Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures

(Revised and approved by LAILAC’s Executive Committee in May 2017)

This Handbook supplements the current Bulletin of The Graduate Center, the current Student Handbook, and the Announcement of Courses. All policies and requirements described in this Handbook apply to all students in the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures and are effective immediately. Request for exemption from any requirement must be made in writing to the Executive Officer of the program.

This Handbook will be revised periodically to incorporate changes made in program policy. Proposals for policy change by students or faculty should be submitted in writing to the appropriate committee for discussion. Approval or disapproval of policy change is determined by a majority vote of the members of the Executive Committee.

Students are responsible for informing themselves about the program policies and requirements contained in this Handbook. It is advised that students ask periodically at the Program Office for the most recent issue of the Handbook describing the latest changes that have been made.

Table of Contents

a. The Program
Our program is part of The Graduate Center, a unique institution devoted primarily to doctoral studies. The Graduate Center is committed to original and innovative research and offers a vibrant program of public events that, as its mission statement indicates, "draws upon and contributes to the complex communities of New York City and beyond." We in LAILAC are major contributors to our institutional mission. Our faculty specializes in a vast range of geographical areas, historical periods, and theoretical approaches to Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures, linguistic, and literary studies. LAILAC’s interests cover various fields including the politics of literary and cultural production, visual culture in Spain and Latin America, the sociolinguistics and politics of Spanish, and critical edition of texts.

b. Resources for Training and Research
Graduate Center Fellows teach undergraduate Spanish language courses and have the option of teaching additional courses as Adjunct Lecturers in the various Senior and Community Colleges of the City University of New York. 

Students in the Program take full advantage of the vast resources provided by the research facilities of both CUNY's library system and the public and private libraries of New York City. Students can borrow and return books at any CUNY college. In addition to the Mina Rees Library at The Graduate Center and the significant collection of books (over six million) and journals in the libraries of the senior colleges, they also have access to the holdings of the library of the Instituto Cervantes, located at 211 East 49th Street, The New York Public Library, the Morgan Library, and The Hispanic Society of America. 

c. Program and Student Activities
Throughout the academic year, the program sponsors colloquia, symposia and lecture series that bring to The Graduate Center internationally recognized scholars, writers and artists. Other cultural activities are frequently co-sponsored with Instituto Cervantes, Instituto de Cultura Mexicana, The General Consulate of Spain in New York, The Consulate of Argentina, the University of Valladolid, and other doctoral and certificate programs at The Graduate Center.

Over the years, our program has signed numerous collaboration agreements with foreign institutions. The Center for Galician Studies, established in 1985 as an agreement with the Xunta de Galicia´s Secretaría Xeral de Política Lingüística, has allowed some of our students to study in Santiago de Compostela and to take seminars in our program on Galician culture. In 2003 we signed an agreement with the Junta de Castilla y León and the University of Valladolid for the creation of the Miguel Delibes Chair to promote the study of contemporary Spanish literature and culture. This chair supports the publication of an academic journal, SIGLO XXI. Literatura y cultura españolas, co-edited by specialists of both institutions. Another agreement was signed with Institut Ramon Llull for the creation of the Mercè Rodoreda Chair, which sponsors one yearly seminar on Catalan culture and literature,  one on the sociolinguistics of Catalonia, and some cultural activities Agreements have also been signed with Portugal´s Instituto Camões to promote the teaching of Portuguese Literature and with the Basque Country´s Etxepare Institute to create the Bernardo Atxaga Chair in Basque Literature and Language. Our Program has also signed agreements with the Fundación Duques de Soria and the Hispanic Society of America for the development of a series of special seminars in textual criticism, which started in the Fall of 2002.

Students in the Program organize a yearly International Student Conference at The Graduate Center. These meetings have attracted doctoral students from US as well as European and Latin American universities. Since the year 2006 our students also edit the electronic LL Journal, in which important articles on Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian literatures, cultures and linguistics have been published. This refereed journal, which is listed in the MLA bibliography and the Library of Congress, has been highly praised for the quality of the articles accepted for publication, which explains its successful reception in this country and abroad.

See the Office of Fellowships and Financial Aid for information about Financial Aid. 

The Executive Officer and the Deputy Executive Officer serve as advisers to all level I students. Upon reaching level II, the Executive Officer will pair each student with an adviser who will assist them with the preparation of the Second Examination and with professional development. There should be at least one consultation conference between student and adviser and one between student and EO per semester.

