Last revised April 2016
1. General Information: 1.1. Degrees Offered; 1.2. Goals; 1.3. Graduate Student Handbooks; 1.4. Faculty Advisors; 1.5. The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS); 1.6. The Graduate Progress and Awards Committee; 1.7. Financial Aid, Fellowships, and Grants; 1.8. Petitions; 1.9. Grievances; 1.10. Leaves of Absence
2. Registration and Courses: 2.1. Graduate College Minimum Course Load and Registration Requirements; 2.2. Departmental Course Load Requirements; 2.3. Registration Procedures; 2.4. Breadth and Depth in Coursework
4. Course and Credit Thesis: 4.1. Course Credits; 4.2. M.A. Required Hours. 4.3. Ph.D. Required Hours. 4.4. SPAN/PORT 571; 4.5. SPAN/PORT 595 (Independent Study); 4.6. Registration in SPAN/PORT 599; 4.7. Transfer Credits; 4.8. Exam Reading Lists
5. Exams and Other Program Requirements: 5.1. M.A. Examinations; 5.2. Internal Admission to the PhD Program 5.3.Stages of the Doctoral Program; 5.4. PhD Foreign Language Requirement; 5.5. PhD Preliminary Examinations; 5.6. Typical PhD Timeline
7. Research Projects: 7.1. Permissions to Use Human Subjects. 7.2. Procedures for the Use of Spanish and Portuguese Students as Research Subjects
10. Important Deadlines and Dates: 10.1. Program Deadlines; 10.2. Department Deadlines for Submission of Graduate College Grant and Fellowship Applications; 10.3. Grad Calendar Dates
1.0 GENERAL INFORMATION
The Department offers M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Spanish and Portuguese, as described in the Graduate Programs of Study Catalog.
M.A. in Spanish
All students enrolled in the Spanish M.A. program must choose one of two concentrations:
- Spanish with concentration in Spanish Linguistics; or
- Spanish with concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures.
M.A. in Portuguese
The M.A. in Portuguese does not have concentrations.
Ph.D. in Spanish
The Ph.D. in Spanish has the following concentrations:
Ph.D. in Portuguese
Students may also complement their Ph.D. in Spanish or Portuguese with number of graduate Minors, Concentrations, or Certificates, the most commonly pursued of which include:
- Graduate Minor in Gender and Women's Studies
- Graduate Concentration in Medieval Studies
- Graduate Certificate in SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education)
- Graduate Concentration in Romance Linguistics
- Graduate Certificate in Translation
Graduate Minors and Concentrations appear on the student's transcript. Certificates do not, but students may receive a letter or certificate of completion from issuing Unit.
1.2.1 Master of Arts
To fulfill a variety of objectives, the Department's M.A. programs are designed: (1) to provide students who have successfully completed a B.A. degree or equivalent in Spanish or Portuguese with greater breadth and depth of study in their chosen field; and (2) to prepare students in the M.A. curricula in literature and linguistics to enter doctoral programs in Spanish or Portuguese at this or other institutions of higher learning.
1.2.2 Doctor of Philosophy
The overall goals of the Department's Ph.D. programs are: (1) to provide advanced students professional-level knowledge of their chosen area; (2) to prepare students for university-level teaching and participation in the varied activities of the profession; (3) to prepare students to identify, develop and pursue research interests; (4) to guide students in the production of professional-quality written discourse; (5) to help students prepare dissertations that make significant and original contributions to their chosen areas of specialization.
Each student should obtain a copy of the most recent edition of The Graduate College Handbook for Students, Faculty and Staff, which is available from the Graduate College (Coble Hall) and online at http://www.grad.uiuc.edu/gradhandbook/. It describes Graduate College requirements and policies applicable to all departments. Specific departmental requirements are described in the remainder of Guidelines for Graduate Students, which you are now reading.
Students are responsible for thoroughly familiarizing themselves with the policies and procedures outlined in these handbooks. Please see the Director of Graduate Studies for questions about issues not clearly explained in the departmental and Graduate College handbooks.
The advisor typically serves as the first resource when a student has questions about academic or professional issues. At advanced levels, the advisor usually (but not always) serves as the director of dissertation research. As such, students work closely with their advisors as they develop their research projects, which may include presentation of papers at professional conferences and submission of papers/essays for publication, as well as the preparation of the dissertation. When the time comes, advisors usually work closely with their students to help prepare them for the job search and to guide them through the process of finding an academic job.
Your advisor must approve your selection of courses before you register each semester, and record the courses you have taken on your Coursework Checklist. When you are ready to schedule your M.A. or Ph.D. exams, your advisor will review your file with you to make sure you have fulfilled all the requirements for your degree up to that point. In addition, if you should need to file a petition for any reason, your advisor must approve it (see section 1.8); and if you should apply for internal or external grants or fellowships, your advisor will be expected to sign off on and/or write letters supporting your applications (see section 1.7). Once you begin the job search, the letter of recommendation from your advisor, along with two or three other letters from professors with whom you have worked closely, will form a crucial component of your job dossier.
More generally, your faculty advisor is responsible for overseeing your progress in the graduate program and for supervising any research you might carry out outside of normal coursework, including research funded by grants, presentation at professional conferences, and publication in professional venues. Because your advisor is ultimately responsible for the research you do outside of class, it is essential that you work closely with him or her if you are considering applying for a grant or fellowship or submitting work for publication or presentation.
Upon entry into the graduate program, each student will be assigned a provisional faculty advisor. During or before Orientation week, the provisional advisor will contact the student in order to discuss course selection for the first semester. By the end of the first year in the Department, the student is normally expected to name a permanent advisor, who will oversee the student’s academic progress throughout the program. Students may select an advisor earlier, within the first year, if they already have a clear idea of the research area they wish to pursue. Once a faculty member has agreed to serve as a student’s permanent advisor, the student should fill out a Change of Advisor form (available in the Appendix), which will be signed by the previous advisor, the new advisor, and the student. If a student chooses to remain with the provisional advisor, and the advisor agrees, no Change of Advisor form is needed.
A student may change advisors once the permanent advisor has been selected; in this case, a Change of Advisor form should be completed again. The Change of Advisor form goes first to the Director of Graduate Studies and then to SLCL Graduate Student Services (3070 FLB) for processing. Once it has been processed by that office, the new advisor will be able to see the student’s academic history in MyAtlas.
The DGS is charged with the general administration of matters having to do with students in the Department's graduate programs, including admission, review, and retention of graduate students. The Director of Graduate Studies chairs the Committee on Graduate Recruitment and Admissions and the Committee on Graduate Awards, and is an ex-officio member of the Curriculum Committee and of the Graduate Progress Committee (see section 1.6). The DGS also chairs the annual evaluations of graduate students (see section 3.4).
All graduate students are encouraged to consult the Director of Graduate Studies whenever they would like to discuss any aspect of their experiences as graduate students in Spanish and Portuguese. Appointments may be made directly with the DGS (email@example.com).
