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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Doctor of Philosophy in Iberian and Latin American Cultures

The requirements of the Ph.D. in ILAC are:

  1. 135 units of graduate-level course work with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) or above. Units completed for the M.A. degree can be counted toward the Ph.D.
  2. One course on introduction to literary theory or philosophical issues, which may be fulfilled with various courses offered in the Department and the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. Students should discuss the options with the Director of Graduate Studies or their adviser.
  3. Knowledge of Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish equivalent to one year of university study must be demonstrated before students take the comprehensive examination. In addition, Ph.D. students must have superior proficiency in one of these languages upon admission to the program.
  4. The qualifying paper, the comprehensive examination, and the University oral examination, as described below.
  5. Teaching of five courses in the department.
  6. Completion of a dissertation.

Independent study courses (ILAC 299, 399) and crosslisted courses originating outside the department may not be used to fulfill requirements except by consent of the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the student's graduate adviser. For residency and candidacy requirements, see the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. For further information, consult the department's Graduate Student Handbook.

In preparation for teaching, Ph.D. candidates are required to take DLCL 201 in the first year.

In consultation with the adviser, students choose one major field of study from the following:

  1. Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Literature and Culture
  2. Modern Iberian Literature and Culture
  3. Modern Latin American Literature and Culture (includes Brazil)
  4. U.S. Latino/Chicano Literature and Culture.

In addition, candidates choose two secondary areas of study outside the major field from any of the above.

At least four courses must be taken in the major field of study. At least two courses must be taken in each secondary area.

In addition to the department's course offerings, students may take relevant courses with the approval of their adviser in other departments and programs, such as courses in Comparative Literature, Feminist Studies, History, Humanities, Linguistics, or Modern Thought and Literature. It is also possible to complete a minor in another department with approval of the adviser. Not more than 20 units may be taken outside the department. Prior to the quarter in which the comprehensive examination is taken, students are required to take at least one graduate seminar in the department every quarter.

After the first year of study, the student's progress is evaluated by the faculty to determine whether continuation to the Ph.D. is recommended and whether there are particular areas where improvement is needed. For this evaluation, students submit a research paper of approximately 20 pages, called the qualifying paper, on October 1st of the second year. The requirements for this paper are outlined in the Graduate Student Handbook.

If approval of the qualifying paper is granted, the student should file a formal application for candidacy no later than the end of the second year, as prescribed by the University. Course requirements are usually completed by the third year of study. A written comprehensive examination on the major field and secondary areas is then taken. The examination is based on a list of readings, selected in consultation with the adviser, which integrates major and secondary topics in both Iberian and Latin American or Latino/Chicano Studies. At this time, students hand in a long research paper to be evaluated by the faculty. For further details, consult the Graduate Student Handbook.

Following the comprehensive examination, students should find a topic requiring extensive original research and request that a member of the department serve as dissertation adviser. The student must complete the Reading Committee form and request that the chair approve a committee to supervise the dissertation. The committee may advise extra preparation within or outside the department, and time should be allowed for such work. The University oral examination usually takes place one or two quarters after passing the comprehensive examination. The oral examination covers plans for the dissertation based on a prospectus approved by the committee (15 to 20 pages), and may be taken in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or Catalan, depending on the committee's composition.

The dissertation must be submitted to the reading committee in substantially final form at least four weeks before the University deadline in the quarter during which the candidate expects to receive the Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. dissertations must be completed and approved within five years from the date of admission to candidacy. Candidates taking more than five years must apply for reinstatement of candidacy and may not expect continued financial support.


The Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures participates in the Graduate Program in Humanities leading to a joint Ph.D. degree in Iberian and Latin American Cultures and Humanities. At this time, the option is available only to students already enrolled in the Graduate Program in Humanities. Although the Graduate Program in Humanities is not currently accepting new students, it continues to provide advising for students already enrolled as well as courses, open to all students. The University remains committed to a broad-based undergraduate education in the humanities, and a successor program is under discussion by the faculty of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. For further information, please consult Gregory Freidin, the director of the program; the list of courses and events may be found on the program web site:

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