Department of Hispanic Studies
The University of Houston
416 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3062
Ph.D. In Spanish
FOR STUDENTS ENTERING FALL 2008 OR LATER
The Department of Hispanic Studies has burgeoning a Ph.D. program that is in the forefront of research and teaching of Hispanic literature and Spanish linguistics. With the number of graduate students having tripled, our offering in Hispanic literature and Hispanic linguistics now encompass the literatures written throughout the Americas and Spain. Given Houston location, as well as Arte Público Press and the Recovery Project at the UH, our Ph.D. program offers an optimal environment in which to achieve excellence.
Minimum requirements for unconditional admission to the Ph.D. in Spanish
- A completed M.A. degree in Spanish, or its equivalent
- Students who have a M.A. degree in a field other than Spanish must take, concurrently with the other courses normally required for the doctoral program, one course from each of the following groups:
- Hispanic literature of the United States
- Latin American literature through Modernism
- Latin American literature since Modernism
- Peninsular literature through the XVII century
- Peninsular literature, centuries XVIII through XX
Students with a M.A. degree in a field other than Spanish whose emphasis is linguistics will also be required to take a number of additional courses in the field (they will be advised by the Senior Linguistics Professor).
- A minimum grade point average of 3.2 (A=4).
- Three letters of recommendation from the applicant’s professors (to be sent directly to the Graduate Director by the recommender) detailing the potential of the applicant at the Ph.D. level.
- Writing sample (Graded)
- Acceptable scores on the General Aptitude section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- A score of at least 213 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL; required only of international students, unless they have earned a college degree from an American university).
(UH Code: 6870)
Once admitted to the program
- No course in which a grade below B- (2.67) is received may count towards Ph.D. degree.
- A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) for all graduate courses attempted is required for a graduate degree.
- Failure to maintain this average will result in a warning, probation, or suspension.
Documentation to be provided by the applicant
- Completed Application Form
- One-page typewritten statement explaining why you wish to study for a Ph.D. in Spanish.
- Two official transcripts sent directly by the Institution.
- Three confidential letters of recommendation sent directly to the Graduate Director by the referees; these will not be accepted if submitted directly by the student).
- Official copy of GRE scores.
- Official copy of TOEFL score if necessary.
- Application Fees
- National Graduate
- Total cost, $75.00
- Payable to University of Houston
- International Graduate Student
- Total cost, $150.00
- Payable to University of Houston
- Spring semester, Last Friday of September
- Fall semester, Last Friday of January
Send documentation to:Ph.D. in Spanish Program Department of Hispanic Studies University of Houston
Houston, Texas 77204-3062
Phone: (713) 743-3007
Fax: (713) 743-0935
For applications and advisement, please write to or call the above, or e-mail: Dr. Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Director of Graduate Studies.
Phone interviews will be conducted after application file is reviewed.
- The student should go on-line to the University of Houston Graduate and Professional Studies catalogue and read all pertinent sections as soon as possible. You are responsible for knowing the content of this source. You should also visit with some frequency the site of the Graduate Advising in CLASS
- It is the student's responsibility to take care of any condition placed upon their admission to this graduate program (i.e., taking one or more courses in addition to those regularly required of Ph.D. students; making sure that the Office of Admissions receives official transcripts with degrees posted as soon as possible after the degree is received, taking the TOEFL and/or GRE and making the University receives official copies).
- The student should consult the Graduate and Professional Studies on-line catalogue as soon as possible and read all pertinent sections, particularly those indicating the University’s regulations regarding time limitations on degree completion, requirements for continuous enrollment, incomplete grades, and graduation. The student is responsible for knowing the contents of this source before consulting the graduate advisor.
- Students who enroll as doctoral candidates must complete their degree requirements within 10 years of the date of first enrollment with a doctoral degree objective. Failure to comply will result in the candidate being ineligible for that doctoral degree.
- In general, graduate students are expected to be enrolled in consecutive long semesters (i.e. fall and spring semesters) until the degree program is completed and the degree is awarded. Students who cannot enroll in a given semester must apply for a leave of absence in order to remain in good standing (fill out a General Petition form and turn it in to the Graduate Director).