The CGA consists of at least three faculty members and is chaired by the Director of Graduate Studies. The purpose of the committee is to evaluate current graduate students’ eligibility for merit-based awards.
Students’ applications for departmental, SLCL, LAS, or Graduate College grants and fellowships, such as the Conference Travel Grant, Dissertation Travel Grant, or the Dissertation Completion Grant, are evaluated and ranked by the members of the CGA, who forward their recommendations to the Department Head. When an individual committee member has a clear conflict of interest in a competition, he or she refrains from evaluating that student's file. For instance, CGA committee members cannot rate or otherwise judge the submissions of their own advisees.
Every effort is made to distribute award nominations equitably among the areas represented in the Department. Therefore, in cases where the Department can make multiple nominations, if there are applications from different fields, the nominations are split. For instance, if the Department is allowed to make 2 nominations for a Graduate College Conference Travel Award and there are applications from students in both literatures/cultures and linguistics, the top-ranked application from each field will be nominated.
Information regarding specific graduate awards can be found on the awards website.
The Department of Spanish and Portuguese complies with all rules and regulations governing graduate student appointments, including restrictions on percent appointments for international students and students who hold certain fellowships. Information on this subject can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook provided by the Graduate College. The Department does not have any additional rules or restrictions beyond those of the Graduate College.
1.7.1 Teaching Assistantships
Financial support for all students is subject to annual review. Renewal will be automatic for those who demonstrate acceptable performance both as graduate students and as Teaching Assistants, as well as satisfactory progress toward completion of the degree. (See Appendix for information on TA duties and responsibilities.)
126.96.36.199 Time Limits
1. Students who enter with a B.A. or equivalent, and with no more than 1 semester of graduate course work, typically will be supported for 2 years in the M.A. program through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, or some combination thereof, assuming satisfactory progress.
2. Students who enter with an M.A. from another institution typically will be supported for 4 years toward the Ph.D., assuming satisfactory progress.
3. A student who completes the M.A. at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and continues for a Ph.D. in this Department typically will be provided with a total of 6 years of support for both graduate degrees, assuming satisfactory progress.
Support beyond the maximum periods indicated above may at times be granted to students, but is always subject to departmental resources and needs. Such additional support is not guaranteed and should be requested through a written petition the semester before it is needed; the request, which must be approved by the advisor, should be forwarded to the DGS.
Note that the Graduate College establishes time limits for degree completion apart from Department limits on financial aid. The Graduate College time limits can be found at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/gradhandbook/2/chapter5/masters-degrees#MastersTimeLimits (M.A.) and http://www.grad.illinois.edu/gradhandbook/2/chapter6/time-limits (Ph.D.). Students can petition for extensions to these time limits but these are not granted automatically; rather, they must be approved by the Graduate College on a case by case basis.
1.7.2 Research Assistantships (RAships)
Research assistantships (RAships) are usually paid from extra-departmental funds obtained by faculty members in support of their research. The availability of these RA positions may therefore vary from year to year depending on faculty grants. Faculty members typically initiate the discussions regarding potential research assistantships with graduate students whose area of research and stage in the graduate program make them good candidates to serve in this capacity.
1.7.3 Graduate College Funding
Funding from the Graduate College is available on a competitive basis for presentation of papers at professional meetings (Graduate College Conference Travel Grants) and for pre-dissertation or dissertation research (Graduate College Dissertation Travel and Dissertation Completion Grants). Students do not apply directly to the Graduate College for these grants and fellowships, but rather to the Department. Each Department is allowed to forward a set number of applications to the Graduate College (typically no more than three) based on the number of graduate students enrolled during that semester. The GPAC reads and rates all of the applications received and forwards the highest scoring applications to the Graduate College. Students must therefore submit their application materials by the Department deadline in order to be considered.
Proposals must cogently and convincingly summarize the project in language that is precise but easily accessible to a non-specialist reader. Only persuasive and well-documented proposals will be forwarded to the Graduate College for further competition, so students are strongly urged to seek the input of their advisors before forwarding proposals to any competition..Please be sure to allow sufficient time for your advisor to review and evaluate your proposal and for any necessary revisions to be made well in advance of the Departmental deadline. Many advisors request to see proposals at least three weeks prior to the departmental deadline.
188.8.131.52 Conference Travel Grants
Students who have had a paper selected for presentation at a professional conference may apply to the Graduate College for travel funds. Graduate College Conference Travel Grants are relatively modest (usually $60-$350 for domestic conferences) and are awarded on a competitive basis. No student will be funded by the Graduate College for conference travel more than once in any academic year. Applications for Graduate College Conference Travel Grants are available in the Appendix to these Guidelines. The Graduate College deadlines for application typically fall in late September (fall semester) and late February (spring semester); these are announced on the Graduate College website (http://www.grad.illinois.edu/general/travelaward). The Department deadlines are always earlier than the Graduate College deadlines, to enable the CGA time to review applications and make nominations. The departmental deadlines are set each semester but be prepared for them to be 2-3 weeks earlier than the Graduate College deadline.
Applications must include the completed application form (with projected expenses), abstract for the paper being presented, and a notification of acceptance from the conference. In the case that the abstract prepared for the conference is not accessible to a non-specialist reader, we request that the student prepare a short description of the paper's significance to accompany the abstract. This enables CGA committee members from a variety of disciplines to rank the applications on a level playing field. All proposals and documentation must be approved by the student's advisor, who indicates his/her approval by initialing the abstract or proposal in question.
Occasionally, the Department may have additional funds available to support graduate student research. These funds may be distributed to students applying for Graduate College Conference Travel funding. There are also sometimes separate application processes for additional departmental funds (e.g., to support a specific summer research project). In such cases, details about the amount and type of funding, as well as the application requirements, will be provided to students via the departmental graduate student email listserv.
184.108.40.206 Dissertation Grants
There are two main campus-internal sources of dissertation funding, described below. The Graduate College issues explicit guidelines for the preparation of proposals for these grants; these should be followed as closely as possible, in addition to the general guidelines outlined in section 1.7.3. It is especially important that applications for these very competitive grants be prepared in consultation with the advisor and begun well in advance of the departmental deadline.
Dissertation Travel Grants
Dissertation Travel Grants provide reimbursement for travel and associated costs necessary for doctoral dissertation research, whether for exploring a potential dissertation topic (i.e., before extensive research has been done) or for conducting final dissertation research (i.e., once the student is ABD). The Graduate College holds a competition for Dissertation Travel Grants each semester. Deadlines for these competitions (as well as the separate departmental deadlines) are posted on the SLCL Graduate Student Services website (http://www.slcl.illinois.edu/internal/graduate/). Please note that you may need to log in with your netID and AD password by clicking the padlock button at the top righthand side of the screen.
Students must prepare application materials in accordance with Graduate College requirements and submit them to the Department for ranking by the CGA. Each department is allowed to nominate up to three applications per semester, and the Graduate College then makes awards from among this pool of applications.
