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This archived information is dated to the 2008-09 academic year only and may no longer be current.

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

Doctor of Philosophy in Spanish

The requirements of the Ph.D. in Spanish 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, which may be fulfilled with COMPLIT 369
  3. Knowledge of Portuguese and Catalan equivalent to one year of university study
  4. The qualifying paper, the comprehensive examination, and the University oral examination, as described below
  5. Teaching of three to five courses in the department
  6. Completion of a dissertation

Independent study courses (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, by the third week of Winter Quarter 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 Spanish and Portuguese participates in the Graduate Program in Humanities leading to a Ph.D. degree in Spanish and Humanities. For a description of that program, see the "Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities" section of this bulletin.

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