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The Doctoral Program
Objectives and Requirements of the Ph.D. Program
The Ph.D. is a research and specialized degree. The Graduate School does not require a fixed number of credit hours; however, the Department requires 30 credits. In exceptional cases and in consultation with Director of Graduate Studies, students can advance to candidacy with less credits.
Prior to admission to candidacy the student must demonstrate/fufill the following:
- A thorough knowledge of the literary and cultural production in the main area of study;
- An in-depth knowledge of research tendencies in the field of specialization;
- At least two courses in the secondary area;
- A graduate course in the History of the Spanish Language;
- A minimum of one course in literary theory and/or criticism;
- Reading proficiency in a third language other than Spanish or English, appropriate to the student's field of study.
To be considered for admission to the Ph.D. program candidates must:
- Have earned an M.A. degree or have equivalent training;
- Submit a paper in Spanish produced at the M.A. level;
- Submit a statement of purpose;
- Submit three letters of recommendation from academic references;
Students on the "short list" can be interviewed by the Graduate Director in person or by phone.
In addition, non-native speakers of English are required to take the TOEFL examination prior to admittance. Candidates must meet the minimum TOEFL Standards established by theUniversity of Maryland Graduate School (score of 100). For information students should contact the campus Office of International Education Services.
Qualifying Examinations Required for Admission to the Program
Students who obtained their M.A. at another institution must take a two-part qualifying examination at the end of their second semester. The examination is based on a list of ten important texts in Spanish and/or Latin American literature chosen from a wide chronological spectrum. At the beginning of the student's second semester, he/she should draw up the list in consultation with a faculty advisor. The Graduate Director must approve the list and, in consultation with the student, establish the date of the examination in May or August.
Procedures for the Qualifying Examination
The Qualifying Examination consists of two written parts. Part 1 is based on a close reading of a text in which the student provides a detailed analysis of a selected text from his/her list. The student will receive the examination question on Friday, and the following Monday, he/she will return to write the answer in Spanish. The examination will be taken in a room provided by the Department and will last three hours.
No notes or bibliography may be consulted during the writing of Part 1, although a language dictionary may be used. Part 2 consists of a broadly based interpretive theme regarding specific works from the student's list. The student receives this second question on Monday and turns in the answer, written at home in Spanish, by the following Thursday at 3:00 p.m.
Evaluation of the Qualifying Examination
A committee consisting of two Department faculty members will meet to evaluate the examination and discuss the student's progress in the Ph.D. program. Written notification about the exams will be sent to the student within one month after the last examination has been completed. If the student fails, he/she can retake the qualifying examination once. If the student fails a second time, he/she will not be allowed to continue in the doctoral program.
Examination Before Admission to Candidacy (Advancement to ABD)
The Comprehensive Examination is given three times per year, on designated days in January, May and August. The examination is based on courses taken by the candidate and a reading list, which reflects the student's various sub-fields. In consultation with faculty specialists in the designated areas and sub-fields, the student creates a reading list for each of the sub-fields to be examined (two sub-fields in the main area and a third sub-field in the secondary area).
Sixty days prior to an examination date, the candidate must inform the Director of Graduate Studies as well as the professor assigned to adminster the exam of his/her intention to take the M.A. examination. This notification should be submitted in writing and outline the areas and sub-fields in which the student will be examined. For each sub-field, the student will receive a question to be answered in essay form on three consecutive Mondays. These essays will be due by 3:00 p.m. on the Thursday of each respective week.
In consultation with his/her advisor, the student will complete a fourth examination within four months of taking the comprehensive exams. This examination is intended to be the draft of the dissertation proposal. The proposal must reflect the specific topic of the student's dissertation research, a comprehensive review of literature, a clear sense of the primary corpus of study, methodology, and outline of projected chapters and selected bibliography. Ideally this proposal should have 25 pages.
Should a student fail, he/she may repeat the area examination(s) once. If he/she fails a second time, the student will not be allowed to continue the doctoral program.
Dissertation Proposal Defense
The director of the dissertation, along with at least three other members of the Graduate faculty, serve as an Advisory Committee. A meeting of the four-member committee and the candidate will convene for the defense of the proposal. All faculty in the Department can attend the defense. Upon successful defense of the proposal, a second reader is appointed from the Proposal Committee.
Foreign Language Reading Examination
This examination consists of a translation from a third language into English or Spanish. The topic of the text will be related to the student's field of specialization. The choice of the foreign language will be determined by its usefulness as a tool for the student's dissertation research. When the student is ready to take this examination, he/she should inform the Director of Graduate Studies in writing so that a suitable exam date can be set. Should a student fail, he/she may repeat the exam once. Download the form here, fill it out have it signed by the examiner and turn it in to the Director of Graduate Studies.
Students who hold a grade of "I" (Incomplete) in two courses may be prevented from enrolling in subsequent semesters and from holding a Teaching Assistantship. Students have a maximum period of one year to complete pending courses; thereafter, the Department will change the "I" to an "F." Students with an Incomplete cannot take the Comprehensive Examinations.
Admission to Candidacy (Advancement to ABD)
Once the student has passed the Comprehensive and Foreign Language Examinations, he/she must apply for Admission to Candidacy. This must occur within three years after admission to the doctoral program, and at least one academic year (two regular semesters), before the date on which the degree will be conferred. Renewal of contract depends on the oral defense of the dissertation proposal that must be completed between four months and one year after the last comprehensive examination.
In addition to the course credits, students must have at least twelve research credit hours (SPAN 899) prior to defending the dissertation. Once this requirement has been met, the student may pay the continuous registration fee instead of registering for research credits, but only if he/she will not use any University resources (e.g., libraries, consultation with advisors, examinations, such as the defense of the dissertation). The student must register for at least one research credit hour for the semester in which the degree is to be conferred.
As stated previously, the Ph.D. is essentially a research degree. This means that course work taken for the Ph.D. is intended as a preparation for the dissertation. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the student identify his/her field of interest as soon as possible. Early in the first semester, students should consult with one or more professors and explore the research possibilities in the field, period, genre, author(s) of his/her particular interest and select an academic advisor accordingly.
When the candidate has completed the dissertation, the Director of Graduate Studies notifies The Graduate School of its completion. The Dean of the Graduate School, upon the recommendation of the Director of Graduate Studies, appoints an Examining Committee for the candidate. This Examining Committee will include four members of the Department and one member from another academic unit who acts as the Graduate Dean's representative. The Committee will be chaired by the dissertation director.
All members of the Examining Committee will read the dissertation in its final form and take part in an oral examination in which the candidate defends his/her findings. Copies of the dissertation must be given to members of the Examining Committee at least ten days before the date set for the oral examination. The Graduate School has established procedures for the Dissertation Examination. For details on these and all other aspects regarding the dissertation, please see the Thesis and Dissertation Forms and Guidelines. In addition, the student must provide the Department with one copy of the final version of his/her dissertation.
Application for Graduation
Students must apply for a graduate diploma prior to the deadlines established by The Graduate School in the semester in which the degree is to be conferred. Deadlines are published in the Schedule of Classes.
Note: Once students are done they MUST file an EXIT form with the Graduate School and, if applicable, an address change form. This helps to keep the records clear.
Doctoral students must be admitted to candidacy (advanced to ABD) within three years of admission. After admission to candidacy, students have a maximum of four years in which to complete the dissertation. In exceptional cases, with the approval of the Graduate Director, the student may request an extension of the time limits for a maximum of one year. This extension can be requested only once.