Dissertation Completion Grants
Each Spring there are two Dissertation Completion Grant competitions, one funded by SLCL and the other by the Graduate College. Both are intended to release recipients from assistantships and other work obligations in order to allow them to devote themselves full-time to the completion of the dissertation. Students may apply to both competitions.
The criteria used in making the awards include the significance of the research, as reflected in the nominee’s proposal and the letters of support, the student's productivity and efficient progress toward the degree as shown in the academic record, and the likelihood that the student will defend and deposit the dissertation by the August following the award.
Application instructions and deadlines for both Dissertation Completion Grant competitions (as well as the separate departmental deadlines) are posted on the SLCL Graduate Student Services website (http://www.slcl.illinois.edu/internal/graduate/). Please note that you may need to log in with your netID and AD password by clicking the padlock button at the top righthand side of the screen.
Petitions are used to request waiver or modification of Graduate College requirements and policies and to record information on a student’s permanent record in the Graduate College. Examples of common uses of petitions are to add or drop a graduate minor or concentration or to request a leave of absence. Before filing any petition, a student should meet with his/her advisor and/or the DGS.
Petition forms, available online at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/gsas/graduate-student-request-form, should be filled out in consultation with the advisor, who must electronically approve and sign the petition in the space provided and forward it to the DGS for further approval. Once the petition has been approved by the Department, it is forwarded to the Graduate College for final adjudication. In all cases, justifications for the requests must be clearly stated in the space provided on the petition and all relevant documentation attached.
Most conflicts that arise in an academic setting can and should be resolved informally, without the aid of formal grievance procedures. When a graduate student believes he or she has been adversely affected by an inappropriate action or decision on the part of a faculty or staff member, the first step should always be to attempt to resolve the problem through discussion with the party perceived to have acted inappropriately. In order to produce a fruitful discussion, the student may also wish to consult with her or his advisor, the DGS, or another trusted faculty member. When informal discussions have not successfully resolved the issue, the student should consult the Head of the Department.
A student dissatisfied with the department level result may appeal that decision to the Graduate College Grievance Committee. The Graduate College Grievance Policy is available at http://www.grad.illinois.edu/gradhandbook/2/chapter9/academic-conflict#GraduateCollegePolicy.
The official Graduate College policy on leaves of absence can be found in the relevant section of the Graduate College Handbook (http://www.grad.illinois.edu/gradhandbook/2/chapter2/registration#LeaveofAbsence). Students who must temporarily interrupt their graduate studies are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the policy and requirements of various offices on campus, including the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), in the case of international students. Students who are considering requesting a leave of absence (whether personal or academic) should discuss the matter with their advisor and the DGS and complete the appropriate Graduate College forms.
Please note that lapses in registration may carry serious consequences, including the loss of tuition waivers accompanying assistantships. TAs who resign their appointments before completing at least three-fourths of the semester may be required to pay the full amount of tuition and fees for that term. International students who leave campus must secure clearance from the Office of International Student Affairs.
Based on your immigration status and the amount of time you are away, you may be required to complete an application for re-entry into the program upon your return, as specified in the Graduate College policy.
The Graduate College establishes minimum course loads for graduate students to maintain full-time status. Please note that not maintaining full-time status as defined by these rules may affect your visa or student loan status. Specifically, the Graduate College considers eight hours to be the minimum credit load for determination of full-time status for students carrying 25% to 67% teaching assistantships. Students holding fellowships, students with 1%-24% assistantships, students without assistantships, and students with "stand-alone" tuition waivers must maintain registration in at least twelve graduate hours per semester during the regular academic year in order to be considered full-time by the Graduate College.
The Graduate College, however, allows individual programs to set higher minimum course load requirements. The requirements in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are as follows:
Spanish and Portuguese graduate students who have not completed their coursework requirements and who hold fellowships or 25% to 67% assistantship appointments will normally be considered to be making adequate progress if they maintain registration for credit in twelve graduate hours per semester. That is, the department requires that this group of students carry a course load greater than the absolute minimum mandated by the Graduate College. (Note that, for purposes of load calculation, English as a second language courses required or recommended by the ESL Placement Test count as four hours, even if the registration is listed in the student registration system as zero hours.)
When there are verifiable extenuating circumstances, and with the support of their advisors, students who carry 25% to 67% assistantships (but no fellowship) may petition the DGS for approval of reduced course loads (i.e., to take fewer than twelve credit hours per semester).
During the semester in which they present M.A. exams, students may register for four hours of SPAN or PORT 595, if they have completed or are completing their coursework requirement. This course may be taken for a grade of S[atisfactory]/[U]nsatisfactory. This course will be dedicated to studying for exams. As with any enrollment in SPAN or PORT 595, a signed petition must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies by the end of the previous semester detailing course requirements and how the final grade will be assigned.
Doctoral students may register in the number of hours of SPAN or PORT 599 recommended by the advisor only after they have completed their coursework requirements and are scheduled to take their preliminary exams.
All planned coursework must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor before the student registers.
Students register online for all classes at UIUC. Links to the current UIUC Course Catalog and registration instructions are available at http://registrar.illinois.edu/registration.
Students who register before consulting with their advisors may be asked to change their course registration.
The Spanish and Portuguese faculty believe that the preparation of its graduate students for university teaching and research posts in Spanish and Portuguese literatures, cultures, and linguistics should be characterized by breadth as well as depth in coursework. Breadth of preparation reflects an intellectual disposition; it also indicates a candidate's potential to respond to concerns that surpass the limits of specialized research. In sum, breadth and depth of preparation, rather than breadth or depth alone, better prepare the student as a future scholar and teacher.
Few departments across the country provide faculty members the opportunity to teach exclusively in their areas of specialized research from the beginning of their professional careers. Typically, new faculty members, that is, recent Ph.D.s, will be expected to competently teach broad-ranging survey and introductory core courses, as well as language courses. In short, even those who may secure a position with specialized teaching will also be asked to teach introductory courses outside their own area of specialization.
Search Committees that select job candidates will certainly be very interested in an applicant's Ph.D. topic and specialized courses, but they will also be checking, very carefully, the breadth of the applicant's preparation via the transcript, as well as the applicant's ability as a competent teacher of the language via letters of reference, contact with faculty in the Department, and teaching evaluations.
You are urged to take these factors into consideration as you plan your coursework over the next few years and as you think about your future career. The Ph.D. examinations are structured to permit you to concentrate primarily in those areas most relevant to your research interests. However, please be aware of the risks such a narrow approach entails, and of the advantages of broadening the scope of your doctoral studies. No matter what areas you choose for your preliminary exams, it is important that your transcript reflect several courses in each of the major areas of your discipline. Please note that although the minimum number of credit hours of courses at the Ph.D. level is 32, your advisor may recommend that you take more than this minimum required number of credit hours to ensure your thorough preparation.
