The Ph.D. (HLL)

Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures


NEW !!! As of Fall 2022, we are accepting admissions to the Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics (Track 3), in addition to Spanish and Hispanic-American Cultures and Literatures (Track 1), and Luso-Brazilian Cultures and Literatures (Track 2).

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 three tracks: Hispanic and Spanish American literature and culture (Track 1), Luso-Brazilian literature and culture (Track 2), or Hispanic Linguistics (Track 3). Each track is organized around student areas of interest. Course preparation will lead to the Qualifying Examination, followed by the completion of a dissertation in the field.

Track 1 – Hispanic and Spanish American literature and culture

Track 2 – Luso-Brazilian literature and culture

Track 3 – Hispanic Linguistics

Upon arrival in Berkeley, students in one of these three 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 fulfill 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 or First Qualifying Paper.

The immediate goal of the new graduate student is the General Examination (tracks 1 and 2) or First Qualifying Paper (track 3), scheduled for their fourth semester. 

For both fourth semester milestones (General Examination and First Qualifying Paper), a Pass is required in order to continue in the program. Additionally, students who come to Berkeley with an M.A. or otherwise have a strong preparation may petition to take the exam or submit the first qualifying paper before the fourth semester. 

After passing the General Examination or First Qualifying Paper, 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 their own role in the field. The Statement, together with the results of the General Examination or First Qualifying Paper 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 and/or Graduate Certificates they may have chosen (typically: Gender Studies, Applied Data Science, Indigenous Language Revitalization, Film, Media, Cognitive Science, Critical Theory, etc.). 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 either write Three Field Statements, with accompanying bibliographies (Tracks 1 and 2), or submit a Second Qualifying Paper (Track 3). 

With respect to the Field Statements, each will focus on a pressing topic or problematic, a “deep dive” within the student’s intended field of specialization. The intended field of specialization should generally track the common areas of specialization in the academic job market. 

With respect to the Second Qualifying Paper, it will span at least one sub-field of Hispanic linguistics (e.g. Phonology/Phonetics, Morphology, Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, etc.). The topic of the paper (as opposed to the sub-field in linguistics) cannot be the same as the previous First Qualifying Paper, and moreover must be of a higher caliber. The student should prepare the paper as if planning to submit it to a non-conference venue, professional linguistics journal (for example, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Phonetica, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Journal of Language Contact, Journal of Sociolinguistics, etc.) and should be formatted according to the style sheet of one of these professional journal venues. 

After submitting either the three Field Statements and related bibliographies or the Second Qualifying Paper, the student will take a 2-day written exam based on questions related to either the Field Statements and bibliographies (Tracks 1 & 2), or two linguistic sub-fields of the student’s choosing (Track 3).  The written exam along with either Field Statements or Second Qualifying Paper 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 designated 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 – Tracks 1 & 2

As stated above, all second-year Ph.D students in Tracks 1 & 2 will take a written General Examination. This exam is based on a standard reading list of Spanish and Latin American literature, or Portuguese and Brazilian literature, that first-year students will receive when they enter the program (see appendix). The reading list represents literature from all of the traditional sub-fields (Medieval/ Early Modern/ Golden Age Literature; Modern Spanish Lit; Colonial Latin America Lit; and Modern Latin America Lit). The General Examination will be administered in the 4th semester (i.e., normally in the spring), although students will be able to petition for accelerated progress and an early exam. A four-person committee appointed by the Chair will conduct the exam. 

This exam will be 4 hours, 1 hour per section, 1 day. It will be evaluated by 4 committee members. Notes and laptop permitted. It 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 and assessment of student potential. Passing the exam is necessary for an M.A., and students who fail it would not receive that degree. Students may repeat the exam once if they fail it. Please note that UC Berkeley does not allow for duplication of degree, only students entering with a B.A. are eligible for the M.A. equivalency.

First Qualifying Paper – Track 3 

Initial reception into the program and advising will proceed as in Tracks 1 and 2 above, with advising carried out by a designated Assistant Graduate Adviser for this track.

