Curriculum and Degree Information

Program of Study

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 a Historical Problem 

The tracks have their own required courses and requirements for the first and second examinations. Please see the track pages for more details:

Language Requirement

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

Prior to taking the 2nd Examination, students must demonstrate reading proficiency on two languages other than Spanish or English. Any two of the following languages are required: French, German, Italian, Latin, or Portuguese. Any other language with relevance to the student’s doctoral work may be approved by the Executive Officer. Proficiency may be demonstrated by passing a written test given by the program or by completing two semesters of a reading course offered by the City University of New York and approved by the Executive Officer.


All doctoral students in the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures will be required to complete two examinations to earn their degree. Each track has it's own learning goals and structure for the exams. Please see the track pages for more details: 


Students will start the dissertation process after passing their second examination. Each student, working with a dissertation committee, will choose a unique topic that must be approved by the committee and the program's executive officer. The dissertation is an important opportunity for the student to make a unique contribution to the field. 

  1. Within one semester after passing the Second Examination, the candidate must submit in writing to the Executive Officer for approval his/her dissertation topic, the name of the dissertation director, and the two readers of his/her Dissertation Committee. Students may choose to invite one or two additional readers. These additional readers should be either members of the CUNY doctoral faculty or from the faculty of an accredited institution of higher learning. They must be recognized authorities in the area of the candidate's specialization. In the event that the dissertation director or one or both readers must be changed, the Executive Officer will meet with the director and/or the reader as well as the student to discuss the changes.
  2. Within one year after passing the Second Examination, the candidate must submit a dissertation proposal to the Dissertation Committee for approval. The written proposal, of at least 5000 words, must include a description of the topic, the methodology to be employed, the scholarly significance, the contribution to the field, and the feasibility of the project. A basic up-to-date bibliography of the topic following recent MLA guidelines will also be required. The proposal should be dated and signed by the dissertation director.
  3. After writing the dissertation proposal, the candidate shall make an oral presentation of the written proposal before the Dissertation Committee for approval.
  4. After the candidate's presentation and discussion of his or her dissertation proposal, the Dissertation Committee shall write a report to the Executive Officer stating the reason for the approval or rejection of the proposal.
  5. During the period in which the candidate is completing the dissertation, no other candidate in the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures at CUNY will be assigned the same topic. Should it come to light that a dissertation on the same subject has been completed in another university before the candidate has finished his/her own work, the Dissertation Committee will determine whether the candidates dissertation will still be making a sufficient contribution to the study of the selected topic to warrant its continuation.
  6. Upon completion of the dissertation and after approval by the Dissertation Committee, the candidate shall defend the dissertation in a public oral examination in Spanish.
  7. The candidate's oral defense will consist of a presentation on the nature of the research and the results it has yielded, followed by a question period normally of one-hour duration. A majority vote of the Dissertation Committee will be required for the approval of the dissertation.
  1. In the event that the candidate is not making satisfactory progress, the dissertation director will report to the Executive Officer, who may either request that the candidate change the dissertation topic or drop the student from the program if the time limit has expired (16 terms).
  2. The Executive Officer may recommend to the Vice President for Student Affairs that an extension beyond the time limit be granted to a candidate whose work is well advanced.
  3. After the dissertation director has advised the candidate of needed revisions in each chapter, the candidate will submit a legible draft of the dissertation to the director for approval. It will then be submitted to the readers who will advise the student in writing of suggestions, reservations, and serious objections they may have regarding the work. The candidate and the dissertation director will then decide, before undertaking the final draft of the dissertation, how much of it should be altered to conform to the suggestions of the readers.
  4. Upon approval of the members of the candidate's Dissertation Committee, the final draft of the dissertation will be prepared, and three copies will be submitted to the Dissertation Committee.
  5. A date for the oral defense of the dissertation will be selected by the student in agreement with the Dissertation Committee, allowing at least a period of four weeks during which copies of the dissertation will be available for interested members of the doctoral faculty and students in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages Program.