2023-24 Edition

Spanish, Ph.D.

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers a Ph.D. in Spanish with a focus in Spanish, Spanish-American, or Chicano/Latino literatures and cultures. The program integrates period and genre studies with work in literary and critical theory, linguistics, sociohistorical studies, and cultural studies. The Department seeks to professionalize its Ph.D. candidates not as narrow specialists but rather as scholars and critics acquainted with a range of fields that relate to and enhance their discipline. Graduate emphases in Latin American Studies, Visual Studies, Critical Theory, and Feminist Studies are available; other areas of study (for example, film, history) may be designed with approval from the student’s Ph.D. guidance committee. The Department has been traditionally committed to excellence in teaching, both in its own practice and in the formation of its graduates.

Language Requirements

An additional foreign language (with proficiency equivalent to the 2C level) is required; this requirement may be satisfied by examination or course work. The selection of a foreign language must be approved by the student’s guidance committee and is based on the specific research interests and field of study of the candidate.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 16 courses beyond the B.A. or eight beyond the M.A. are required. All students must take the following two required courses: The sequence HUMAN 398A-HUMAN 398B is completed over the course of two quarters; HUMAN 398A is taken during the spring quarter of the first year, and HUMAN 398B in the fall quarter of the second year.

SPANISH 239A is also required. Equivalent courses from other institutions may satisfy the requirement.

Continuing students and students who transfer into the doctoral program from elsewhere must take a minimum of eight graduate courses at UCI, of which six must be in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. With regard to students who enter the Ph.D. program with their master’s degree from another institution, the Ph.D. guidance committee will determine the number of courses that will be accepted.

Time to Degree

The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is seven years; four years to candidacy, three years in candidacy. The maximum time permitted is eight years.


The Department recognizes its responsibility to train all Ph.D. candidates as teachers and requires that all doctoral students with no prior teaching experience complete a minimum of three quarters of language teaching (SPANISH 399). Moreover, all doctoral students are encouraged to complete a teaching practicum by co-teaching an upper-division course with a professor and enrolling in SPANISH 292, which is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only.

Qualifying Examination

Upon completion of course work, the Ph.D. student advances to candidacy by passing the written and oral qualifying examinations by unanimous decision. The qualifying examination requires the student to develop two topics in close consultation with the examination committee. One topic must present a critical problem from a historical perspective, while the other may focus on a more specific area within the student’s major field of interest. Students are encouraged to incorporate theoretical and interdisciplinary components into the formulation of their topics. A two-hour oral examination that includes discussion of the written examinations is also required. The normative time for advancement to candidacy is four years.


A dissertation topic is chosen by the candidate in consultation with the dissertation director and committee, and normally falls within the major field covered by the qualifying examinations. The candidate presents a study plan to the dissertation committee, which approves the proposal and a preliminary research outline. The student submits drafts of chapters to the dissertation director who corrects and approves the drafts and circulates them to other committee members for commentary. The defense of the dissertation will occur upon its completion during the residency of the candidate.