The Ph.D. (HLL)

Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures

Prerequisites for Admission

  1. A B.A. degree with studies in Spanish, Spanish-American, Portuguese, or Luso -Brazilian literatures; or another field with demonstrable bearing on Hispanic and/or Luso-Brazilian studies.
  2. Native or near-native proficiency in either Spanish or Portuguese.

Program Overview

In close consultation with faculty, the student will develop a specialization in one of two tracks:

  • Hispanic and Spanish American literature and culture,
  • Luso-Brazilian literature and culture,

Each track will be organized around student areas of interest. Course preparation will lead to the Qualifying Examination, followed by the completion of a dissertation in the field.

*Students interested in Hispanic Linguistics are encouraged to apply through Romance Languages and Literatures program.

Descriptions:  

Upon arrival in Berkeley, students in these two tracks will meet with a designated First-Year Mentor, who will assess their preparation and advise them on appropriate coursework for their first four semesters. Advising after the first year will be done by the Department’s Head Graduate Adviser (HGA) or a designated assistant adviser. Although students during those first four semesters will naturally want to take courses in their main areas of interest and also look to fulfilling requirements for the Ph.D., they are also expected to concentrate on coursework in areas that they have not studied before, in order to prepare themselves for the general examination.

The immediate goal of the new graduate student is the General Examination, scheduled for their fourth semester. This exam is based on a standard reading list of Spanish and Latin American literature that first-year students will receive when they enter the program. The reading list represents literature from all of the traditional sub-fields. A four-person committee appointed by the Chair will conduct the exam. A Pass is required in order to continue in the program. Students who come to Berkeley with an M.A. or otherwise have a strong preparation may petition to take the exam before the fourth semester.

After passing the General Examination, students will submit a Statement of Purpose that reflects greater intellectual maturity after two years of graduate study, as well as possible changes in primary area of interest, greater understanding of research areas, and other changes in a student’s conception of his/her role in the field. The Statement, together with the results of the General Examination and the student’s performance in coursework, will be considered by the faculty of the Department as a whole, who will then vote whether to allow the student to continue in the program.

Students invited to continue in the program will concentrate their coursework on remaining Ph.D. requirements including any Designated Emphases (Film, Gender Studies, Critical Theory, etc.) they may have chosen. Formal advising will continue to be carried out by the HGA or an assistant. In addition, the specialist in the student’s chosen field will increasingly mentor the student.

The Qualifying Examination will normally take place in the student’s eighth semester, but may be moved forward in instances of adequate preparation. Early in the semester in which students plan to take the Oral Ph.D. Exam (QE), they will write three field statements, with accompanying bibliographies. Each statement will focus on a pressing topic or problematic, a “deep dive” within the student’s intended field of specialization. The intended fields of specialization should generally track the common areas of specialization in the academic job market. After submitting the three field statements and bibliography, the student will take a 2-day written exam based on questions related to them. The field-statements and the written exam will be assessed by the student’s examination committee in order to determine whether or not the student is prepared to proceed to the oral examination. After passing the Qualifying Examination, students will have two years to research and write a dissertation, embodying the results of original research on a subject chosen by the student. The degree should be completed within the program’s normative time of six years.

Mentoring

All incoming students will be assigned to a First-year Mentor (1 faculty member) responsible for assessing their preparation and helping the incoming students during their transition into the program. Curricular advising in years 2, 3, and 4 will be carried out by the Head Graduate Adviser or designate in consultation with appropriate faculty, according to students’ interests.

Mentoring for advanced students (years 3 and 4) continues to come from faculty likely to be part of the students Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.

General Examination

All second-year students will take a written General Examination. The exam will be based on a reading list of Spanish and Latin American literature (70-80 titles total) that first-year students will receive when they enter the program. It represents literature from all of the traditional sub-fields (Medieval, Early Modern and Modern Spain, Colonial and Modern Latin America). The General Examination will be administered in the 4th semester, so normally in the spring, although students will be able to petition for an accelerated progress and an early exam.

After completing the General Examination, students will submit a Statement of Purpose. The Statement is similar in scope and length to that originally submitted on the student’s Application for Graduate Study, but should reflect greater intellectual maturity after two years of graduate study, as well as changes in primary area of interest, greater understanding of research areas, and other changes in a student’s conception of his/her role in the field. The Statement, together with the results of the General Examination and the student’s performance in coursework, will be considered by the faculty of the Department as a whole, who will then vote whether to allow the student to continue in the program.

The exam will be administered by a standing committee of the Department, so the same committee will evaluate every student. The exam will be scheduled for shortly after Spring Break, allowing a month for grading.  Passing the exam is necessary for an MA, for those students entering with a BA. Students who fail the exam will not be granted the degree. Students may repeat the exam once if they fail it.

Permission to Continue in the Ph.D.

The faculty of the department as a whole will decide if a student should continue in the program, based on performance on the General Examination experience of the student in coursework, and the student’s Statement of Purpose.

 Course Requirements

 All courses used to satisfy a requirement or courses taken toward study program, must be taken for a letter grade option only. Passing grade for graduate students is a B or better.

A minimum of twelve courses are required for the Ph.D. This includes eleven courses in the department, and at least one course outside. Up to two Upper-Division courses would be allowed with permission of the graduate adviser. In addition to the 11, students will take courses for Designated Emphases, language study, etc.  Courses numbered 298, 601, 602 would remain as options but do not count towards course requirements.