3.0 SATISFACTORY PROGRESS
In accordance with Graduate College regulations, all Spanish and Portuguese graduate students must maintain a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale where 4.0 is the equivalent of an "A"). If a student’s GPA falls below the minimum after completion of 12 or more graduate hours of graded coursework, it must be raised to at least 3.0 after the completion of an additional 12 graduate hours of graded coursework, and must be maintained at or above the minimum thereafter. Students failing to meet these minimum GPA standards will face dismissal by the Graduate College.
Students should note that 3.0 is the absolute minimum GPA a student may maintain in order to continue to register for classes, as outlined above. However, students should note that consistent maintenance of no more than the minimum GPA does not constitute satisfactory progress. See section 3.3 for more information.
IN grades for incomplete coursework should be requested only because of documentable emergencies, such as serious personal health problems, death in the family, jury duty, etc. An IN is reflected on the student’s transcript; a pattern of corrected INs on the transcript will suggest to most evaluators that the student is not able to meet deadlines or to fulfill work commitments. An IN should NOT be requested simply because the student would like more time to finish assigned course work, or because additional time would allow the student to produce a better term paper. When considering a request for an IN, faculty may request appropriate documentation that an emergency situation exists.
If the request for an IN grade is not approved, the instructor will assign a grade based on the student's record relative to the entire body of work assigned in the class, including the final examination or paper. The grade assigned may be a letter grade, or ABS (Absent from the final exam without an acceptable excuse). According to university rules, the grade of ABS counts as an F when calculating the GPA.
If the request for an IN grade is approved, student, instructor, and advisor should complete a “Graduate Student Request for a Grade of Incomplete (IN)” form available in the Appendix. This form will be kept in the student’s file.
An IN grade given in the fall term must be replaced by a letter grade no later than the Reading Day of the spring term, and an IN grade given in the spring or summer term must be replaced by a letter grade no later than the Reading Day of the fall term. Failure to complete the work within this timeframe automatically results in a grade of F by rule. If the student does not maintain continuous enrollment, the excused grade becomes an F by rule after one calendar year.
Students should plan their schedules very carefully in order to ensure that they will be able to successfully complete all course requirements by the designated deadlines. Should a situation arise that compromises a student’s ability to meet designated deadlines, the student should get in touch with his/her advisor and instructor(s) as soon as possible.
Students will be considered to be making satisfactory progress if all of the following minimal criteria are met:
1. Overall GPA is consistently above the minimum, 3.0;
2. The student has no outstanding IN grades from a previous semester, and no pattern of requesting IN grades for reasons other than those outlined in section 3.2;
3. The student has consistently complied with departmental regulations regarding the maintenance of a full-time course load, as outlined in section 2.2;
4. The student is not encumbered from registration by the Graduate College and has not been put on probationary or limited status by the Graduate College;
5, The student has consistently planned her or his coursework in consultation with the advisor, as reflected on the Coursework Checklist;
6. The student’s overall “timeline” for completion of the degree is commensurate with Graduate College and departmental time limits for support.
Every graduate student’s progress is evaluated annually by means of a formal review process. As a part of the process, the student must submit a self-report and CV to the Director of Graduate Studies by an announced deadline (usually in early April). The faculty in the student’s area (Spanish Linguistics, Spanish/Latin American Literatures/Cultures, Portuguese) then meet to evaluate the student’s progress toward the degree, taking into account the information from the self-report and CV, as well as the student’s academic performance, both in coursework and, if applicable, outside of classes (fellowships and grants awarded, conference presentations, publications, etc.). Each student will receive a letter from his or her advisor summarizing the results of the annual review. Please note that the review is intended to promote self-reflection on the part of the student and the letters generally contain constructive feedback and suggestions for improvement. The student must sign a copy of the letter indicating that s/he has read it and provide a copy to the DGS. This letter then becomes a part of the student’s file. If a student is judged not to be making satisfactory progress, he or she will be notified both in the letter from the advisor and separately by the Director of Graduate Studies, according to the policies established by the Graduate College. Continued unsatisfactory progress may result in revocation of financial aid, change to limited status, and/or dismissal from the program.
4.0 COURSE AND THESIS CREDIT
UIUC Graduate courses are currently designated by a 400- or 500-level number (e.g., SPAN 510, PORT 571, etc.). Courses at the 500-level are designed exclusively for graduate students. Courses offered at the 400-level are open to graduate students and to advanced undergraduate students. The number of hours assigned to 400- and 500-level courses varies, but the most common number of credits for graduate courses is 4. When signing up for 400-level courses, graduate students should always enroll in the section that confers graduate rather than undergraduate credit. This is indicated in the course schedule in Banner. Degrees are awarded based on the total number of hours completed and not total number of courses.
The M.A. degree requires 32 graduate hours of credit in formal coursework; the Graduate College requires that at least twelve of these hours must be earned in 500-level courses. Of the twelve hours of 500-level coursework, four may be earned by completing SPAN/PORT 571; the other eight credits (two courses) must be taken in the major field (i.e. Hispanic/Portuguese literature or linguistics). Courses taken as Independent Studies (SPAN/PORT 595) cannot be used to replace regularly-offered courses and do not normally count for the 32 graduate hours in formal coursework, although exceptions may be made on a restricted case-by-case basis, as outlined in section 4.5.
Each program in the Department determines its own coursework requirements. Please consult the detailed program descriptions in the Appendix for more details. In addition, all students must successfully complete SPAN/PORT 571 during the first semester of study, even if their initial appointment does not require them to teach. Students in graduate programs outside the Department who are awarded a teaching assistantship in Spanish and Portuguese must successfully complete SPAN/PORT 571 during the first semester of the assistantship (see section 4.4).
Students must consult with their advisors before registering for courses. (See section 2.4, “Breadth and Depth in Coursework").
None of the programs in Spanish and Portuguese have an M.A. thesis requirement. Instead, students in the MA in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures and students in the MA in Portuguese must complete MA exams in their fourth semester of the program (described below in section 5.1.1). Students in the MA in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Linguistics must turn in an MA research paper in their fourth semester in the program (described below in section 5.1.2).
For students entering with an M.A., the Ph.D. degree requires at least 64 hours of graduate credit, of which at least 32 hours must be in formal coursework (i.e., 400- and 500- level courses) taken in residence on this campus. When combined with the M.A taken in this department and in the same program, at least 96 hours are required, of which at least 64 (between M.A. and PhD) must be taken in residence. It should be kept in mind that the above required number of hours in coursework represents a minimum and that students may be asked to take additional coursework if deemed necessary, usually in order to make up entrance requirements or to provide further training in areas that complement their research specialization. (See individual program descriptions.) Independent Study (595) courses do not count toward the 32 minimum required hours of formal coursework, with the exceptions outlined in Section 4.5. For the remaining hours, a student enrolls in 599 thesis credit once they have scheduled their preliminary examinations. In order to comply with U.S. immigration laws, international students should continuously register for zero or more hours of 599 until the thesis is deposited.
For additional information regarding your particular program within the Department, see individual program descriptions in this document.
