Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science

Ph.D. | Spanish

Academic Advisor

  • The doctoral candidate arranges his/her program with an assigned graduate adviser, representing one of the areas of concentration, at the beginning of his/her studies in this department. The adviser represents a field in which the student has expressed primary interest. The candidate may, of course, seek advice and suggestions from individual professors, but it is important to maintain frequent and ongoing contact with the regular adviser. At the beginning of the second semester in residence the academic adviser and the candidate make a detailed review of the first semester's progress.
  • As soon as the doctoral candidate begins to define a dissertation area, he/she is encouraged to select the dissertation adviser/director. Once identified, the dissertation director becomes the academic adviser and will subsequently serve on the student's Preliminary Examination examining committee.

Areas of Specialization

Spanish Linguistics

Specialization in Spanish Linguistics Information

We believe that Ph.D. candidates should be encouraged to gain familiarity not with a single approach to linguistic analysis, but with the advantages of considering linguistic topics from multiple theoretical standpoints. Thus linguistic theory is to be seen as a tool to be manipulated in the analysis of both the current varieties of Spanish and in the historical development of these varieties, including as wide a view as possible of their various spoken and written manifestations. It is important for the candidate, therefore, to develop both an understanding of linguistic concepts and of the way they may be applied to language data. This program is designed to provide such an integrated approach.

The Hispano-Romance Spanish Linguistics Ph.D. program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers three areas of concentration:

  • Description and Development of Peninsular Spanish
  • Description and Development of American Spanish
  • Applied Spanish Linguistics

In the doctoral program the student selects a major from the three areas; the other two automatically become supporting fields. The major is the area of specialization; the student is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the currents, primary works and critical bibliography pertaining to it. The student is expected to be familiar with the most significant linguistic schools and approaches (Neogrammarian, Structuralist, Transformational-Generative, Sociolinguistics, Contrastive Analysis, Input Hypothesis (Monitor Model), Universal Hypothesis, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Processing Instruction, etc.) as well as the most important currents and developments in the two supporting fields; additionally, the student must have a good knowledge of critical bibliography. The program of studies leading toward the Ph.D. in this Department provides multiple opportunities for the development of analytical skills, and integrated with those skills an extensive knowledge of theoretical issues. The selection of the major and supporting fields is made by the beginning of the second semester of doctoral studies. Any subsequent change should be recorded promptly in the departmental office.

Spanish Linguistics Course Requirements

The minimum requirements are: twelve credits in the major and six in each supporting field. Spanish 817-818 (Romance Philology) or 429 (Introduction to the Romance Languages) may satisfy course requirements in any of the three areas of concentration. A maximum of three credits of independent study (899) in each of the areas of concentration may be used, with prior departmental approval, when corresponding courses are not offered in a timely fashion. Additionally, majors in Peninsular Spanish must take 6 credits in Medieval Literature and 3 in Golden Age Literature; majors in American Spanish must take 6 credits in Colonial Spanish American Literature and 3 in Medieval Literature; majors in Applied Spanish Linguistics must take 3 credits in Modern Peninsular Literature, 3 in Modern Spanish American Literature, and 3 in Peninsular or Spanish American Literature. Course credits earned in the M.A. program, with the exception of Sp. 545, Sp. 702 (the proseminar), Sp. 323, Sp. 324 and any transfer credits used to satisfy M.A. requirements, do satisfy the Ph.D. course requirements.

A minimum of five semesters of seminars (at least two in the major) are required. At least four semesters of seminars are required beyond the M.A. One of these seminars may be taken outside the Department, with the adviser's consent. The proseminar is for MA students only and does not count for doctoral credit.

Three credits of course or seminar work is the minimal requirement in linguistic theory, which may be taken in another department of the University of Wisconsin (e.g., Linguistics, English).