Transfer students with an MA degree from another accredited institution must file a written request within the first year at The Graduate Center to the Executive Officer, specifying those courses for which they wish to transfer credit. They must include all supporting material such as transcripts and course descriptions. The Executive Officer will make the appropriate recommendation to the Registrar. A maximum of 30 credits can be transferred from another institution.

See the Curriculum and Degree Information page for information about the Program of Study. 

See the Curriculum and Degree Information page for information about the Language Requirement. 

See the track pages for information about the First Examination: 

a. A student who fails any part of the First Examination (Peninsular and/or Latin American Literature) must repeat the part(s)/section(s) the following semester; failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program.

b. A student who fails any part of the First Examination a second time will be dismissed from the program. (See the Student Handbook for appeal procedures.)

See the track pages for information about the Second Examination: 

a. A student who fails any part of the Second Examination must repeat the part(s) within a year's time; failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program.

b. A student who fails any part of the Second Examination a second time will be dismissed from the program. (See the Student Handbook for appeal procedures.)

The final decision on course offerings rests with the Executive Officer.

Students may earn up to ten per cent of the credits required (after credits transferred from other institutions have been factored in) outside LAILAC with the consent of the Executive Officer. If the course is to be taken in the Interuniversity Doctoral Consortium, students must also obtain the consent of the Vice President for Student Affairs at The Graduate Center, and divisional Dean at the host institution. Courses can be taken outside LAILAC provided that no equivalent course is offered by LAILAC. They must be closely related to the student’s intended area of concentration.

The en-route master's degree is awarded by a senior college to currently enrolled doctoral students who have fulfilled the following requirement: a minimum of 45 GPA credits with an average grade of "B" (courses taken for "P" credit ordinarily cannot be included), passing of the First Examination, satisfactory completion of a major research paper (50 pages), and any other requirements that may be established by the degree-granting college for an en-route master's degree. Applying students must abide by the deadline for filing established at each college. Further information may be obtained from the Registrar at The Graduate Center.

a. The general regulation regarding incomplete grades as stated in the Student Handbook will be observed: "To resolve incomplete grades, students must fulfill their obligations within one calendar year after completion of the course. After one year an incomplete (INC) will be automatically transformed into an INP (permanent incomplete); extensions will be granted only in exceptional circumstances upon written application and with the permission of the faculty member, the Executive Officer, and the Vice President for Student Affairs. Permanent incompletes will accrue no credit. Incomplete grades cannot be changed to letter grades after a student has been advanced to candidacy and has been moved to Level III. Students with more than two incompletes will be brought to the attention of the Executive Officer who will determine whether they are making satisfactory progress. Students will not normally be regarded as making satisfactory progress toward their degrees if they have more than two INCs on their record" (p.65). (See the Student Handbook, p. 65, for more information on incomplete grades and standards for retention).

b. Once a student has fulfilled the requirements to remove a grade of Incomplete the professor should file the grade within that semester.

c. It is strongly recommended that students with two incomplete grades during one semester register for no more than two courses in the following semester. Those with more than two incompletes may not be permitted to register for any courses in the following semester.

See the Curriculum and Degree Information page for information about the Dissertation.

a. A student may request in writing to the Executive Officer a leave of absence for a maximum of one year. The Executive Officer will submit it for approval to the Office of the Registrar.

b. Requests for either an extension beyond the one-year period or a second leave should be presented in writing to the Executive Officer, who will submit it for approval to the Office of the Registrar. Students are allowed a maximum of 4 semesters of leave of absence.

c. A student on leave of absence is not entitled to the use of the library or any other Graduate Center facility.

d. The period of an authorized leave is not included within the time limit for completion of degree requirements.

e. A student who is not registered for courses and is not on an approved leave must pay the maintenance of matriculation fee as stipulated in the Bulletin or be withdrawn from the program.

f. The student is reminded that a semester in which matriculation is maintained will be included within the time limit for completion of the degree.

g. Students who withdraw from the program and subsequently would like to return must apply for readmission within eight semesters from the last in which they were in status. Such applications are due on November 1 (for the Spring semester) and on February 1 (for the Fall semester). Applications must include: 1) the Graduate Center application for readmission form, together with the readmission fee; 2) a statement of purpose explaining why you now want to return, what you have been doing since leaving the program, your areas of interest and specialization, future career plans, and with whom you would like to study should you be readmitted; 3) a c.v.; 4) transcripts from any universities you might have attended since leaving the program; 5) three letters of recommendation, two of which must be from faculty currently teaching in the program. You may include supporting material if you wish.
Third-level students will not be readmitted without an approved dissertation proposal and letters of support from the first and second reader. If a dissertation is partially completed, then a copy of all completed work must accompany the application. 
Students who wish to return to the program beyond eight semesters from the last in which they were in status must go through the regular application process and will be subject to all requirements and restrictions that apply to new students.