SPAN/PORT 571, "Proseminar in Foreign Language Teaching," is required of all new graduate students, whether they enter the Department at the M.A. or Ph.D. level, and also of all new Spanish and Portuguese Teaching Assistants enrolled in other departments. The course carries four hours of graduate credit and counts toward minimum coursework requirements. Since this course provides essential training in the methodology employed in Spanish and Portuguese programs, as well as preparation fundamental to your professional development, the requirement will not be waived for any reason.
Special Topics SPAN 595 and PORT 595 are electives designed primarily for Ph.D. level students. The intent of a 595 independent study is to pursue individualized work with a faculty member in order to explore topics not offered in regular coursework. Since independent work done under the 595 rubric is supplemental to the student's overall requirements of 32 hours in formal coursework, it does not normally count towards the minimum credit requirements, except if the student's petition, written in consultation with the instructor the semester before, is approved by the DGS.
Before the student registers for SPAN/PORT 595, the student and faculty instructor must complete a Petition for Approval of 595 Special Topics (Independent Study) form detailing the nature of the study, proposed readings, and the method of evaluation--desirably as a syllabus. [See Appendix: “Petition for Approval of 595 Special Topics (Independent Study)".] This petition must be completed and approved by the DGS no later than the second week of classes. The purpose of the petition is to provide a record of research done under the SPAN/PORT 595 rubric. If the student wants this course to be counted as part of the 32 hours of formal coursework, the petition should clearly state that no similar course is regularly taught. A maximum of three 595 courses (typically 12 hours) may be counted as formal coursework at the PhD level.
SPAN/PORT 595 can also be used for other purposes that do not count towards the overall requirements of 32 hours in formal coursework. During the semester in which they present M.A. exams, students may register on an S/U basis (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory) for four hours of SPAN/PORT 595, IF they have completed or are completing their coursework requirement. This course will be dedicated to study for exams.
Doctoral students may register for SPAN/PORT 599 Thesis Research after a faculty member has agreed to supervise the student's dissertation and once they have completed the required coursework (see section 5.5). Once credit requirements have been satisfied and the preliminary exams have been scheduled, international students MUST register for at least 0 hours of 599 until the thesis is deposited, in order to comply with U.S. immigration regulations.
4.7.1 M.A. Students
The Graduate College allows students enrolled in an M.A. curriculum to transfer up to 12 hours of graduate-level coursework with grades of A or B from other institutions. Students must complete the Graduate College petition form and obtain departmental approval for the transfer before the Graduate College will consider it. The Graduate College will not approve transfer credit for coursework applied toward any degree other than the M.A.
4.7.2 Ph.D. Students
Students enrolled in a Ph.D. program must complete all 64 hours at the University of Illinois (see section 4.3, "Ph.D. Required Hours"). Students who completed their M.A. in the Department and continue to the Ph.D. here may file a petition with the Graduate College to transfer credits at the doctoral level.above the minimum required for the M.A. to the Ph.D. The Department, however, considers prior coursework when advising a doctoral student's plan of study. That is, at its discretion the Department may waive required coursework for students who have completed equivalent coursework elsewhere. However, such waivers do not change the requirement to complete the 64 credit hours at the University of Illinois.
Ph.D. Exam Reading Lists (Spanish or Portuguese Literatures and Cultures)
Ph.D. reading lists are made up by individual students in consultation with their advisors and committee members. Final reading lists for all exam areas must be approved by the faculty members administering the exam in each area by no later than the end of the semester prior to the preliminary examination dates (see section 5.5.2).
5.1. M.A. Examinations
5.1.1. MA in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures (MA Research Paper)
[Please note that students admitted to the MA in Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 will have the option of either completing the MA Research Paper or taking the MA Comprehensive Exams]
The MA examination consists of the submission of an extensive Research Paper on an approved topic in the field of Iberian and/or Latin American literary/cultural studies.
In the MA Research Paper, students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired during their MA preparation and to demonstrate their ability to conduct independent research and analysis in their chosen field of study. The topic of the paper must be of sufficient breadth to demonstrate solid knowledge of the field and sufficient depth to reflect familiarity with relevant theories and scholarship and the ability to apply this knowledge critically. While it is not expected that the MA Research Paper will be suitable for immediate publication, students are encouraged to set eventual publication in a peer-reviewed journal in Iberian and/or Latin American literary/cultural studies as an ultimate goal. The paper should therefore be as long as a standard journal article, about 6,250-8,000 words (roughly 25-32 double-spaced pages), including notes but excluding Works Cited. The paper may be written in either English or Spanish.
The MA paper will be evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:
a. The paper should show that the author has thoroughly researched the critical scholarship and theories relevant to the topic.
b. The paper must present a clearly defined thesis that is supported by a cogent and well-organized argument. Argumentation must draw clearly and convincingly on the presentation of specific evidence from the literary texts or cultural products analyzed.
c. The paper must distinguish between previous scholarly works and the author's own argument in such a way as to clarify the originality of the paper’s contribution.
d. The paper must clearly express the significance of the project and its contribution to the general field of Iberian and/or Latin American literary/cultural studies.
a. The paper must be written in a clear style. Before submitting the final draft, the student must thoroughly revise the paper to eliminate stylistic infelicities, ambiguities, and gaps in logic.
b. The paper must be free of typos and grammatical errors.
c. In all formatting matters (for example, quotations within the body of the paper, footnotes, and Works Cited), the paper must follow the latest edition of the MLA Style Manual.
NOTE: The MA research paper is not technically a “thesis” as far as the Graduate College is concerned. Therefore, you should not format the paper according to the thesis formatting guidelines.
Procedure and Timeline
- The student must propose a potential topic for the paper to the member of the Spanish & Portuguese tenure-track faculty who will supervise the paper. The student is expected to work closely with the faculty member throughout the process. The paper is most commonly an extension of a research proposal or project that has been completed for a course, although students may undertake new research for this paper if they so desire. We strongly recommend that students choose their potential topic and meet with the faculty supervisor to seek the supervisor's approval of the topic no later than the end of the third week of the fall semester prior to submission of the paper.
- No later than the end of the sixth week of the fall semester, the student must submit a formal project proposal to the faculty supervisor. In the proposal, the student should summarize the focus of the project, detail how it draws on and departs from existing scholarship, and explain how the completed paper will contribute to the field of Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. The student should also specify whether the project represents a thorough revision of previously graded work or an entirely new work. A proposed list of Works Cited must be attached. Finally, the student should propose a timeline of milestone steps to ensure that the final version of the paper will be finished by the first Friday after Spring Break of the following semester. The proposal should be about 500-750 words in length, not including the Works Cited and timeline. The final version of the Research Paper proposal must be approved by the faculty supervisor in writing, with copy to the Director of Graduate Studies, no later than the end of the ninth week of the fall semester.