Language Requirements. A knowledge of other languages is essential for doctoral research. Therefore, students are urged to fulfill the language requirements as early as possible in their doctoral studies. In any case, they must be fulfilled prior to the Preliminary Examination. Candidates in Hispano-Romance Spanish Linguistics must demonstrate competence in:
Latin (either 4 college semesters or the equivalent, or Latin 391-392 with a grade of B or better);
a grade of B or better in Portuguese 301, and in either Portuguese 302 or one advanced course or seminar above 302;advanced proficiency in one other Romance language, or Arabic 321-322 or its equivalent, or Hebrew 103-104 (Biblical Hebrew) or its equivalent, or Italian: attainment of a grade of A in either Italian 301 or Italian 201, with the understanding that Italian 201 does not count for graduate credit.

Candidates in Applied Spanish Linguistics, will replace section c) above with two courses in Research Design with a grade of B or better; the courses must be chosen in consultation with student's advisor. Advanced proficiency in a language is defined as six college semesters with a grade of B or better. An advanced pass on the U. W.-Extension Reading Knowledge Examinations in French and German for graduate students will be accepted as an alternative. Exceptions to the above policies may be petitioned by the adviser to the Departmental Committee.

Teaching Requirement. All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must teach courses in their language specialty within the Department (or teach courses outside approved by the Department) for a minimum of two semesters. Such teaching is for the purpose of professional training, and the candidate's performance will be monitored by course supervisors and the Departmental evaluation committee. The degree will not be conferred until this requirement has been satisfied. Please note the following requirements for teaching:

Spanish 545 or the equivalent is a requirement for teaching in the Department.
Since teaching is a requirement for the Ph.D., so then is Spanish 545 or the equivalent by virtue of item 1.
If a graduate student is appointed exceptionally for a semester or session when 545 is not being offered, the student will take the course the next time it is offered.
In special cases, students may be exempted from the requirement with prior written consent of the instructor of Spanish 545, in consultation with the chair.

Residency Requirement. Prior to taking the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must have taken a minimum of two semesters of six credits each in the Department. This does not include Independent Study.

Ph.D. Minor. The doctoral candidate must present a minor in work done outside of Spanish. The minor should be in an area related to the major field of interest. Linguistics, Portuguese, French, Italian are recommended for students in Description and Development of Peninsular or American Spanish; for students in Applied Spanish Linguistics, a minor in Second Language Acquisition, Educational Psychology, or Linguistics is recommended. Distributed minors must be approved by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Requirements for the minor are established by the respective department. Since the minor should complement the student's major area of concentration, the student should arrange his/her program with the minor department as early as possible in the doctoral career.

Spanish Linguistics Preliminary (Comprehensive) Examination

This examination tests the student's mastery of the major and the two supporting fields. It must be taken after course requirements IV. (1) - (5) have been met. The Preliminary Examination is given in January and August each year.

The written portion of the examination is structured as follows:
The examination covering the major is six hours in length, written under supervision. Half of the examination consists of questions given to the student one week prior to the actual writing of the examination. In each half the student is required to answer two out of four questions. The first portion is divided into parts A and B. Part A features two linguistic texts for exegesis; the student is to select one. Part B contains two fairly precise questions relating to bibliographical matters, aspects of particular works, the organization of a field of study, the validity of certain terms, etc. The student is to select one question. The second portion is not divided into two parts. All four questions deal, as may be deemed appropriate for the candidate, with key issues in linguistic fields, comparison of approaches, linguistic theory, and so forth. (These questions are given to the student one week prior to the examination date.) The student selects two questions.

Each of the two supporting fields receives an examination not to exceed three hours (to be written under supervision). The student is to select two out of four questions.

An oral examination follows all written portions of the Preliminary Examination. The oral examination is, approximately, two hours long, at the discretion of the examining committee.) The oral examination allows examiners to expand on areas of doubt from the written examinations and to probe areas not included in the written examinations.