The following must be included within the 11-course requirement:

  • One graduate seminar in Portuguese
  • One graduate seminar outside of the historical period of major emphasis in a transatlantic field (Spanish America for those whose major emphasis is peninsular Spanish; peninsular Spanish for those whose major emphasis is Spanish America)
  • One graduate seminar in literary theory or containing a strong theoretical component
  • One course in Spanish and/or Portuguese language pedagogy (Spanish 375)

Foreign Language Requirement

For students in Literature two foreign languages pertinent to the specialization. Of these, Spanish for students of Luso-Brazilian studies and Portuguese for students of Hispanic literatures are required, and must be fulfilled through graduate course work taught in the pertinent language (not English). The second language requirement must be satisfied by passing the Language Reading Examinations administered by the respective language department. The requirement should be satisfied as early as possible in the student’s doctoral career and must be completed prior to Admission to the Qualifying Examination.

 Qualifying Examination (QE)

 The examination committee (constituted the semester prior to QE) is made up of five members, including at least one person from outside the Department. One member of the committee will chair the exam; this person may not direct the dissertation. All members of the committee, including the “outside” member, must be Academic Senate members. All five members of the Qualifying Examination Committee must be present and voting at the oral examination.

Final composition of the Qualifying Examination Committee is approved by the Head Graduate Adviser. Final versions of the field statements and bibliographies will be turned in no later than one-month before the date set for the oral examination.

Student must complete the QE application form with the Graduate Assistant at least four weeks before the exam. Students may not take the Qualifying Examination if they have more than one Incomplete.

The oral portion of the QE will consist of a three-hour examination conducted by a committee of five, one of whom at least must be from outside the Department.

Early in the semester in which they hope to take their oral Ph.D. Exam, students will write three 5- to 8-page statements, with accompanying bibliographies. Each statement will focus on a pressing topic or problematic, a “deep dive” within the student’s intended field of specialization. The student will then take a 2-day written exam based on questions related to the statements and bibliographies. The field-statements and the written exam will be assessed by the student’s exam committee in order to determine whether or not the student is prepared to proceed with to the oral exam.

Prospectus

Once the Qualifying Examination has been passed and formal Advancement to Candidacy is approved by the Graduate Division, the student will submit a dissertation proposal, with selected bibliography, to the Dissertation Committee before the end of the first semester following the Qualifying Examination. It is expected that the proposal will describe the intended research, provide a basic bibliography and, if possible, set the project within current research in the field (10-15 pages on average). After examining this material, the dissertation committee will meet with the student to discuss the proposal, to set up a timetable, and to give final approval to the dissertation project. A signed copy of the report should be given to the graduate assistant for the student’s file.

Dissertation

Upon constituting the dissertation committee, the student will apply for Advancement to Candidacy. Doctoral students should bear in mind that it is to their advantage to be “Advanced to Candidacy” as soon as possible following completion of the Qualifying Examination, preferably by the end of the semester in which the Qualifying Examination is passed.

 The student will write a doctoral dissertation under the guidance of a director or co-directors and faculty committee (selected by the student and his/her Graduate Advisor and approved by the Graduate Division), embodying the results of original research on a subject chosen by the student in consultation with the dissertation director(s).

Dissertation committees are made up of a minimum of three members, including one person from “outside” the Department, who serves as the Academic Senate Representative. The Chair of the student’s Qualifying Examination Committee cannot direct the dissertation.

After completion of the QE by the 8th semester, students will have two years to research and write a dissertation according to the program’s normative time of six years.

Dissertation in a Language other than English

Special approval from the Graduate Council is required to submit a dissertation or thesis in a language other than English. A memo from your dissertation director requesting permission to the Dean must be sent to the Graduate Division early in the first semester following the Qualifying Examination. After approval is given, an abstract in English must be included with the dissertation or thesis. Please contact the Graduate Assistant for instructions.

Normal Progress Schedule

“Normative Time” (NT) allowance for the program is set at six (6) years. The Normative time to Advancement to Candidacy is four (4) years (time to QE).

Foreign ABD (All But Dissertation) students have a maximum of three-years (after passing QE) of waived Non-Resident Tuition (NRT) to file the dissertation. Any delay in filing will be at the student expense.

SEMESTER                                            REQUIREMENT COMPLETED — ALL TRACKS

1 – Assessment of student’s preparation by First-Year Mentor, general planning for the first two years (all tracks). Enroll in Fall Colloquium (Span 200A). Begin coursework/Foreign language requirements.
2 – Continue fulfilling coursework and filling-in of gaps in anticipation of the General Examination. Foreign language requirements.
3 – Continue fulfilling coursework and filling-in of gaps in anticipation of the General Examination. Foreign language requirements.
4 – General Examination, followed by permission to continue in the program for the Ph.D.  Further coursework in fulfillment of requirements.
5 – Fulfillment of course requirements for the Ph.D., including any Designated Emphases and foreign language.
6 – Fulfillment of course requirements for the Ph.D., including any Designated Emphases and foreign language.
7 – Fulfillment of course requirements for the Ph.D., including any Designated Emphases and Foreign language requirement, if pending.
8 – Qualifying Examination completed no later than the eighth semester.
9 – Advancement to Candidacy. Dissertation Proposal. Begin Dissertation research and writing.
10 – Dissertation writing
11 – Dissertation writing
12 – Filing or finish dissertation by the end of the 12th term.