- Once the project proposal has been approved, the student should consult with the faculty supervisor to identify two other potential evaluators. At least two of the three evaluators must be tenure-track faculty and at least two must be in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Written consent of the additional evaluators to serve on the evaluation committee must be obtained by the last day of the fall semester before the paper will be submitted. The student must submit a “Request to Schedule Exam” form to the DGS by the end of February of the semester in which the Research Project will be completed. On that form the student will indicate the names of the two additional faculty members (other than the supervisor) who will evaluate the paper.
- During the spring semester, students who are preparing the MA Research Paper and who have completed all other requirements of the MA degree may enroll in an Independent Study (SPAN 595) course to be directed by the faculty supervisor. When the project proposal is approved by the supervising faculty member during the fall semester, the student and the faculty supervisor will also agree in writing on a meeting schedule and a schedule for completion of the project.
- The deadline to submit the final version of the MA paper is the first Friday after Spring Break at 3pm. MA Research Papers will be turned in to SLCL Graduate Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) for processing with copy to the DGS.
- Each evaluator will complete a results sheet with his/her evaluation of the paper and detailed comments. Possible outcomes are:
- pass the paper with distinction
- pass the paper
- fail the paper without chance to rewrite
- Students receive feedback in writing on the paper(s) from the 3 members of the committee (1-3 pages from each evaluator), similar to the feedback editors and reviewers of journals provide to authors. Students should consult with the supervising faculty member about the best way to proceed with this feedback (e.g., whether to revise the paper and submit it for publication and if so, how to do so and where to send it).
- Students should receive the outcome of the examination and the comments in writing from the DGS no later than 3 weeks after the Research Paper was handed in for evaluation.
Timeline for MA Research Paper
Agree with supervisor on the topic of the paper
Submit formal proposal to the supervisor
Formal approval of proposal with copy to the DGS
End of February
Submit “request to schedule exam” form to the DGS
1st Friday after Spring Break
Submit Research Paper to SLCL
4th Friday after Spring Break
Deadline for DGS to convey results
5.1.1. Literatures and Cultures (Spanish or Portuguese)
[Please note that this option is only available to students admitted to the MA in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures in Fall 2018 or before; students admitted starting Fall 2019 will have only the option of writing an MA Research Paper, see above]
Students should plan to take the M.A. Examinations during the fourth semester of studies. The Masters Examination consists of 3 written examinations for Spanish and 4 written examinations for Portuguese, each part of which is of 2 hours duration. The examinations are administered on the 2 consecutive Fridays after Spring Break from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon and from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
In order to register for the M.A. examination, a student must fill out the appropriate SLCL request form and specify the 3 or 4 examination areas (see the SLCL Graduate Student Services website or Appendix A: “Request to Schedule M.A. Exam"). This request must be approved by the advisor and submitted to the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB) at least three weeks before the first exam date. Exam results are usually available by the end of the spring semester.
Before registering for the M.A. exams, each student should meet with their advisor in order to review the student’s file to confirm that all coursework requirements will have been fulfilled by the end of the semester in which exams are taken. Please see specific requirements regarding the distribution of the M.A. exam areas for Spanish Literatures and Cultures students below.
Important information specific to M.A. students in Spanish Literatures and Cultures
For the first two exams, students will be required to answer questions which require critical analysis of specific primary texts within the broad context of the entire field, as represented by the works on the reading list. These exams will evaluate the student’s grasp of the field conceived broadly, through analysis of particular issues in and across specific works. For the third exam, the question will consist of a critical response. In this exam, the student will be provided with a quotation from a major critical/theoretical work in the field and s/he will be asked to offer an analysis in light of any book assigned on the reading list pertaining to that third area. This exam will evaluate the sophistication of the critical argument.
In consultation with their advisors, students will choose the three exam areas according to the following stipulations:
- At last one exam must be chosen from PERIOD A, and at least one exam from PERIOD B.
- Both geographical areas (Spain and Spanish America) must be represented among the three exams.
- The third exam on critical response can be chosen from either group;
b. Early Modern
c. Pre-Columbian to 1650
d. Colonial Spanish America1651-1810
a. Spanish American Literature, 1811-1898
b. Spanish American Literature, 1898-present
c. 18th and 19th Century Spanish Literature
d. Spanish literature, 1898-present
Each individual examination will be weighted equally and graded using the following system:
A+ (4.00) B+ (3.33) C+ (2.33) D+ (1.33)
A (4.00) B (3.00) C (2.00) D (1.00) F (0)
A– (3.67) B– (2.67) C– (1.67) D– (.067)
Every exam is evaluated by two faculty members. For each exam, the scores of individual faculty evaluators will be averaged.
To pass the M.A. examination, a student must earn a minimum of 9 points total (for 3 exams) or 12 points total (for 4 exams), with no grade lower than a “C.” For example, A (4.0) + B (3.0) + C (2.0) = 9 points = pass, but A (4.0) + B (3.0) + D (1.0) = 8 points = no pass. In the event that a student fails to earn the minimum number of points, one retake per examination area will be allowed. Note that all retakes must be completed concurrently and within one year of the original examination date. Students must re-take exams in the original fields. (See Appendix A: "M.A. Examination Results").
5.1.2. M.A. in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Linguistics
The MA examination consists of 1 research paper.
The purpose of this paper is to test the graduate student’s ability to conduct independent research and analysis in linguistics. The paper must deal with a topic of significant scholarly interest as determined by the standards of the sub-discipline.
Length: typical length for a journal article, not to exceed 10,000 words for the main text, excluding title page, references, tables, figures, maps, appendices, etc.
The paper will be evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:
- Content: the student should show knowledge of the relevant literature on the topic, both seminal and most recent.
- Argumentation: there has to be a close connection between theoretical assumptions, research questions, hypotheses, and empirical facts. The student must be able to express clearly how the data obtained support the research questions and hypotheses.
- Data: The student has to be able to select or collect the appropriate data that will be used to support the main argument of the paper. This may include databases, experiments with human subjects, interviews or previously published data.
- Originality: The student has to be able to articulate the contribution of the study to the discipline. The study can be innovative in a number of ways: by studying something that has not been studied before, presentation of new data, use of a different methodology or subject population to tease apart competing accounts of a particular phenomenon, modification of a current theory based on new data, etc.
- Format: The paper must be superior in quality to a typical “A” paper for a course. It must be publishable in an edited volume or mid-tier journal. It must be well written and organized, following the standard organization for typical papers in the field/sub-discipline, with no typos or grammatical errors. The references must be accurate and follow standard formatting style for the discipline. For example, those working in second language acquisition must follow APA style. Students working in fields other than second language acquisition should consult the faculty member supervising their paper about the relevant style sheet/reference format to use.
NOTE: The MA research paper is not technically a “thesis” as far as the Graduate College is concerned. Therefore, you should not format the paper according to the thesis formatting guidelines.
Procedure and Timeline
- The student must choose a topic for the paper and have it approved by the tenure-track faculty member who will supervise the paper. The student is expected to work closely with the faculty member throughout the process. The paper is most commonly an extension of a research proposal or project that has been completed for a course, although students may undertake new research for this paper if they so desire. We highly recommend that students choose their topic and meet with the faculty supervisor toward the end of the first year of the MA, rather than waiting until the second year to do so.