The examining committee is composed of four members, two of whom represent the major field; the other two represent the supporting fields.Note: The Ph.D. Preliminary Examination is scheduled twice a year, in August and January. The Major examination is given first, usually on a Monday; a week prior to the Major examination the candidate is given the take-home questions. The first supporting examination is to be administered on the following Monday, with the second supporting examination on the following Wednesday. Changes in the actual days of the administration of the Preliminary Examination should allow for the same amount of time between each segment of the examination. The oral exam may include a presentation and discussion of the candidate's dissertation topic with the examination committee, as per the advisor's and/or director's specifications. The official defense of the dissertation proposal will take place at a later date with the candidate's dissertation committee, according to the guidelines described below in VII. (2).

The candidate will receive a grade of pass or fail in each area. Failure in the major area will automatically mean failure for the entire examination. A deficiency in one supporting field may be removed by passing a written examination in that field at the time of a subsequently scheduled Preliminary Examination. Failing both supporting fields means that the entire examination must be repeated.

Literature

Literature Specialization

The Ph.D. Hispanic literature program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers five areas of study:

  • Medieval
  • Golden Age
  • Modern Peninsular
  • Spanish American I (Colonial to 1900)
  • Spanish American II (Twentieth Century)
  • Spanish Linguistics (may be used as supporting field only, provided written consent of graduate adviser is obtained)

In the doctoral program the student selects a major, two supporting fields and takes one course or seminar in each of the two remaining fields. The major is the area of specialization; the student is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the currents, primary works and critical bibliography pertaining to it. The student is expected to know the most significant writers and works as well as the most important currents and developments in the two supporting fields; additionally, the student must have a good knowledge of critical bibliography. The program of studies leading toward the Ph.D. in this Department provides multiple opportunities for the development of analytical skills, and integrated with those skills an extensive knowledge of theoretical issues. The selection of the major and supporting fields is made by the beginning of the second semester of doctoral studies. Any subsequent change should be recorded promptly in the departmental office.

Guidelines for the Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish

Admission to Candidacy

  • M.A. students in Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are admitted to doctoral studies in this Department on the recommendation of the M.A. examining committee.
  • A graduate student with the M.A. from another institution is admitted to the doctoral program by virtue of his/her acceptance in the Department. A minimum graduate GPA of 3.4 is required.

The Academic Adviser

  • The doctoral candidate arranges his/her program with an assigned graduate adviser, representing one of the areas of concentration, at the beginning of his/her studies in this department. The adviser represents a field in which the student has expressed primary interest. The candidate may, of course, seek advice and suggestions from individual professors, but it is important to maintain frequent and ongoing contact with the regular adviser. At the beginning of the second semester in residence the academic adviser and the candidate make a detailed review of the first semester's progress.
  • As soon as the doctoral candidate begins to define a dissertation area, he/she is encouraged to select the dissertation adviser/director. Once identified, the dissertation director becomes the academic adviser and will subsequently serve on the student's Preliminary Examination examining committee.

Areas of Specialization

  • The Ph.D. Hispanic literature program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers five areas of study:
    1. Medieval
    2. Golden Age
    3. Modern Peninsular
    4. Spanish American I (Colonial to 1900)
    5. Spanish American II (Twentieth Century)
    6. Spanish Linguistics (may be used as supporting field only, provided written consent of graduate adviser is obtained)
  • In the doctoral program the student selects a major, two supporting fields and takes one survey or advanced course in each of the two remaining fields. All of the Department’s graduate courses that are not survey courses (Spanish 501-506) will be considered advanced courses. The major is the area of specialization; the student is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the currents, primary works and critical bibliography pertaining to it. The student is expected to know the most significant writers and works as well as the most important currents and developments in the two supporting fields; additionally, the student must have a good knowledge of critical bibliography. The program of studies leading toward the Ph.D. in this Department provides multiple opportunities for the development of analytical skills, and integrated with those skills an extensive knowledge of theoretical issues. The selection of the major and supporting fields is made by the beginning of the second semester of doctoral studies. Any subsequent change should be recorded promptly in the departmental office.