All second-year Ph.D. students in Track 3 will submit a First Qualifying Paper spanning at least one sub-field of Spanish linguistics (e.g. phonetics, language contact, morphosyntax, etc.). The paper should be formatted according to the style sheet of a reputable venue of conference proceedings, such as those from the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium (HLS) or the Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL). The paper will be evaluated by a committee of no fewer than two professors specializing in Linguistics (one of whom must be from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese), with the aim of determining whether or not the student is ready to continue on to advanced doctoral research in Hispanic Linguistics. A single revision is permitted if the First Qualifying Paper is deemed unsatisfactory. After a successful evaluation of the First Qualifying Paper, students will submit a Statement of Purpose. This, together with the First Qualifying Paper, 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.

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 Exam or First Qualifying Paper, 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 the 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 for Tracks 1 and 2:

  • One graduate seminar in Portuguese (track 1) or Spanish (track 2)
  • One graduate seminar outside of the historical period and geographic area of student’s major emphasis
  • One graduate seminar in literary theory or containing a strong theoretical component
  • One course in Spanish and/or Portuguese language pedagogy (Spanish 375)
  • Two courses related to field of interest, approved by adviser

The following must be included within the 11-course requirement for Track 3:

  • One graduate seminar in Hispanic Linguistics in the student’s primary linguistics sub-field
  • Two graduate seminars in Hispanic Linguistics
  • One graduate seminar covering the linguistic structure of a language other than Spanish (C201/2 permitted)
  • One graduate seminar in the Linguistics Department in the student’s primary linguistics sub-field  
  • One course on quantitative/qualitative methods for social sciences/humanities OR 1 graduate seminar covering linguistic theory
  • Three additional courses in linguistics
  • One course in Spanish and/or Portuguese language pedagogy (Spanish 375)
  • Two courses related to field of interest, approved by adviser

Foreign Language Requirement

For students in Tracks 1 & 2, two foreign languages pertinent to the specialization are required. 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. 

For students in Track 3, two languages other than the primary concentration is required. A graduate course in the language or the language reading examination will satisfy the requirement in the Linguistics program. 

The requirement for all tracks 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 or second qualifying paper 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 grade.

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

After passing the QE, 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.

For Tracks 1 and 2:

Early in the semester in which they hope to take their oral Ph.D. Qualifying 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 to the oral portion of the QE. 

For Track 3:

Early in the semester in which they hope to take their Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, students will submit a Second Qualifying Paper spanning at least one sub-field of Hispanic linguistics (e.g. Phonology/Phonetics, Morphology, Historical Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, etc.). The topic of the paper (as opposed to the sub-field in linguistics) cannot be the same as the previous First Qualifying Paper, and moreover must be of a higher caliber. The student should prepare the paper as if planning to submit it to a non-conference venue, professional linguistics journal (for example, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Phonetica, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Journal of Language Contact, Journal of Sociolinguistics, etc.) and should be formatted according to the style sheet of one of these professional journal venues. Having submitted this Second Qualifying Paper, the student will then take a 2-day written exam based on two linguistic sub-fields of the student’s choosing. Exam questions will reflect the student’s proposed reading list for each sub-field. The second Qualifying Paper and the written exams will be assessed by the student’s committee in order to determine whether or not the student is prepared to proceed to the oral portion of the QE.

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 (10-15 pages on average), 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 . 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 must be given to the GSAO for the student’s file and verification of completion of requirement.

It should be remembered that the prospectus is not intended to be a dissertation in miniature, so that there is normally no compelling reason why its completion should be delayed beyond the appointed deadline. Rather, it should be a concise preliminary description of the dissertation project, including: the primary materials to be investigated; the descriptive or analytical approach to be taken to those materials; the project’s relation to existing scholarly work. The prospectus should be accompanied by references and/or bibliography.

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 their 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. 

All instructions for filing the Dissertation can be found at:

https://grad.berkeley.edu/academic-progress/doctoral/dissertation/

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.

Normal Progress Schedule for Hispanic Languages and Literatures – ALL TRACKS


SEMESTER

REQUIREMENT COMPLETED

1

Assessment of student’s preparation by First-Year Mentor, general planning for the first two years (all tracks). Begin coursework/Foreign language requirements.

2


Continue fulfilling coursework and filling-in of gaps in anticipation of either the General Examination or the First Qualifying Paper. Foreign language requirements.

3


Continue fulfilling coursework and filling-in of gaps in anticipation of either the General Examination or the First Qualifying Paper. Foreign language requirements.

4


General Examination or First Qualifying Paper 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.  Presentation of Dissertation Prospectus. Begin Dissertation research and writing.

10

Dissertation writing
11Dissertation writing

12

Filing of finished dissertation by the end of the 12th term