a. Students will be elected to serve as representatives to the Executive Committee, the Faculty Committee, the Curriculum Committee, the Admissions Committee, the Doctoral and Graduate Students' Council, and the Graduate Council.

b. All student representatives must have a serious and diligent attitude toward their role and are expected to represent the view of students even when these contradict their own.

c. All student representatives must be candidates in good academic standing.

d. Student representatives will serve on no more than two committees at one time.

e. Students may not be elected to the same committee for more than three consecutive years.

f. Representatives to the Executive Committee must have completed 45 credits and be in good academic standing.

a. All elections to all committees will be held no later than April 15th for the following academic year.

b. The committees of the Ph.D. Program in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures are:

1. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee consists of eleven members: the Executive Officer, seven faculty, and three students. The Executive Officer, who chairs the Committee, is appointed by the President of The Graduate Center. The other faculty members are elected by the program's doctoral faculty. At least two faculty members, one in Linguistics and one in Literature, shall be Graduate Center appointees. The other five shall be elected at large by the doctoral faculty in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures from the senior colleges, and at least one shall be elected from any college substantially participating in the program [cf. section 3.5A, Governance of The Graduate Center]. There shall be three student members elected by the student body. All faculty members are elected for a term of three years; and student members are elected for one year.

2. Standing Committees

For all standing committees, except the Examination Committee and Elections Committee, the terms of office are three years for the faculty members and one year for student members.

3. Curriculum

The committee consists of the Executive Officer, two faculty members, and two elected student members.

4. Annual Examination

The committee consists of the Executive Officer and five faculty members appointed annually by the Executive Officer.

5. Admissions and Awards

The committee consists of the Executive Officer, two faculty members, and two elected student members.

6. Faculty Membership

The committee consists of the Executive Officer, two faculty members, and two elected student members.

7. Elections Committee

The committee consists of the Executive Officer, three faculty members, and three student members for the Executive Committee.

The Doctoral Faculty shall meet twice each year. The Executive Committee shall meet with students at least once each semester.


Two students and one alternate and two faculty members and one alternate are elected each year to the Graduate Council. Some of the main functions of the Graduate Council are:

1. To formulate educational policy for all graduate work in doctoral programs, including curriculum, standards of admission and academic performance, degree requirements, and student discipline.

2. To approve specific programs and curricula leading to the doctoral degree. To consider any other matter pertaining to academic issues in the doctoral program, and make recommendations to the CUNY Board.


Two students are elected each year to the Doctoral and Graduate Students' Council. The Doctoral and Graduate Students' Council assists and orients students in all matters within The Graduate Center. Some specific activities of this council are:

1. Distribute money to the various programs and chartered student organizations.

2. Orient students in matters concerning grievances and conflicts that the students may have with either the program or The Graduate Center.

3. Determine how student activity fees are spent.

The student representatives to the DGSC act as spokespersons for the student body in their respective disciplines. They are responsible for the money allocated to their program, although the student representatives do not necessarily have to be the organizers of a given activity.


Governance of the program may be picked up at our office in Room 4200.


The Graduate School and University Center is an equal opportunity and affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, alienage or citizenship, religion, race, color, national or ethnic origin, disability, veteran status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or marital status in its student admissions, employment, access to programs, and administration of educational policies.

Ms. Edith Rivera is the Interim Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator of The Graduate School and University Center. The office is located in Room 7301; Telephone: 1-212-817-7410 (Voice/TTY).

Mr. Matthew G. Schoengood, Vice President for Student Affairs is The Graduate School and University Center's Section 504 / ADA Coordinator for Persons with Disabilities and Coordinator for Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally assisted education programs. Her office is located in Room 7301; Telephone: 1-212-817-7400.

Actions that involve discrimination or bias of any sort will be subject to disciplinary
sanctions in accordance with the Rules and Regulations for the maintenance of Public Order Pursuant to Article 129A of the Education Law, a copy of which will be found in the Bulletin of The Graduate School.