Doctor of Philosophy in Spanish

General Information:

The Department of Modern Languages offers a variety of opportunities for advanced study. The Ph.D. program in Hispanic Literature is designed to prepare students to become first-rate scholars and teachers, primarily in institutions of higher learning. In addition to two major fields of specialization (Peninsular Spanish Literature and Spanish American Literature), minors are available in Peninsular Spanish Literature, Spanish American Literature, and Hispanic Linguistics. Candidates to the Ph.D. must pass a qualifying examination.

Description of the Program

The doctoral program consists of 75 semester hours of graduate level work beyond the Bachelor's degree, distributed as follows: 57 graduate credits of courses and 18 credits of dissertation. Students holding Master of Arts degrees in Spanish or Hispanic Studies will be considered for admission and some or all of their graduate credits may be counted toward the doctoral degree after being evaluated and approved by the Graduate Studies Committee. Student will be able to transfer a maximum of 36 graduate credits from an earned graduate degree.

Course Distribution

Core Courses: (9 credits)

All core courses must be taken as graduate courses offered by the University and may not be taken as independent studies:

  • FOL 5943 Foreign Language Teaching Methodology
  • SPW 5806 Methods of literary research
  • SPW 6825 Literary Theory and Criticism

Distribution Requirement: (15 credits)

All students must take:

  • One course in Medieval or Golden Age Peninsular Spanish Literature
  • One course in Peninsular Spanish Literature of the 18th-21st century
  • One course in Colonial/19th century Spanish American Literature
  • One course in 20th century Spanish American Literature
  • One additional course in Spanish American Literature

Electives: (33 credits)

Students may choose from graduate courses in literature, linguistics, culture, and translation/interpretation.

Dissertation: (18 credits)

Independent Studies

Students who want to conduct research in a very specialized field with a particular faculty member will be allowed to register for a 3-credit independent study course. No more than two such independent study will be allowed without permission from the Graduate Program Director and only in exceptional cases. Under no circumstances will a student be authorized to take a regularly-taught course as an independent study. Independent studies are envisioned as an opportunity for students to carry out specialized research, not as a substitute for regular courses.


Dissertation Proposal

The dissertation proposal consists of two documents: 1) A concise (max. 5 pages double-spaced) dissertation proposal following University Graduate School guidelines; 2) a more developed statement of research purpose and plans (15-20 pages long). Students should circulate these two documents among all the members of the committee at least two weeks prior to the oral defense. The dissertation proposal has to be approved by the four members of the dissertation committee. Please see the Graduate Student Handbook for more details Here

The dissertation proposal is a five-page document with an appended bibliography that explains in detail the proposed thesis topic, the critical instrument chosen to approach it, existing scholarship on the subject, and an overarching plan for its development. The proposal is prepared in consultation with the thesis adviser but it is revised and evaluated by all the members of the student's graduate committee. The proposal should follow the general guidelines in the Regulations for Thesis and Dissertation Preparation. A copy of the approved proposal must be filed with the Dean of Graduate Studies at least one full semester prior to defense of the dissertation or thesis.

Students who have completed all coursework must register in SPW 7910 Pre-dissertation Research during the semester in which he or she expects to be admitted to candidacy. Students fully admitted to candidacy subsequently register in SPN 7980 Dissertation Research. Candidates must be registered in at least three credit-hours of dissertation research every semester --including at least one summer term-- once he or she begins such preparation. The candidate must be enrolled for at least three dissertation credits during the semester in which the doctoral degree is awarded.

The statement of research purpose and plans is internal to the department.


A dissertation or thesis is a formal and systematic discourse or treatise advancing an original point of view as a result of research. A dissertation is required of all candidates for the doctoral degree.

Upon completion of a dissertation or thesis, the degree candidate will submit to the Dean of Graduate Studies an application for thesis or dissertation defense signed by the dissertation director. The application must be filed in sufficient time to allow the Dean of Graduate Studies to publish the notice in a monthly calendar of dissertation and theses defenses for the University community.

Copies of the final version of the dissertation, prepared in accordance with the most recent edition of the MLA Style Manual or MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Paper and the FIU Guidelines for Thesis and Dissertation Writers (available from the Office of Graduate Studies), together with an abstract in English of a maximum of 350 words, must be submitted to the Dissertation Committee at least four weeks before the Oral Defense of the Dissertation, which must be scheduled following UGS calendar.

