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Doctor of Philosophy

Alhambra (asterix611, Flickr)
Alhambra (asterix611, Flickr)

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies offers a graduate program leading to the degree of PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures (Spanish).

For details on the application process, including deadlines, please see the main Graduate Studies page.

Doctoral students may specialize in either Literatures/Cultural Studies or Hispanic Linguistics. A minor is optional; it may be another Romance language or a different field related to the student’s major (such as English, History, Latin American Studies, Philosophy, Portuguese/Brazilian Literature, or Women’s Studies and Gender Research).

Description of Ph.D. Program in Spanish

Course Requirements

The Graduate School requires that doctoral candidates complete at least 90 hours above the baccalaureate degree. A maximum of 30 credits is awarded for a transfer MA. Doctoral students in the Department may choose to specialize either in the study of Spanish-language literature and culture (“Literature Track”) or in the study of the Spanish linguistics (“Linguistics Track”).

All Ph.D. candidates who are Teaching Assistants in the program must take SPN 6943, Romance Language Teaching Methods.

In the Literatures/Cultural Studies track, all candidates must take at least one course on each of the following areas: Peninsular (Medieval and Early Modern; 18th- and 19th-centuries; and contemporary) and Latin American (Colonial, 19th century, and contemporary).

In the Linguistics track, students pursue coursework in phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and language acquisition. They complement these courses with work in the Linguistics Department.

Graduate credit for work in and outside the major field

Graduate credit is awarded for courses numbered 5000 and above. The work in the major field must be in courses numbered 5000 or above. For work outside the major (minor or second foreign language requirement: see below) courses numbered 3000 or above, not to exceed 6 credits, may be taken provided they are part of an approved plan of study (Graduate Council, 2/17/00).


During pre-registration, students discuss their selection of courses for the following term with their main advisor. After completing the consultation, students must register online and submit a Semester Registration Record to the office staff. Pre-registration dates for the Summer and Fall terms are usually in March; for the Spring term, in October.

Language Competence

All entering graduate students must demonstrate competence in oral and written Spanish. A candidate who is judged by the Graduate Faculty to have an inadequate command of Spanish will be asked to do remedial work (such as SPN 6315 and/or other suitable courses). International students are required by state law to demonstrate competence in English by satisfactory performance on both the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and, if they apply for a teaching assistantship, the TOEFL iBT or Speak Test.

Additional Foreign Languages

Before admission to the Qualifying Examination, candidates must demonstrate functional knowledge of a second Romance language or of another foreign language deemed appropriate to their specialization and approved by their supervisory committees. Functional knowledge may be demonstrated by completion (with a grade of B or better) of a third-year course (3000-level number) approved by the Graduate Coordinator, or by passing a proficiency test at that level. The supervisory committee may require reading knowledge of a third foreign language if such knowledge is judged appropriate for the candidate’s research. The third foreign language requirement can be satisfied in the same way, though only reading proficiency will be expected.


Most doctoral students will be given the opportunity to gain teaching experience through a teaching assistantship, dependent upon departmental need and availability of funds. Renewal of the assistantship is contingent upon satisfactory performance as a teaching assistant and as a graduate student.


A minor (or secondary specialization if within the department) consists of 12 to 24 credit hours at the 5000 level or higher. Some programs at UF (such as Latin American Studies or Women’s Studies) offer graduate certificates that offer further opportunities for academic development.


Students’ work and teaching will be evaluated annually by the graduate faculty. A summary of the annual evaluation will be sent to the student by the end of every spring semester, indicating, if applicable, whether a reappointment as Graduate Teaching Assistant has been recommended. Any student whose average falls below B (3.0) for two consecutive terms will be dropped from the program. Grades of “I” (incomplete) will be given only for compelling reasons.

Supervisory Committee

All students are required to form a Supervisory Committee by the end of the second semester. The Committee comprises at least four members, all of whom must be on the graduate faculty, and one of whom must be from outside the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies. In addition, one committee member must represent the area of the student’s minor, if any. Subject to certain Graduate School and Departmental requirements, the student’s Supervisory Committee has the final authority to determine the curriculum to be followed by the student and to compose and administer the Qualifying Examination, through which the student is advanced to candidacy and granted the opportunity of writing a dissertation.

Questions? Contact the Graduate Coordinator at