Application Information

Note:  Applicants are encouraged to clarify any questions concerning the Admissions/GSI application procedures with the Staff Graduate Adviser at


Applicants for admission to the graduate program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese must submit the Graduate Division’s on-line Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships on or before the deadline.

*Beginning Fall 2021, students interested in Hispanic Linguistics are encouraged to apply through Romance Languages and Literatures program.

  • Deadline:  Ph.D. HISPANIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES DECEMBER 15, 2020 (8:59 p.m., PST)
  • Deadline: Ph.D. ROMANCE LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES DECEMBER 15, 2020 (8:59 p.m., PST)

The department offers two Ph.D. programs, a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures, emphasis Spanish. Students should become thoroughly acquainted with both degree programs (HLL and RLL) and determine which program best reflects their objectives before submitting their application.

Students are responsible for reading and complying with all application guidelines. All supporting documents listed below must be submitted by the December deadline through the University online application. The time available to departments for the review of applications is extremely limited.  Please note that late and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applications are accepted for Fall term only.


  • Graduate Division Admissions Application: Applicants must complete the Admission application by logging onto the site directly. The on-line application will become available beginning September for the following year’s Fall admission cycle.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation. You must obtain three letters of recommendation to support your application. Letters should be written by persons in a position to judge your academic abilities and potential in the field. They must be submitted online through the University online application. Recommendation Letters must be uploaded by DECEMBER 22nd at the latest!!
  • Transcripts – All undergraduate and graduate work from each institution attended. This includes foreign institutions, study abroad programs, junior colleges, and certification programs. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution with a satisfactory scholastic average of a minimum of 3.0 (B) is required. Upload unofficial transcripts with the online application for the departmental review. Official transcripts  will be required if admitted.
  • GRE scores are not required for Hispanic Languages and Literatures program.
  • GRE Scores are required for admission to RLL.  Applicants must authorize the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send the official score report to Berkeley.  Berkeley’s institution code is 4833.

    Please note that the GRE requirement for RLL will be waived for the Fall 2021 admission cycle only.

  •  International students who have never attended an English-speaking university must take the TOEFL examination, or equivalent. Note: Students working on a M.A. degree in Spanish/Portuguese from a U.S. institution are required to take the TOEFL as evidence of English proficiency. A minimum score of 90 on the Toefl iBT is required for admission. TOEFL scores must be less than two (2) years old. Tests taken before June 1, 2019 will not be accepted.  You must request that Educational Testing Service (ETS) send the score report directly to UC Berkeley, please use the following codes, Institution code: 4833.   
  • Writing Sample. Required for all applicants. Writing samples should be in the form of thesis or research paper on a topic relevant to the fields of Romance and/or Hispanic languages and literature (about 15 pages. English, Spanish, and Portuguese are accepted). Writing sample must be uploaded with the online application.
  • Graduate Student Instructor Application (GSI). Applications for Graduate Student Instructor for the teaching of Spanish and Portuguese are accepted from applicants newly seeking admission to our graduate program. Candidates must upload the GSI application and recording to the main graduate division admissions application.

Statement of Purpose: In your statement please indicate why you wish to pursue graduate studies, your goals, the intellectual field of primary interest and the topic(s) within it that you have worked on in classes, papers or trips abroad. Please explain why the topic is compelling and how you wish to develop it at Berkeley (approximately 500-1000 words). For more information click here.

Personal Statement: Personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the committee an image of you as a person. This is where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diversity population in higher education (approximately 500-1000 words).  For more information click here.

Calculating GPA: If you need help calculating your GPA, please go to the following link for assistance.

IMPORTANT: For the purpose of campus-wide fellowship competitions, applicants who submit the statement of purpose and personal history statement in Spanish/Portuguese should also submit an English version of both.


The Departmental Committee on Admissions and Fellowships examines and evaluates all applications for admission (including those with requests for fellowships and/or teaching appointments) early in the spring semester of each year. Its recommendations concerning admission and fellowships are made to the Graduate Division by mid-February.

The Department informs all applicants recommended for admission, admission with fellowship, or admission with teaching appointment in early March; formal admission letters from the Graduate Division follow shortly.

Criteria for the selection of applicants for graduate study in the various programs offered by the Department include the following, the first four being of principal importance: closeness of previous academic record to the stated prerequisites for the program of interest, especially in breadth and strength of studies; recommendation letters, with special attention to evaluations of research potential; GPA in the B.A. (and if appropriate, in the M.A.) courses in the appropriate fields, including language proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan; statement of purpose, showing evidence of intellectual initiative and commitment; student’s stated field of emphasis, in light of departmental offerings and fields of faculty specializations.