Dissertation Defense

The date, time, and place of the Defense will be announced by memo from the Dissertation Director at least two weeks in advanced to the rest of the committee, the candidate, the Director of Graduate Studies, the department Chairperson, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Media Relations.

The oral defense, which is open to public, will take the following form: 10-15 minute presentation by candidate, 10 minute question period from each member of the dissertation committee.

Following the successful defense, as determined by a majority vote of the student's committee, the dissertation or thesis is forwarded to the Academic Dean and to the dean of graduate studies for their approval.

The Ph.D. dissertation must be completed within five years of the doctoral comprehensive examination, or the examination will have to be retaken.

Seminars on Professional Concerns

The Department of Modern Languages recognizes the need to inform graduate students regarding a wide range of professional issues directly related to the successful development of their academic careers. To that end, each year it sponsors a series of meetings during which these concerns can be more fully addressed and explored. The professional concerns seminars meet as needed and are led by one or several faculty members. Topics to be covered include "Publishing your work," "Participating in conferences and symposia," "Applying for grants and fellowships," "Writing the curriculum vitae," "Applying for jobs," and "Preparing for an interview." Other possible topics for discussion might include book reviewing, publishing the dissertation and networking. Students may also propose a seminar on a topic not listed here that is of special professional concern to them. Such proposals are channeled through the Director of Graduate Studies.

Graduate and Teaching Assistantships

A limited number of assistantships are available each year for doctoral students. Candidates seeking an assistantship must apply in writing to the Graduate Program Director by December 15th. Assistantships normally consist of a stipend of $20,000 per academic year (including the summer terms) and a matriculation fee-waiver.

In exchange, students who receive assistantships must work twenty hours per week for the Department and must take a minimum of nine credits per semester and six credits in the summer. Students with more than eighteen graduate credits generally fulfill their work requirements by teaching one language class per term.

Assistantships are incompatible with outside employment. Please see the Graduate Program Director for further information. Renewal is not automatic but contingent upon the student's successful performance in the following areas: (1) academics (2) work as graduate or teaching assistant, (3) participation in all the meetings and activities organized by the department. Renewals must be approved by the graduate committee in consultation with the student’s advisor and the Language Coordinator. In order to have the Teaching Assistantship renewed, ABDs will have to show adequate progress towards the completion of their dissertation.

For information on additional special scholarships, please contact the Graduate Program Director.

Selected Course Offerings

  • Methods of Literary Research
  • Literary Theory and Criticism
  • Historiography of Literature
  • The Structure of Spanish
  • History of the Spanish Language
  • Spanish in the United States
  • Dialectology of the Spanish Caribbean
  • Learning Technology in Spanish Pedagogy and Research
  • Spanish Culture
  • Spanish American Culture
  • Hispanic Culture in the US
  • Afro-Cuban Culture
  • The Latin American Experience in Literature and Film
  • Colonial Latin American Literature
  • 19th Century Latin American Literature
  • Spanish American Modernism
  • The Traditional Spanish American Novel
  • Primitivism in Spanish American Literature
  • Magical Realism
  • Contemporary Spanish American Novel
  • Spanish American Historical Novel
  • Spanish American Essay
  • Prose and Poetry of Jorge Luis Borges
  • Poetry of Pablo Neruda
  • Eros in the Poetry of Spanish American Women Writers
  • Spanish American Women Writers
  • Hispanic Literature of the US
  • Mexico in Poetry
  • Literature of the Spanish Caribbean
  • 19th Century Spanish Caribbean Literature
  • Cuban Theater
  • Cuban Narrative
  • Prose and Poetry of José Martí
  • Literature of Hispanics in the United States
  • Medieval Spanish Literature
  • Cervantes
  • The Renaissance in Spain
  • Golden Age Prose
  • Golden Age Poetry
  • Spanish Romanticism and Neoclassicism
  • Spanish Realism and Naturalism
  • Seminar on Benito Pérez Galdós
  • Generation of 98
  • 20th Century Spanish Novel
  • Poetry of Jorge Guillén
  • Seminar on Federico García Lorca
  • Seminar on Antonio Buero Vallejo
  • Modern Spanish Women Writers
  • Representation of Women in Spanish Literature and Film
  • 20th Century Spanish Poetry