Course Requirements

  • The minimum requirements are: twelve credits in the major, six in each supporting field and three in each of the two remaining fields. Course credits earned in the M.A. program, with the exception of Spanish 545, Spanish 323, and any transfer credits used to satisfy M.A. requirements, do satisfy the Ph.D. course requirements
  • A minimum of five advanced courses (at least two must be seminars in the major) are required. At least four advanced courses are required beyond the M.A. One of these advanced courses may be taken outside the Spanish program or transferred from another institution, with the adviser's consent.
  • Three credits of graduate coursework is the minimal requirement in literary theory.
  • Language Requirements. Knowledge of other languages is essential for doctoral research. Therefore, students are urged to fulfill the language requirements as early as possible in their doctoral studies. In any case, they must be fulfilled prior to the Preliminary Examination. The candidate must demonstrate advanced proficiency in a minimum of two languages, to be determined in consultation with the adviser. The most common languages are Portuguese, French, Italian, Latin, German and Arabic, depending on the candidate's major and minor. Advanced proficiency is defined as the equivalent of six college semesters with a grade of B or better.

    Arabic: 321-322 or its equivalent with a grade of B or better

    French: (MUST get advanced proficiency) 6 college semesters of French with a grade of B or better or UW Extension Reading Knowledge Exam (advanced proficiency) or Completion of French 391, “French for Reading Knowledge” with a grade of A.

    German: (MUST get advanced proficiency) 6 college semesters of German with a grade of B or better or UW Extension Reading Knowledge Exam (advanced proficiency)

    Hebrew: 103-104 or its equivalent with a grade of B or better

    Italian: (MUST get advanced proficiency) attainment of a grade of A in either Italian 301 or Italian 201, with the understanding that Italian 201 does not count for graduate credit

    Latin: Latin 391-392 “Latin for Graduate Reading Knowledge” or 2 college semesters of Latin (v.gr., Latin 103 and 104 or the equivalent), with a grade of B or better

    Portuguese: A grade of B or better in Portuguese 301 and one advanced course above P302 or a departmental examination to confirm advanced proficiency
    Courses taken to fulfill the language requirement cannot count toward the minor in Portuguese

    Quechua: a grade of B or better in Anthropology 364 (Advanced Quechua) will constitute advanced proficiency.

    Spanish: (MUST get advanced proficiency) 6 college semesters of Spanish with a grade of B or better
    or
    a grade of A in Spanish 323
    or
    UW Reading Knowledge Exam (advanced proficiency)

    Students selecting Spanish must be tested through Spanish Outreach, administered by Professor Jeffrey Kirsch, Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts, 725 Lowell Center. The exam is 75 minutes long and currently costs $35. The fee is payable at least one week before the exam is given, to the Madison Registration Office, 139 Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison, WI 53706. Students can register either in person or by credit card (phone 262-2451). The exam is given three times per year: in April or May, in August, or in November or December.

    Exceptions to the above policies may be petitioned by the adviser to the Departmental Committee.

  • Teaching Requirement.All candidates for the Ph.D. degree must teach courses in their language specialty within the Department (or teach courses outside approved by the Department) for a minimum of two semesters. Such teaching is for the purpose of professional training, and the candidate's performance will be monitored by course supervisors and the Departmental evaluation committee. The degree will not be conferred until this requirement has been satisfied. Please note the following requirements for teaching:
    1. Spanish 545 or the equivalent is a requirement for teaching in the department.
    2. Since teaching is a requirement for the Ph.D., so then is Spanish 545 or the equivalent by virtue of item (a).
    3. If a graduate student is appointed exceptionally for a semester or session when 545 is not being offered, the student will take the course the next time it is offered.
    4. In special cases, students may be exempted from the requirement with prior written consent of the instructor of Spanish 545, in consultation with the chair.
  • Residency Requirement. Prior to taking the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must have taken a minimum of two semesters of six credits each in the department. This does not include Independent Study.
  • Ph.D. Minor. The doctoral candidate must present a minor in work done outside of Spanish. The minor should be in an area related to the major field of interest. Portuguese, French, Comparative Literature and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies are among the most common minors. Distributed minors must be approved by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Requirements for the minor are established by the respective department. Since the minor should complement the student's major area of concentration, the student should arrange his/her program with the minor department as early as possible in the doctoral career. For a minor in Portuguese, the student should have a minimum of twelve credits beyond Portuguese 301/302. Also, courses taken to fulfill the language requirement cannot count toward the minor in Portuguese.

