Spanish Graduate Program

With more than 500 million Spanish-speakers living in 20 countries around the world, Hispanophone literatures and cultures are at the forefront of global academic inquiry.  The Graduate Program in Spanish at the University of Virginia has long been a highly-ranked leader in the field, and our faculty actively works on the cutting edge of contemporary research directions. Our core mission is to cultivate excellence in scholarship and pedagogy in all areas of Spanish-language literary and cultural studies. Our students go on to careers based in research, writing, teaching, and international engagement. We invite prospective students to peruse our faculty web pages to get a sense of our research interests and publications.

The Department confers both a Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Spanish.  Some students enter the Ph.D. program with an M.A. from another institution, while others receive the M.A. en route to the Ph.D. UVA undergraduates are also eligible for the streamlined BA + 1 program.

In our increasingly interconnected world, interdisciplinary research is a central feature of our program. Graduate students in Spanish have the opportunity to explore literary and cultural studies in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and to contribute to Global South Studies within the department. Students are encouraged to take courses in related fields, including Media Studies, the Carter G.Woodson Institute for African-American and African StudiesAnthropology/LinguisticsFrench EnglishHistory, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and Religious Studies.  Outside the department, the Spanish program collaborates with research centers and initiatives including:

We offer extremely competitive fellowship packages.  Admitted students may be selected for the Interdisciplinary Fellowship in Caribbean Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, the Jefferson Fellowship, and the Bridge to the Doctorate program. In recent years, our students have been awarded the prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowships and departmental fellowships that support research and learning in Spain and Latin America. Graduate students collaborate closely with faculty members, and have opportunities for mentorship both within and beyond the department. Our approximately 40 graduate students are diverse, talented, and deeply engaged. Roughly thirty percent of them are native speakers of Spanish. The department seeks to recruit a diverse pool of graduate applicants and to create an equitable and inclusive climate in the program and in the University of Virginia community. The department’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion serves as a support, advocate, and resource on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, referring students to resources within and outside the department.

Accepted students who progress satisfactorily through the program receive:

  • Full payment of tuition and fees
  • Annual living support of $24,000 for a minimum of five years (an annual stipend of $20,000, plus $4,000 of summer support)
  • Full payment of single-person coverage under the University’s student health insurance plan 
  • Full fellowship support in years one and five with no teaching responsibilities, with a teaching expectation of three courses in each of years two, three and four   
  • Training in language pedagogy under the direction of our language program director that provides opportunities for teaching language at all levels and courses focusing on literature and culture

How to Apply


Graduate Admissions

To apply for one of the graduate programs in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, you must submit your application and materials online to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The Graduate School will no longer accept hard copy applications. For admissions information, including important deadlines, please visit the Graduate School's website.

Students applying to and accepted into the graduate program in Spanish normally enter a Ph.D. program. The option of a terminal M.A. degree is Spanish is only open to self-funded students.

Students can enter the Ph.D. program either with a B.A. in Spanish or an M.A. in Spanish or equivalent.

In each of these cases, students will follow the course of study outlined in the Graduate Record. Students with a B.A. will earn an M.A. in Spanish as they progress towards the Ph.D.

The admissions deadline for 2020-2021 is December 15, 2019.

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Spanish  (The option of a terminal M.A. degree is Spanish is only open to self-funded students.)

Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Spanish

The required materials for an application to one of our programs do not differ from the requirements stated on the Graduate School Admissions website. Required materials should be sent directly to the Graduate School, not the department.

Required materials:

  • Complete Online Application
  • Upload unofficial transcripts from all past schools (Important: Please DO NOT mail your official transcripts to the Graduate School unless you have received an offer of admission and have decided to attend the University of Virginia.)
  • Two (2) Letters of Recommendation (Both should be from your past educational institutions. Letters of recommendations must be submitted electronically.)
  • Upload a writing sample, in what is not your native language. (Required of Ph.D. students; not required of MA applicants)

International Students

In addition to the materials listed above, the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese requires that you also submit the following:

  • Official TOEFL Scores (Official scores must be sent directly to the University of Virginia by the Educational Testing Service.)
  • Final Official Transcript (Transcripts from schools located in non-English-speaking countries, must have both the original language record plus an English direct translation.)

The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences requires a few additional items from international students. Please carefully read the guidelines for international students and the application process on the Graduate School Admissions page. Additional guidance for international students can be found here.

If after reviewing the application requirements on the Graduate School website you have additional questions, please contact us at sipinfo@virginia.edu.

Graduate Guide

For more information on career development and diversity affairs, please see the College of Arts & Sciences Graduate Guide.

Ph.D. Overview

Spanish Doctoral (Ph.D.) Program

Please note: Per university policy, "The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://www.virginia.edu/registrar/."

The requirements for the Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Spanish are outlined in The Graduate Record and include:

For incoming students holding a B.A. degree:

  • 54 hours of graduate courses (of which a minimum of 36 must be at the 7000 level or above)
  • Take SPAN 7220 (History of the Language) and SPAN 8210 (Teaching Foreign Languages).
  • Qualifying written and oral examinations on eight periods of Spanish and Spanish-American literature*
  • Reading knowledge of two other foreign languages (or mastery of one other foreign language)
  • Comprehensive written and oral examinations on three periods of Spanish and Spanish-American literature
  • The doctoral comprehensive exam will also include a Clase magistral, that is a 30-40 minute seminar offered by the candidate on a text of her or his choosing
  • A dissertation
  • An oral defense of the completed dissertation

Upon successful completion of the qualifying examinations, students will be awarded an M.A. in Spanish; permission to proceed on in the program will also be based primarily in the results of these examinations.

