Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science

Ph.D. | Portuguese

I.         Admission to Candidacy
(1)      M.A. students in Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are admitted to doctoral studies in this Department upon successful completion of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination (see Guidelines for the M.A. in Portuguese).
(2)      A graduate student with the M.A. from another institution is admitted to the doctoral program by virtue of his/her acceptance by the Department. A minimum graduate GPA of 3.4 is required.
II.         The Academic Adviser
(1)      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.
(2)      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.
III.         Areas of Specialization
(1)      The Portuguese Ph.D. program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers the following areas of study:
a) Portuguese Literature from its origins to Eça de Queirós
b) Portuguese Literature of the 20th and 21st centuries
c) Brazilian Literature to 1900‎
d) Brazilian Literature from 1900‎
e) African Literature in Portuguese

(2)      In the doctoral program the student selects a major and two 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 know the most significant writers and works as well as the most important currents and developments in the 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 selectionof 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.
IV.         Course Requirements
(1)      The minimum requirements are: nine credits in the major and six in each of the two supporting fields. Course credits earned in the M.A. program, with the exception of Port 311-312, Port 340, Port 361-362, Port 707 (the proseminar), and any transfer credits used to satisfy M.A. requirements, do satisfy the Ph.D. course requirements. A maximum of three credits of independent study (Port 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.
(2)      A minimum of six 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 Portuguese program or transferred from another institution, with the adviser's consent. The proseminar is for M.A. students only and does not count for doctoral credit.
(3)      Three credits of graduate coursework is the minimal requirement in literary theory.
(4)      Language Requirements: A knowledge of several 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 Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, German and Arabic, depending on the candidate's major and minor. Advanced proficiency is defined as six college semesters with a grade of B or better. An advanced pass on the UW Division of University Outreach, Liberal Studies 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.
(5)      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.
(6)      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.
(7)      Ph.D. Minor. The doctoral candidate must present a minor in work done outside of Portuguese. The minor should be in an area related to the major field of interest. Spanish, French, Comparative Literature, Linguistics, and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies are among the most common minors. Distributed minors (for a minimum of 9 credits) must be approved by the advisor. 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 Spanish, students should have a minimum of nine credits at the 500 level or above. Three of these credits must be taken as an advanced level course.
V.         Satisfactory Progress
(1)      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.
(2)      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.
(3)      All graduate students who are candidates for a Ph.D. degree in Portuguese 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.
VI.         Preliminary (Comprehensive) Examination.
This examination tests the student's mastery of the major and the 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 written portion of the exam is structured as follows:
a)    The examination covering the major is divided into two portions, each three hours in length. The first portion, to be taken in the morning, is subdivided 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 major examination consists of four questions given to the student one week prior to the actual writing of the examination. 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. The student selects two questions.
b)    Each of the supporting fields receives an examination not to exceed three hours. The student is to select two out of four questions.
(2)      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.
a)    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.
b)    The examining committee is composed of four members, representing the major and 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 on the following Monday, with the second supporting exam 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 exam.
(3)      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.
The Doctoral Dissertation.
(1)      The student is encouraged to begin planning the dissertation as early as possible in his/her doctoral studies. Such planning should encompass possible topics as well as
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 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.
(2)      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.
(3)      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.
(4)      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.)
Adopted 10/1991                
Revised 9/13/1995             
Revised 11/12/1997                      
Revised 2/16/2000
Revised 11/29/2000
Revised 5/12/2003
Revised 5/5/2005   
Revised 5/2/2007
Revised 5/5/2010