Satisfactory Progress

  • Students must maintain a 3.0 average each semester; if not, they are placed on probation and are ineligible to take the Preliminary Examination. A student on probation for over two semesters may be dropped from the doctoral program.
  • Incompletes may be granted only in emergency situations and then only with prior approval of the Chair of the Department. Any incomplete not removed within one semester after being incurred is automatically a failure.
  • All graduate students who are candidates for a Ph.D. degree in literature in this department must take a minimum of two graduate-level courses in Spanish and/or Portuguese for credit each semester, exclusive of Independent Reading courses, with the following exception:
    In the semester before taking the Preliminary Examination, a doctoral student may count an Independent Reading (899) designed to work toward the dissertation proposal as one of the two courses, as long as another course is taken in the department. This exception may only apply once, even in the case that the Preliminary Examination is postponed.
    An audited course does not count toward the two-course minimum requirement. If this rule impedes the student’s progress toward completion of the degree, students may petition an exception, with the written support of their adviser. This regulation does not apply to students who have passed the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination.

Preliminary Examination

  • This examination tests the student's mastery of the major and the two supporting fields. It must be taken after course requirements IV. (1) - (5) have been met. The Preliminary Examination is given in January and August each year
    1. The examination covering the major is six hours in length. Half of the examination consists of questions given to the student one week prior to the actual writing of the examination. In each half the student is required to answer two out of four questions. The first portion is divided into parts A and B. Part A features two texts for exegesis; the student is to select one. Part B contains two fairly precise questions relating to bibliographical matters, the criticism of particular works, the organization of a field of study, the validity of certain terms, etc. The student is to select one question.
      The second portion of the examination is not divided into two parts. All four questions deal, as may be deemed appropriate for the candidate, with key critical issues and interpretations, the comparison of works (genres, periods, etc.), applied literary theory, and so forth. (These questions are given to the student one week prior to the examination date.) The student selects two questions.
      Note: Because major fields are broad, examiners must keep a candidate's preparation in mind when composing a major examination.
    2. Each of the two supporting fields receives an examination not to exceed three hours (to be written under supervision). The student is to select two out of four questions, which deal with important historical, cultural, and literary movements and authors or with important critical issues in the field
  • An oral examination follows all written portions of the Preliminary Examination. The oral exam is, approximately, two hours long, at the discretion of the examining committee.
    1. The oral exam allows examiners to expand on areas of doubt from the written exams and to probe areas not included in the written exams
    2. The examining committee is composed of four members, two of whom represent the major field; the other two represent the supporting fields.
      Note: The Ph.D. Preliminary Examination is scheduled twice each year, in August and January. The Major exam is given first, usually on a Monday; a week prior to the Major exam the candidate is given the take-home questions. The first supporting exam is to be administered one week later, with the second supporting exam usually two days later. Changes in the actual days of the administration of the Preliminary Examination should allow for the same amount of time between each segment of the exam.
    3. The oral exam may include a presentation and discussion of the candidate’s dissertation topic with the examination committee, as per the advisor’s and/or director’s specifications. The official defense of the dissertation proposal will take place at a later date with the candidate’s dissertation committee, according to the guidelines described below under Doctoral Dissertation.
    4. The candidate will receive a grade of pass or fail in each area. In the Ph.D. preliminary examinations, a deficiency in one supporting field may be removed by passing a written examination in that field at the time of a subsequently scheduled preliminary examination. Failure in both supporting fields and/or in the major area means that the entire examination must be repeated at one of the two subsequently scheduled administrations of the preliminary examination, i.e. within a maximum period of one year. In this case the examination may be repeated only once, and all sections must be passed.