For incoming students holding an M.A. degree (or equivalent):

  • 36 credits of graduate courses (all at the 7000 level or above)
  • Take SPAN 7220 (History of the Language) and SPAN 8210 (Teaching Foreign Languages).
  • Reading knowledge of two other foreign languages (or mastery of one other foreign language)
  • Comprehensive written and oral examinations on three periods of Spanish and Spanish-American literature
  • The doctoral comprehensive exam will also include a Clase magistral, that is a 30-40 minute seminar offered by the candidate on a text of her or his choosing
  • A dissertation
  • An oral defense of the completed dissertation

Candidacy Deadline: Incoming students holding a B.A. are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, language proficiency examinations, qualifying and comprehensive examinations, by the conclusion of their eighth term of study.  Incoming students holding an M.A. (or equivalent) from another institution are expected to complete all pre-dissertation requirements, including coursework, language proficiency examinations, and comprehensive examinations, by the conclusion of their sixth term of study.

The department believes that learning to teach is an integral part of any graduate program. All graduate students are required to teach (usually between four and six hours a week) and are carefully trained and supervised by Professor Emily Scida; and other members of the department.

Many Ph.D. candidates receive the degree two years after entering the candidacy phase in the Ph.D. program (after completing the comprehensive examinations). Over the last twelve years, almost every Ph.D. graduate of the program has obtained academic employment in his or her specialty.

Funding: Virtually all entering graduate students are granted financial support in the form of Fellowships or Teaching Assistantships. The stipend for 2019-2020 is $24,000 (annual stipend of $20,000, plus $4,000 of summer support). Students who are awarded Fellowships or Assistantships receive full tuition remission as well as health insurance coverage. Financial support is normally renewable, pending successful progress in the program and adequate teaching performance. In addition, graduate students are frequently employed in Summer School courses in Charlottesville or in the Department’s summer undergraduate programs in Spain and Latin America. Please find here a list of fellowship opportunities for dissertation research and writing.

Comprehensive Exams & Reading Lists

Ph.D. Comprehensive Exams

The qualifying exam for the Ph.D. consists of a written exam, an oral exam, and a clase magistral. The fields selected for the written and oral exams should be closely connected to the dissertation. (For example, a student who is interested in contemporary Latin American literature will generally examine in modern Latin America, modern Spanish, and Latin American Romanticism-Modernismo). Please note that one field must be transatlantic; a student interested in contemporary Latin America must examine in one field related to Peninsular literature. No exceptions to the transatlantic requirement will be made. The eight examination areas are:

  • Middle Ages to Early Renaissance
  • Golden Age
  • Enlightenment to Romanticism
  • Realism and Generation of 1898
  • Modern Spanish Literature
  • Spanish America, Colonial Period to 1900
  • Spanish America, Romanticism, Realism, Modernismo
  • Spanish America, Modern Period

Ph.D. Reading List

The Ph.D. Reading List contains a minimal list of readings in Spanish and Latin American literature for Ph.D. candidates in the eight fields mentioned above. For students who entered the program prior to Fall 2019, click here to download the Ph.D. Reading List.  For student who entered the program in Fall 2019 and after, click here to download the PhD Reading List - August 2019 .

For more information on the exam process, current students should consult the most recent edition of the Graduate Handbook. Admitted students may request a copy by writing to the Director of Graduate Admissions or their intended faculty advisors.
 

M.A. Comprehensive Exams & Reading List

The Ph.D. list is designed to supplement the M.A. reading list. The M.A. exams are offered twice a year, in November (for special cases) and in March. For students who entered the program prior to Fall 2019, Download M.A. Reading List (as PDF document.) For student who etnered teh program Fall 2019 and after, SPAN MA Reading List - August 2019.

M.A. exams cover the following eight periods, as indicated on the reading list:

  • Middle Ages to Early Renaissance
  • Golden Age (Early Modern Period)
  • Enlightenment to Romanticism
  • Realism and Generation of 1898
  • Modern Spanish Literature
  • Spanish America, Colonial Period
  • Spanish America, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism
  • Spanish America, Modern Period

For more information on the M.A. qualifying exam, current students should consult the Graduate Guide for the present academic year. Admitted students may request a copy by writing to the Director of Graduate Admissions or their intended faculty advisors.

Course Descriptions & Sequences

For updates or a complete description of courses offered by the Department please visit the course description page. You may also consult the Student Information System and the Graduate Record.

For information on course sequences, current students should consult the Graduate Guide for the present academic year. Admitted students may request a copy by writing to the Director of Graduate Admissions or their intended faculty advisors.

Student Research & Support

Our students conduct a variety of original research in fields ranging from medieval Iberia to contemporary Latin America. To learn more about their research projects and collaborations, please visit our graduate student profiles.

For information on support for research, please consult our list of funding sources. Students are also encouraged to work with their dissertation advisors to find relevant fellowships in their areas of specialization.

Alumni

Our graduate students work on diverse topics from the medieval, early modern, revolutionary/Englightenment, and modern/contemporary periods in Spain and Latin America, with a variety of methodological approaches and theoretical orientations. They go on to work in academica, industry, non-profit organizations, and public service. To learn more about our alumni, please click here.

To learn more about current students and their research projects, please visit their profile pages.

Doctoral Language Exams

The Doctoral Language Exams in Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, also known as Proficiency and Mastery exams, are offered twice per semester through the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. The exams are available to currently enrolled graduate students who are required to demonstrate foreign language "proficiency" or "mastery" in order to satisfy certain degree requirements. The precise dates of the exams are set early in the semester, although they are generally offered in October, November, February and March.

To learn more about the exams, and to register for an exam, please visit our doctoral language exam page.