. Students with a Master’s from Another Institution

For students who enroll in the PhD program with a Master’s from another program, the department will review the student’s preparation to ensure near-equivalency with the Georgetown Master’s. Students who need additional background preparation may show proficiency by additional coursework or by taking the Master’s exam. Students entering the Ph.D. program in Literature and Cultural Studies with a Master’s degree in Spanish and/or Portuguese from another institution will be required to complete twelve courses at Georgetown, including 461 and 500 or their equivalent. Up to five graduate courses will be accepted from another graduate program toward the total of seventeen courses past the Bachelor’s degree. If equivalents of 461 or 500 have not been taken at the Master’s level, they should be included. They must also pass successfully the PhD examination in the major field, complete the minor field requirement, and demonstrate reading proficiency in two languages other than English or Spanish.

8. Teaching Requirement

All Ph.D. students are required to teach under the supervision of a faculty mentor within the department in partial fulfillment or satisfaction of degree requirements. This requirement serves the purpose of furthering the students’ education and professional training.

9. Dissertation Proposal

After successful completion of these requirements, the student will draft a dissertation prospectus for departmental discussion, to be presented one semester after the PhD exam. The prospectus will be more than an overview of the topic; considerable research on the subject must be evident so that rigorous discussion may take place. The proposal must be approved by a committee consisting of the mentor and two evaluators.

10. Dissertation

Upon approval of the dissertation proposal, the student will enroll in two successive courses of Thesis Research in the last year of study when the dissertation is written. The dissertation committee will consist of the faculty mentor, at least one reader from the department, and at least one reader from outside the department. The dissertation may be written in Spanish, Portuguese, or English. Upon completion of the dissertation and its approval by the dissertation committee, there will be a public presentation and defense of the dissertation in order to satisfy fully the requirements for conferral of the doctorate.

11. Academic Performance and Academic Integrity

Every student pursuing graduate studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese is required always to adhere to high standards of academic performance and integrity. They are responsible for knowing the policies and standards of the Graduate School and the department concerning the infringement of academic integrity.

Accelerated Bachelor/Master Degree Program

Professors Alejandro Yarza and Ronald Leow, Directors of Graduate Studies in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, invite you to apply to the joint A.B./M.S. program in Spanish Literature & Culture or Spanish Linguistics.

The program allows undergraduate students who are accepted in the program to have two graduate-level courses in their major credited toward both the bachelors and the master’s degrees. Additional graduate courses in the major beyond the 38 courses and the 120 credits can also be applied toward the master’s degree, up to a maximum of six credits. This is an honors program. Students with a minimum cumulative average of a 3.5 in the major are eligible to apply for the program at the end of their junior year. Students can apply online here.

  • Students should first discuss the program with their faculty adviser and either Dr. Yarza (Literature and Culture) or Dr. Leow (Linguistics). Upon completion of the application, they should obtain a dean’s signature. They should submit a letter to the Director of Graduate Studies along with the Graduate School application and three letters of recommendation to the Graduate School.
  • The Department reviews the application and sends its decision to the Graduate School. Applications are reviewed in the same fashion as all graduate applications.
  • The Graduate School gives final approval and notifies the student of the decision.

For information on requirements, course offerings, and other details please see the Graduate School Bulletin and the Graduate School Catalog.