- Toward the beginning of the Fall semester of the second year, in consultation with the faculty supervisor, the student should choose two additional faculty members who will evaluate the paper. (These may be tenure-track faculty or specialized faculty with PhDs from within or outside the department.) Then contact the other faculty members to ask whether they are willing to serve as an evaluator.
- Toward the beginning of the Spring semester of the second year, the student must submit a “Request to Schedule Exam” form and submit it to SLCL Graduate Student Services (email@example.com). On that form the student will indicate the names of the two additional faculty members (other than the supervisor) who will evaluate the paper.
- The supervisor of the paper is expected to provide active supervision during the research and writing process, reading and commenting on drafts in a timely manner.
- The deadline for MA papers is the last day of MA exams (the first Friday after Spring Break). MA research papers are handed in to SLCL Graduate Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) for processing with copy to the DGS. Students are advised to submit the paper in .pdf format so that any special characters or symbols are preserved.
- Each evaluator will complete a results sheet with his/her evaluation of the paper and detailed comments. Possible outcomes are:
- pass the paper with distinction
- pass the paper
- fail the paper
- Students receive feedback in writing on the paper(s) from the 3 members of the committee (1-3 pages from each evaluator), similar to the feedback editors and reviewers of journals provide to authors. Students should consult with the supervising faculty member about the best way to proceed with this feedback (e.g., whether to revise the paper and submit it for publication and if so, how to do so and where to send it).
- Students should receive the outcome of the exam and the comments in writing from the DGS no later than 3 weeks after the exam was handed in for evaluation.
To be admitted to the Ph.D. program, Spanish and Portuguese M.A. students must apply to the doctoral program during the Fall of their second year in the program, although they need not pay a new application fee. The only new documents a student must produce in order to apply to continue from the M.A. to the Ph.D. program are a clear Statement of Purpose and a writing sample; i.e., research paper. The student’s file will be evaluated by all regular members of the graduate faculty who teach in the student’s general area of study (e.g. Hispanic literatures). The area faculty’s recommendation regarding admission to the doctoral program is presented to the Graduate Recuitment and Admissions Committee for a final decision.
The Statement of Purpose, which should occupy no more than 2 double-spaced pages, should outline the areas of research interest, provide a thoughtful rationale for the significance of the proposed doctoral research, and explain how the research areas may best be explored within this particular Department. The Statement is by no means to be interpreted as a binding contract or a draft for a dissertation proposal; rather, it is designed to demonstrate seriousness of purpose and intellectual maturity. The Statement of Purpose and the writing sample, which can be written in either English or the language of the program, should be forwarded to the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB, email@example.com) by the priority deadline for external applicants (in early December). (Electronic submission preferred)
In making the admissions decision, the Graduate Recruitment and Admissions Committee will consider the following:
- 1. The student’s Statement of Purpose.
- 2. The grade record to date.
- 3. The writing sample.
- 4. Assessment by the area faculty of the student’s performance and potential to succeed in the Spanish or Portuguese doctoral program.
Internal doctoral applicants will receive written notification of the admissions decision at the same time as external applicants. All admissions are conditional, pending the successful completion of the MA examinations.
The Graduate College divides all doctoral programs into three separate stages, as follows:
Stage I: The M. A. degree or equivalent. At the end of Stage I, the progress of each doctoral student must be formally evaluated by the Department and the result of the evaluation communicated to the student in writing. This review must take place no later than the end of the second year of doctoral study; in Spanish and Portuguese, it takes place at the end of the first year. Minimal evaluation criteria are listed in section 3.3. The review may result in one of three decisions:
a. Student’s progress is satisfactory; the student may continue in the program and proceed to Stage II;
b. The student may continue in the program on probationary status, in which case another review will take place at the end of the third semester of doctoral work;
c. The student may not continue in the program.
Stage II: One or more additional years of coursework and research carried out in preparation for the preliminary examinations and fulfillment of any other program requirements. A student leaves Stage II and proceeds to Stage III (ABD status) after having successfully fulfilled all program requirements (including the language requirement, if applicable), passed the preliminary examinations, and successfully defended the dissertation proposal (the Oral Exam).
Stage III (more commonly known as “ABD–—All But Dissertation”): Research and other activities culminating in the deposit of the approved dissertation and the final oral defense of the dissertation (the Final Examination). See criteria above for admission to Stage III status.
Students in all Spanish and Portuguese doctoral programs must demonstrate reading proficiency in TWO languages in addition to English and the language of specialization. The choice of languages should be relevant to the student’s field of study. For students in Spanish, Portuguese is recommended. Proficiency may be demonstrated in several ways, including:
a. Successful completion (with grade of B or better) of two graduate courses designated as “Reading Knowledge for Graduate Students.” (Note that these courses do NOT earn graduate credit.)
b. Passing a reading proficiency exam administered departmentally (for example, both the Department of French and Italian and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures administer reading proficiency exams).
c. Successful completion of the equivalent of third semester level language at the undergraduate level.
d. Successful completion of academic training in a language relevant to our profession, through formal schooling or advanced college-level coursework where the medium of instruction was the foreign language (e.g., coursework done at an institution where the dominant language of instruction is neither English nor the language of specialization).
It is important that the fulfillment of this requirement be documented in the student’s file, e.g. by entries on the transcript, written correspondence from the DGS, written records of results of proficiency exams, etc. Fulfillment of this requirement should also be recorded on the Coursework Checklist and confirmed by the DGS before the student may proceed to Stage III of doctoral studies.
Students may opt to substitute one language with three courses, successfully completed with a grade of B or better, constituting an additional “outside field.” For these purposes, an “outside field” is defined as one not normally covered by regular departmental coursework or standard exam fields. For instance, courses taken in fulfillment of the Women’s Studies Graduate Minor or the SLATE graduate concentration would constitute an outside field. Such a substitution must be requested in writing and approved by the advisor and the DGS.
The Language requirement must be fulfilled before a student may proceed to Stage III of the doctoral program (ABD status).
5.5.1 General Information
The Graduate College requires that each doctoral student undergo an examination or some other review of progress at the end of Stage II of the doctoral program (i.e., when coursework requirements have been fulfilled). In Spanish and Portuguese, the written preliminary examinations, along with the defense of the dissertation proposal (the Oral Exam), serve as a bridge between Stage II of the doctoral program, during which coursework requirements are fulfilled; and Stage III, better known as the A[ll] B[ut] D[issertation] stage. As such, the written preliminary examinations are intended to gauge whether a student is prepared to begin work on the dissertation proposal, as well as to help the student to begin that work. All exam areas should work together to create an intellectually coherent field of scholarly pursuit, but, together, they should also demonstrate versatility and scholarly competence in a field of study that extends beyond the specific topic of the dissertation.
Students in both literatures and cultures and linguistics must take preliminary exams; however, the structure and format differs based on the program, as explained below. Please refer to section 5.5.2 for Spanish or Portuguese Literatures or Cultures and to section 5.5.3 for Spanish or Portuguese Linguistics.