The Doctoral Dissertation

  • The student is encouraged to begin planning the dissertation as early as possible in his/her doctoral studies. Such planning should encompass possible topics and potential directors. The candidate must have narrowed down his/her topic and determined who will serve as the dissertation director by the time of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, since the dissertation director must be one of the examiners in the major field. The determination of the dissertation director is accomplished through mutual agreement between professor and candidate. However, when in the opinion of the candiate such relationship ceases to function acceptably, the candidate MUST enlist the involvement of the Director of Graduate Studies in arranging for a change in dissertation director
  • The defense of the dissertation proposal is to take place within eight months of the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination. Students who are unable to defend their proposal within this time must petition the Graduate Studies Committee for an extension in order to remain in good academic standing. The dissertation topic must be approved not only by the director but also by the other two members of the student's reading committee (selected jointly by the director and the candidate). They will have repeated opportunities for direct advice and consultation with the candidate and the director during the writing of the dissertation. Their written approval of the dissertation is required prior to the final defense.
  • The Department of Spanish and Portuguese enforces the Graduate School policy that establishes a five-year deadline for completion and defense of the doctoral dissertation. If the candidate does not complete the dissertation within five years of the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must retake this examination.
  • The final oral examination for the Ph.D. (the dissertation defense) will concentrate solely on the dissertation and generally does not exceed two hours in length. Theexamining committee is composed of the dissertation director, the two readers and two non-readers, one of whom represents the minor field (although the representative of the minor field is eligible to be a dissertation reader). This examination is held at least two weeks after the dissertation is submitted. (The topic of the dissertation must, of course, pertain to the major field. If after the Preliminary Examination the student decides to write on a topic unrelated to the area of major concentration, he/she will be expected to pass a major examination in that field.).

Satisfactory Progress

  • Students must maintain a 3.0 average each semester; if not, they are placed on probation and are ineligible to take the Preliminary Examination. A student on probation for over two semesters may be dropped from the doctoral program.

  • Incompletes may be granted only in emergency situations and then only with prior approval of the Chair of the Department. Any incomplete not removed within one semester after being incurred is automatically a failure.

The Doctoral Dissertation

  • The student is encouraged to begin planning the dissertation as early as possible in his/her doctoral studies. Such planning should encompass possible topics and potential directors. The candidate must have narrowed down his/her topic and determined who will serve as the dissertation director by the time of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, since the dissertation director must be one of the examiners in the major field. The determination of the dissertation director is accomplished through mutual agreement between professor and candidate. However, when in the opinion of the candidate such relationship ceases to function acceptably, the candidate MUST enlist the involvement of the Director of Graduate Studies in arranging for a change in dissertation director.
  • The defense of the dissertation proposal takes place within six months of the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination. The dissertation topic must be approved not only by the director but also by the other two members of the student's reading committee (selected jointly by the director and the candidate). They will have repeated opportunities for direct advice and consultation with the candidate and the director during the writing of the dissertation. Their written approval of the dissertation is required prior to the final defense.
  • The Department of Spanish and Portuguese enforces the Graduate School policy that establishes a five-year deadline for completion and defense of the doctoral dissertation. If the candidate does not complete the dissertation within five years of the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must retake this examination.
  • The final oral examination for the Ph.D. (the dissertation defense) will concentrate solely on the dissertation and generally does not exceed two hours in length. The examining committee is composed of the dissertation director, the two readers and two non-readers, one of whom represents the minor field (although the representative of the minor field is eligible to be a dissertation reader). This examination is held at least two weeks after the dissertation is submitted. (The topic of the dissertation must, of course, pertain to the major field. If after the Preliminary Examination the student decides to write on a topic unrelated to the area of major concentration, he/she will be expected to pass a major examination in that field.)