- In the semester in which the student expects to graduate, they must submit an application for graduation to the Office of Registration and Academic Records, 108 E. Cullen. Deadlines for filing the application for graduation are listed in the Academic Calendar published in each semester’s Schedule of Classes and also in the Departmental one. Any student who expects to graduate in a given semester must be enrolled for that semester.
- The student must be enrolled for at least 3 hours of credits during the semester they expect to take the comprehensive examination, even if they have finished all course work (see the Graduate Director regarding appropriate courses in these cases), and they must continue to be enrolled through graduation.
- The Ph.D. in Spanish requires that beyond the achievement of the master’s degree, students complete a minimum of 36 semester hours of approved graduate courses [with a minimum grade of B- (2.67),] plus 6 semester hours of dissertation for the Ph.D. degree as follows:
Required core courses69 Elective courses3027 Dissertation664242
- Core courses consist of
- Spanish 7301 (Methods of Study in U.S. Hispanic Literature and Language)
- Spanish 7393 (U.S. Spanish: Sociolinguistic Aspects)
- Spanish 7304 (Critical Theory).
- Elective courses. Whenever possible, Ph.D. students must enroll in 7000-level courses as opposed to 6000-level ones. Exceptions must be authorized by the Graduate Director. The Graduate Director’s approval is also required in order for the student to enroll in courses offered by other departments or other universities.
- No course in which a grade below B- (2.67) is received will apply toward the degree. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) for all graduate courses attempted is required in order to earn a graduate degree. Failure to maintain this average may result in warning, probation, or suspension.
- The Department will, under normal circumstances, offer at least 8 different graduate courses every long semester to allow full time students to complete the 36 hours of course work in four long semesters. It will also offer several courses each Summer (but in order to earn the Ph.D. degree the student must not plan to enroll only in summer).
- Special Problems Courses (6198, 6298, and 6398) allow the student to develop readings in a specific field of interest under the direction of a faculty member. The student and the professor will be required to complete in advance a special form (available from the Graduate Director) describing the course, which must then be approved by the Graduate Director. Since the department of Hispanic Studies offers eight or more graduate courses every semester, only academic justifications to conduct a Special Problem course will be approved (schedule problems of students are not considered academic justifications). Students will be allowed to take a maximum of six Special Problem hours, but only three of these may count toward the degree.
- Reading and Research Hours (7198, 7298, 7398). These courses allow the student to develop readings and research in a specific field of interest under the direction of a faculty member. The grade option for these courses is S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory). The student and the faculty member will be required to complete in advance a special form (available from the Graduate Director) describing the course, which must then be approved by the Graduate Director. Since the department of Hispanic Studies offers eight or more graduate courses every semester, only academic justifications to conduct a Reading and Research course will be approved (schedule problems of students are not considered academic justifications). Students will be allowed to take a maximum of six Reading and Research hours, but only three of these may count toward the degree.
- Language requirements. Reading knowledge of two languages in addition to Spanish and English is required (credit hours taken to satisfy this requirement do not count as part of the 42 credit hours referred to above). Reading knowledge may be demonstrated in one of the following ways:
- Completion of 12 semester hours in a foreign language (3 SCH = 42 hours)
- Completion of two semesters of graduate reading courses in the language chosen with a grade of B- or higher
- Score of at least 450 on the Graduate School Foreign Language Test (GSFLT)
- Satisfactory score on another examination (Graduate Director's approval is required in advanced)
- The fulfillment of a foreign language requirement at the M.A. level at another university.
- Screening Procedure. At the end of each student's first year of course work at the Ph.D. level, a routine screening procedure will be conducted by all faculty members with whom the student has studied in order to determine whether the individual is progressing satisfactorily toward the degree objective. The result of this procedure will be communicated in writing to the student.
- Before entering the Ph.D. Program the student should decide on a particular concentration for the Ph.D. in Spanish. Possible concentrations are:
- Literature (includes US Hispanic, Peninsular, Spanish American)
- Spanish linguistics (includes Sociolinguistics, Applied Linguistics, Formal Linguistics).
- 3 areas in literature
- 3 areas in linguistics
- 2 areas in literature and 1 in linguistics
- 2 areas in linguistics and 1 in literature.
- Student Committee. By the beginning of the third semester, the student will select a chairperson for their examination committee in accord with the chosen concentration. The student and chairperson together will then select two more members so that one of the following combinations is achieved:
- 3 professors of literature
- 3 professors of linguistics
- 2 professors of literature and 1 professor of linguistics
- 2 professors of linguistics and 1 professor of literature.
- Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. By the beginning of the semester at whose end the student wishes to take the Comprehensive Exam, or at the beginning of the semester in which they will complete at least 36 hours, they should communicate this intention to both the chairperson of their committee and the Graduate Director. Students with incomplete grade(s) will not be allowed to take the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam. The student will be examined according to the reading lists mentioned in the previous paragraph. Ph.D. students of literature will be examined in one area of Hispanic Literature of the United States, one area of Latin American Literature and one area of Peninsular Literature. One of these three will be his/her main area. Ph.D. students of linguistics will be examined in one area of Sociolinguistics, one area of Applied Linguistics and one area of Formal Linguistics. One of these three will be his/her main area. Ph.D. students of literature may substitute one of the second areas of literature with one area of linguistics; Ph.D. students of linguistics may substitute one of the second areas of linguistics with one area of literature. The structure of the Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam will be the following:
- Main area: A paper to be developed in a two-week time frame or a five-day take-home exam.
- Second area 1: 2 hour and 30 minute exam.
- Second area 2: 2 hour and 30 minute exam.
- Oral exam: 1-2 hour oral exam consisting of a clarification of the written sections, which will be scheduled the week after the last written test.
- The dissertation proposal defense will be scheduled no later than the end of the semester.
- The Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam will be scheduled during November and April; the oral component will be scheduled for the week following the last written exam.
- If the student fails the Comprehensive Exam, they will have no more than one additional opportunity to retake either the whole exam or the portion/s failed. This must be done by the end of the following semester.
- Ph.D. Dissertation. The Dissertation Committee will be decided upon by the student and the prospective director of their dissertation (who will in most cases have been the chair of their examination committee) before or after s/he takes the Comprehensive Exam. This committee will be formed by two members within the field (at least one will be a senior professor), in addition to the Dissertation Director, who will also be a senior Spanish professor) and one external member. The Dissertation Director will aid the student in developing a dissertation on a topic in literature or linguistics that will be original and of scholarly value. The student’s dissertation proposal will be presented and discussed after the Comprehensive Exam but not later than the end of the semester.
- Once finished, the Ph.D. Dissertation will be defended before the Dissertation Committee by the candidate no earlier than the end of the second semester of dissertation hours. Additional faculty and students may be invited to attend the defense only if the candidate agrees to this following consultation with the Dissertation Director; however, only the Dissertation Committee members may ask questions of the candidate.
- Doctoral students who fail to complete their dissertation within five years after completion of the comprehensive examination must retake the examination.
- The Department conducts summer programs abroad in both Mexico and Spain. Graduate students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of them.
- There are a few scholarships available for prospective and current graduate students. Competition for them is usually held in the Spring. Information about these is communicated by e-mail and also posted as soon as it is received (see item below).
- As important information is routinely sent out to graduate students by e-mail, be sure that the Graduate Director has you on the server list.
- There is a graduate bulletin board just outside AH 432 where timely information is posted regularly.
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree Option
Departments granting Ph.D. degrees may, in individual cases, modify their Ph.D. course requirements to permit a larger share of course work to be pursued in another department. When course requirements are so modified, the primary or sponsoring Department should submit the following for the Dean’s approval:
- The design of the Ad Hoc Interdisciplinary Curriculum
- The names of the graduate faculty members in both the sponsoring and supporting departments who are responsible for directing the student through the curriculum and dissertation.
- A copy of the Dean’s written approval will then be forwarded to the Office of the Senior Vice President.
Doctoral-level students interested in pursuing this option should talk to the Director of Graduate Studies in their primary department concerning possible modification of course requirements. According to the on-line University of Houston Bulletin of Graduate and Professional Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences: For students pursuing the Ph.D. in Spanish who specifically request to this option, the curriculum may be modified as follows:
- Required core courses in Spanish 9 hours
- Courses in a specialization area of Spanish 15 hours
- Courses in a related field outside the Department 12 hours
- Dissertation in an area of Hispanic literature/linguistics 6 hours
- Total 42 hours
The Ph.D. Comprehensive Exam will consist of three three-hour exams related to the areas taken by the student (as noted above) and a two-hour oral exam.