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Hispanic Linguistics 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.

Required Courses

All students in the Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures program must take the following courses: 

  • Hispanic Critical and Cultural Theory
  • Spanish as a Historical Problem

All students must follow a course of study approved by the Executive Officer.


First Examination

One out of the four sections of the First Examination must be written in English.

Learning Goals

1. To provide students with solid preparation in two areas of sociolinguistics and working familiarity with the main themes that run across the humanities and social sciences
2. To support their professional development as Spanish teachers and language educators
3. To consolidate students' knowledge of the grammatical structure of Spanish


With these goals in mind, the First Examination consist of three components:
1. The sociolinguistics and politics of Spanish
2. Language pedagogy
3. The structure of Spanish
COMPONENT 1: The Sociolinguistics and Politics of Spanish
The first component of the exam will be organized around

  • two research paradigms and
  • two sets of topics

Research Paradigms

COMPONENT 2: Language pedagogy
Under the supervision of and with advise from the examination committee, typically in the course of their first and/or second semester in the program, students will design two syllabi for undergraduate courses that will be submitted to the examination committee on the day when the first examination is scheduled by the program.

  • One for a sociolinguistics course

And one from the following two categories:

  • An elementary/intermediate or advanced course for speakers of languages other than Spanish
  • A course for heritage speakers

Each syllabus must contain:

  • an introductory description to the course including learning goals and a rationale for the course’s structure and contents
  • a detailed identification of contents, assignments and homework for each lesson distributed in 14 weeks
  • an evaluation system linked to the course’s learning goals
  • a statement of the teaching methodology to be used

COMPONENT 3: The structure of Spanish
This will be a teaching demonstration. Students will be given two topics selected by the examination committee out of the topics listed below (one from each block). 

Block 1 (Chapters from Hualde, 2014)
Block 2 (From Muñoz-Basols et al, 2017, and from Nueva gramática de la lengua española)

The questions have been elaborated from the following texts:

  • Javier Muñoz-Basols, Nina Moreno, Inma Taboada, and Manel Lacorte. 2017. Introducción a la lingüística hispánica actual : Teoría y práctica. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Nueva gramática de la lengua española: Manual. 2010. Madrid: Espasa.
  • José Ignacio Hualde. 2014. Los sonidos del español. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Days of the Exam

Day 1
10:00 a.m.
Submit syllabi (C2)
Receive one topic in each area (C3)

4:30 p.m.
Teaching demonstration (20 minutes presentation & 10 minutes questions)
Receive set of four questions and select two (C1)
Day 2                            
Submit answers to C1 questions

Second Examination

Learning Goals

In preparation for the Second Examination, students develop annotated bibliographies and acquire a high level of competency in the traditional and current pursuits of the two areas of concentration which they have selected in consultation with the Examination Committee. Through research and writing of an 8000-word paper, they demonstrate their ability to conduct well-designed, thoroughly implemented original research and to make significant contributions to the field of concentration. The oral presentation of their research prepares them to present their work in professional forums.


The Second Examination has a written and an oral component. In consultation with a committee of three faculty members from LAILAC appointed by the Executive Officer, each student must identify two areas of concentration, prepare an annotated bibliography for each, and write an original research paper related to one or both areas. Possible areas of concentration include but are not limited to the socio-political history of Spanish; language policy and planning in Latin America, Spain and/or the U.S.; linguistic ideologies in the Spanish-speaking world; the pragmatics of Spanish; intercultural communication; variationist sociolinguistics and Spanish in the U.S.; Columbia School and the syntax of Spanish.
Each annotated bibliography will consist of approximately 50 articles and book chapters (full books may be included and their equivalency to number of articles must be approved by the exam committee chair). Individual entries must consist of a brief summary of the article or chapter‘s goals and conclusions. The recommended length for each entry is 300 words (longer when annotating book-length texts). Each bibliography must be preceded by a brief essay describing the area and justifying the selection of articles, book chapters, and books. The description of each area must include a precise identification of the objects of study, the preferred methods used within the field, and the theoretical framework that informs the existing approaches to said field. Each essay must have approximately 1500 words.
The research paper must contain a clear statement of the project’s position within the field, a review of the relevant literature, a well-organized presentation of the collected data, a coherent analysis, and a conclusion that highlights the project’s original contribution. The paper must have approximately 8000 words.
The oral exam will consist of a 30-minute presentation by the student based on the research paper. The presentation will be followed by questions from committee members that may refer to all components of the exam (research paper and annotated bibliographies).
Bibliographies and paper must be handed to all committee members at least twenty one days before the date of the oral exam.