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Hispanic Languages and Literatures, MA/PhD

Students who wish to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Hispanic Languages and Literatures who do not already hold an MA in this field, or an appropriate MA in another department of the University of Pittsburgh or another accredited university, must first earn an en route Master of Arts degree in our department.

Requirements for the PhD with En Route MA

The en route MA requires a minimum of 30 credits; 24 credits must be in substantive courses in the department, meeting major field and minor field requirements; the remaining 6 credits can consist of any combination of courses taken outside of the department (including transfer credits), a maximum of 1 Independent Reading and 1 Directed Study course.

Teaching assistants and teaching fellows new to the department are required to take a course in teaching methodology and language learning to assist them in teaching unless a waiver is obtained.

In addition to the minimum of 30 credits, during the fourth year of full-time study (or its equivalent):

  • Students must complete a long paper in the department, which is graded and serves as one part of the MA Comprehensive/PhD Preliminary examination.
  • Students must also sit for the two-day MA Comprehensive/PhD Preliminary examination

Including the MA-level work, a minimum of 72 credit hours must be attained for the PhD. Students who have received the en route MA and are working toward the PhD in the department must take a total of 48 credits of substantive courses in the department. The remaining 24 credits may consist of courses taken outside of the department, credits transferred from other institutions, directed study, or PhD comprehensive exam/overview. Up to a maximum of 12 credits of PhD dissertation research credits are permitted to count toward these 24 credits.

Students who enter the department with an MA in Spanish or a related field from another institution must complete 30 credits of substantive course work out of the 72 total credits required for the PhD. The remaining 42 credits can be distributed among credits transferred from the institution from which they earned their MA’s (normally, up to 24 are allowed, in exchange for the fifth year of funding), courses taken in other departments at the University of Pittsburgh, directed study and PhD comprehensive exam/overview credits, and up to 12 credits of PhD dissertation research.

PhD Preliminary Exam

Students who enter the department with an MA in Spanish from another institution must pass the two-day PhD Preliminary examination in the fourth term of graduate study in the department, after which they can petition for the transfer of credits and continue on for the PhD.

Language Requirement

Candidates for the PhD degree must give evidence of their ability to read a third language (Portuguese, French, Italian, etc.) prior to presenting their dissertation proposal. The Department strongly encourages the learning of the Portuguese language.

PhD Comprehensive Exam/Dissertation Overview

After completing 60 credits of coursework and fulfilling the Portuguese requirement, students take the PhD Comprehensive exam made up of questions based on their proposal for doctoral research, which must also be defended before their proposed doctoral committee. Upon successful completion of this two-step exam process, the student is formally nominated to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation Defense

The final oral examination in defense of the doctoral dissertation is conducted by the doctoral committee and is open to the University community. The dissertation must be presented in English unless prior permission is obtained for it to be presented in a language other than English.

Time to PhD Degree Timelines

Related Work

The PhD in Film Studies is a broad, new, interdisciplinary, and interdepartmental degree that stresses the history, theory, and esthetics of international cinema, video, television, and new media. While the student will earn a PhD in Film Studies (granted by the Film Studies Program), he or she would also be a full member of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, one of six Associated Departments, fulfilling its requirements (many of which will overlap with those in Film Studies), as well.

The Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures will appear as an Area of Concentration on the student’s transcript. Thus, the student graduating with a PhD in Film Studies will be doubly qualified: in film studies as well as in the Latin American literature and culture program offered by the PhD program in our department. You are strongly urged to consult with the director of graduate studies in Hispanic Languages and Literatures before choosing to pursue this option. Interested persons must apply to and be accepted by both our Department and the PhD in Film Studies program, and you cannot assume that acceptance in one assures acceptance in the other. Financial assistance for our students who are pursuing the PhD in Film Studies (in the form of fellowships and/or teaching assistantships) will be provided by our department.