PhD Degree


A minimum of thirty (30) semester hours of graduate credit in Spanish and/or approved related fields beyond the MA degree at or above the 5000 level is normally required in the doctoral program.

The two tracks for specialization are:

A. Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures
  1. Early
  2. Modern
  3. Contemporary
B. Language and Linguistics
  1. Formal Linguistics
  2. Applied Linguistics
  3. Second Language Acquisition

Minimum area requirements for students in the Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures track are:

  • 12 hours in the major area
  • 6 in the secondary area
  • 3 in the remaining area, and
  • 9 for electives

Minimum area requirements for students in the Language and Linguistics track are:

  • 6 hours in Linguistic Theory
  • 3 in Applied Linguistics (sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, etc.)
  • 6 in Second Language Acquisition
  • 6 in Research Methods and Statistics, and
  • 9 for electives

All PhD candidates are also required to take:

  • SPW 6806 Research Methods and Bibliography in Literary and Cultural Studies (3 hours) (Only for literature specialists)
  • FOL 5932 Quantitative Research Methods in SLA (Only for linguistics specialists)
  • FOL 5934 Research Foundations and Practice in Communicative Language Teaching (3 hours)
  • FOW 5025 Critical Theory and Its Applications to Non-English Literatures (3 hours) (Only for literature specialists)

These courses should be taken as early in the student's program as possible and must be taken before the Preliminary Examination.

PhD students may choose to have a minor or a certificate, usually another foreign language or literature, linguistics, Latin American Studies, education, history, etc. If students choose to have a minor or certificate, approximately one-fourth of the courses will be in the minor field. This area will be an additional exam in the Preliminary Examination.

Language Requirement

The language requirement for the doctoral degree consists of reading knowledge in two languages other than Spanish and English which are germane to research in the student's proposed specialty area (one language if the language is not a Romance language, such as Russian or Chinese, and the student demonstrates advanced proficiency as indicated by course work or a degree). The student's Supervisory Committee determines which languages are germane. The requirement can be satisfied by 1) passing the reading knowledge examination offered by the Department of MLL (FRE 5069, GER 5069, etc.) or 2) completing a 2200-level course with a grade of B or better. Courses taken in high school do not satisfy the requirement. The language requirement must be satisfied before taking the Preliminary Examination.

Doctoral Supervisory Committee

The doctoral Supervisory Committee, which guides students through the various steps toward the PhD degree, should be appointed as soon as possible after students have begun PhD studies, that is, no later than in the second semester on campus. A prerequisite to setting up the committee is that students have a general idea of their area of specialization, since the Major Professor must necessarily be a person with special competence in that area. The committee must include a representative from each area in which the student is to be examined on the Preliminary Examination.

Doctoral Preliminary Examination

The written Doctoral Preliminary Examination, based on the individually prepared PhD reading lists, course work, and the doctoral dissertation topic, in consultation with the Supervisory Committee members, is designed to ascertain the candidate's scholarly competence and the breadth and depth of his/her literary or linguistic knowledge.

The PhD examination in Iberian and Latin American Literatures and Cultures will consist of three sections. Two parts will be from the following areas of specialization:

  • Early
  • Modern
  • Contemporary

The third part of the examination will be on the student's dissertation topic. The examination questions, based on this reading list, will relate generally to the dissertation topic. The exam format is to be determined by the Major Professor and will either be an in-class written exam or a take-home written exam. Questions will be specific in nature and may include identifications, essays, problem-solving questions, etc. If any part of the written examination is considered marginal by any member of the committee, an oral exam may be required.

The PhD examination in the Language and Linguistics track will consist of three sections to be determined in consultation with the major professor. Possible areas include:

  • Formal Linguistics
  • Applied Linguistics
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Dissertation Topic

The examination questions will be based on reading lists and course work. The exam format is to be determined by the Major Professor and will either be an in-class written exam or a take-home written exam. Questions will be specific in nature and may include identifications, essays, problem-solving questions, etc. If any part of the written examination is considered marginal by any member of the committee, an oral exam may be required.

Prospectus of Dissertation

After completing the Preliminary Examination but no later than by the end of the semester following the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must submit for approval and orally defend an acceptable Prospectus of Dissertation to the Supervisory Committee.


The Dissertation must be on a Hispanic topic and must constitute a significant research contribution to knowledge. When the research and collection of data have reached the point where the student will begin writing the Dissertation, he/she should submit his/her carefully edited preliminary draft chapter by chapter to the Supervisory Committee for corrections, suggestions, and approval.

PLEASE NOTE: in case the dissertation research concerns human subjects, the student must include a copy of the IRB (Institutional Review Board) Approval Letter and sample copies of any Informed Consent Forms in the appendices of his/her manuscript. Issues of human subjects should be thoroughly discussed with your dissertation advisor since a failure to acquire the required clearance may negatively influence the chances of your work being published in the future. For more information see "GradSpace" (or "Grad School - Faculty/Staff") on your Bb site. Students should bring issues pertaining to human subjects committee applications and extensions to the Florida State University Human Subjects Office, housed within the Office of Research (

Oral Defense of Dissertation

As final exercise, the student is expected to defend the dissertation in the presence of the entire supervisory committee. The oral defense aims to assess that the student is able to successfully communicate, both through the oral examination and in the written dissertation, the knowledge and skills he/she has acquired within his/her discipline of study. The Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics is committed to strictly enforce the University's regulations on the oral dissertation defense, as well as on the subsequent manuscript submission process. The Major Professor and the candidate are both encouraged to carefully verify the planned course of action on the “GradSpace” (or for faculty members the equivalent “Graduate School – Faculty/Staff”) link on Bb “My Organizations”.

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