Show The Graduate Center Menu

Culture/Literature Track

A minimum of 60 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree are required for the Doctor of Philosophy of which a maximum of 30 can be transferred from another institution. For the courses and seminars to count towards the Ph.D. students must obtain a grade of B or higher.

All students must take the following courses:
Hispanic Critical and Cultural Theory
Spanish as an Object of Historical Inquiry
Students enrolled in the cultural and literary studies track must take one course or seminar in each of the following areas:
Colonial Latin American literature
Contemporary Latin American literature
Early Modern Peninsular Literature
Contemporary Peninsular literature
All students must follow a course of study approved by the Executive Officer.
Before completing 45 credits, students will be required to take a written exam.

Goals of the exam
Students will be able to:
1. produce analyses and connections between selected works from different discursive genres, media, and historical periods;
2. consolidate their knowledge of theoretical paradigms related to the selected areas of interest.

Structure of the exam
Students will be examined in the four critical areas determined in advance by the Examination Committee. Each critical area will comprise six works (fictional, non-fictional, visual) selected by the Examination Committee. The 24-chosen works will represent different historical periods of the Latin American, Iberian and Latino cultures.
The four critical areas and their respective lists of works will remain in place for a three-year cycle, after which the Examination Committee must revise them for another three years.
The 24 works selected by the Examination Committee will be made available no later than six months before the date set for the examination.

The critical areas for the 2018-2021 cycle are:
Memory and Human Rights
Performance and Subjectivity
Empire and Coloniality
State and Nation
Students will be examined in these four critical areas over two different weekdays. Typically, the first exam will be scheduled one week before the beginning of the Fall semester.
Students will be given one question for each critical area (four questions in total), and they must answer all of them. Of the four questions, three must be answered in Spanish and one in English.

For the complete reading list click here.

After completing a minimum of 60 credits and fulfilling the reading proficiency tests in languages other than English and Spanish, students must take a second written exam.
Each student’s Examination Committee will consist of three faculty members appointed by the Executive Officer in consultation with the student. Final approval of the areas selected and reading lists will rest with the Chair of the Examination Committee.
Goals of the exam
Students will be able to:
1. Determine an area of research interest;
2. Develop a thorough knowledge of primary and secondary sources related to the
chosen area of research;
3. Identify unexplored topics and perspectives of scholarly interest; and
4. Define theoretical and conceptual frameworks appropriate for future investigation
in the field of specialization.
Structure of the exam
The examination will revolve around four areas:

1. General Area: This will be selected from one of the following areas:

This area must be logically related to the Elective and Concentration Areas. The reading lists for the General Area will be prepared by the Program’s faculty and will be available on the program’s webpage.
2. Elective Area: This will include a list of 25 primary works reflecting the students’ research and specialization interests. The specific purpose of the list is to contextualize and/or complement historically and thematically the list of works included in the Concentration Area. The list will be prepared by the student in consultation with the Examination Committee.

3. Concentration Area: This will include a list of primary works addressing the student’s intended specialization in the field. The list must be preceded by a one-paragraph rationale explaining the criteria used in the selection of texts. The examination will be based on a list of at least 25 works to be selected by the student in consultation with Chair of the Examination Committee. There can be no overlap between the titles included in the General and Elective Area lists and those included in the Concentration Area list.

4. Critical/Theoretical Area: This will include at least 25 critical and theoretical texts to be selected by the student in consultation with the Chair of the Examination Committee.
The second examination will consist of three testing components:
1. An on-site exam taken at the Graduate Center and based on the General and Elective Areas lists.
2. A scholarly essay based on the reading lists for the Concentration and Critical/Theoretical Areas. The essay must demonstrate that the student is capable of identifying a research topic, presenting a theoretically informed argument, and discussing relevant critical literature. The essay will have length of approximately 3500 words, excluding cited works. The essay must follow the latest edition of the MLA handbook.
3. A syllabus for an undergraduate bridge or major culture course. The syllabus will contain a rationale for the course’s content and goals, a primary reading list, a calendar, and evaluation criteria. The syllabus will be sent to the Examination Committee by the end of the semester preceding the exam date (May or December). Students will also have an option to present an alternative project addressing a non-pedagogical topic, which will be defined in consultation with the Examination Committee and approved by the Curriculum Committee.
Students will be advanced to candidacy after passing the second exam.