5.5.2 Spanish or Portuguese Literatures and Cultures
220.127.116.11 General procedure
Once a student has determined a potential dissertation topic, and a faculty member has tentatively agreed to direct the dissertation, the student will confer with the advisor in order to identify potential members of the examination and dissertation committees. The student then will draw up a short description of the proposed project, attaching relevant bibliography. The text of the Project Description should not fill more than ten double-spaced pages. With the advisor’s approval, this description will be circulated to all potential exam and dissertation committee members.
The student will confer with all members of the proposed committee in order to ascertain their willingness to serve on the committee, and to determine the two areas in which she or he will be examined. (See the section “Format” below for a detailed explanation of the structure of the exam areas.)
Definitive reading lists for each exam area will then be constructed by the student and must be approved by the faculty member(s) responsible for each exam area. The reading lists for the Dissertation Area exam may expand upon the bibliography attached to the short Project Description, while the reading list for the Supplemental Field exam must reflect areas of study that complement, rather than duplicate, the proposed dissertation topic. In order to allow ample time for study, all reading lists must be approved by the examining faculty well in advance of the examination period. For those students planning to take the exam in the Fall, the lists must be approved no later than May 1st; for those students planning to take the exam in the Spring, the lists must be approved by October 1st. The written exams will be based upon these reading lists. The student will have one week to complete each exam at home, and will be expected to attach an appropriately-formatted bibliography of all works referred to in the exam answer.
Only committee members will participate in the writing and grading of the exams. Each exam will be evaluated by at least two committee members. Within two weeks of receipt of the completed exam, the examiners will consult with each other to determine whether: a) the student has passed the exam and may proceed to the drafting of the dissertation proposal; b) the student must fully or partially rewrite the exam; or c) the student has failed the exam and may not rewrite the failed exam. The decision of the committee must be unanimous for each exam. No later than three weeks after receiving the exams, each examiner will return an individual Results Sheet to SLCL Graduate Services. All re-writes must be completed by the end of the following semester. The DGS, after consultation with the student’s advisor, will communicate the grades on both exams to the student. In cases of outstanding performance on both exams, the committee may elect to recommend that the student’s performance on the written exams be awarded the designation “With Honors.”
Once the student has passed both written exams, she or he proceeds to the preparation and defense of the dissertation proposal (the Oral Exam). (See section 6.2.1 for more information on the dissertation proposal.) Immediately following the proposal defense, the committee decides on one of the following outcomes: a) pass (the student is ready to begin writing the dissertation); b) re-examination (the student is not ready to begin writing the dissertation and needs to re-write the proposal and defend it again); 3) failure.
Successful performance on the dissertation proposal defense (the Oral Exam) marks the end of Stage II and the entry into Stage III of the doctoral program
18.104.22.168 Composition of Preliminary Examination Committee
The preliminary examinations are administered by the student’s Examination Committee. The Graduate College specifies the following requirements for the formation of the Examination Committee and the Dissertation Committee:
a. The committee must have at least 4 faculty members;
b. At least three of the committee members must be current members of the Graduate Faculty;
c. At least two members of the committee must be tenured;
d. The Chair of the committee must be a member of the Graduate Faculty.
In addition, Spanish and Portuguese requires the following:
e. At least two members of the committee must be current members of the UIUC Spanish and Portuguese faculty.
The Examination Committee is formed by the student in consultation with the advisor. The members of the Examination Committee may serve on the dissertation committee, but the composition may also change. Typically, the advisor serves as the Chair of the Examination Committee, and then as the dissertation director, but these three roles may also be played by different faculty members.
Preliminary and final examinations must be planned well in advance, in close consultation with all committee members; exam dates must be agreed upon by all affected faculty members. A student must complete all prelim exams within one semester (i.e., within a 15 week time frame). Students should plan to finish their last written exam by at least one month before the end of the semester, in order to allow time for faculty to evaluate the exams, to determine whether the student may proceed to the Oral Exam (the defense of the dissertation proposal), and to schedule the Oral Exam to take place before the end of the semester. Students should not expect to schedule any part of the preliminary or final examinations once the fall or spring semester has ended, or during University holidays or vacations).
22.214.171.124 Format of Preliminary Exams
Two written exams, as follows:
1. One exam focused on the dissertation topic and the theoretical readings to be used in the dissertation. The purpose of this exam is to gauge whether the student has read and thought carefully enough about the proposed dissertation topic to begin the drafting of the dissertation proposal. Ideally, this exam will serve as a starting point for the writing of that document. This exam should demonstrate that the projected dissertation topic is well situated within a secure knowledge of the general field that will define the student’s area of professional specialization.
2. One exam on a related field. This exam is intended to contribute to the student’s preparation for the dissertation, while also reflecting intellectual breadth. As such, it must address an area of study outside the immediate field of the proposed dissertation topic, and the general field to which it belongs (i.e., exam 1 above). In most instances, this will be another geographical area, a different chronological period, or another field within the discipline.
5.5.3 Spanish or Portuguese Linguistics
Once a student has completed all coursework requirements for the Ph.D., s/he will discuss with his/her advisor, in general terms, the topic for the dissertation, and possible topics for the two research (qualifying) papers that comprise the preliminary examinations. Although neither paper necessarily has to be on the topic of the final dissertation, it is recommendable for at least one of the papers to relate closely to the dissertation, for the student’s benefit.
Once the student has passed both qualifying papers, she or he proceeds to the preparation and defense of the dissertation proposal (the Oral Exam). (See section 6.2.1 for more information on the dissertation proposal.) Immediately following the proposal defense, the committee decides on one of the following outcomes: a) pass (the student is ready to begin writing the dissertation); b) re-examination (the student is not ready to begin writing the dissertation and needs to re-write the proposal and defend it again); 3) failure.
Successful performance on the dissertation proposal defense (the Oral Exam) marks the end of Stage II and the entry into Stage III of the doctoral program.
126.96.36.199 Composition of Preliminary Examination Committee
Each of the two papers may be supervised by a different faculty member. At least one of the two papers should be supervised by the student's advisor. Each paper will be evaluated by a committee consisting of the faculty member supervising the paper and two additional faculty members chosen by the student in consultation with her/his advisor. The composition of both evaluation committees cannot be identical (that is, in total there must be at least 4 faculty members involved in the evaluation of the two papers).
188.8.131.52 Format of Preliminary Exams
The exam structure is the same as outlined above in 5.1.2 for the M.A. in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Linguistics. The only difference is that two research papers are required instead of one. Each of the two papers may be submitted as soon as it is ready. Papers should be submitted electronically to SLCL Graduate Student Services for processing, with copy to the DGS and the advisor. Both papers do not need to be submitted during the same academic year, although this is typically the case.
5.5.4 Paperwork for Preliminary Examinations
184.108.40.206 Spanish or Portuguese Literatures and Cultures
The paperwork involved in the scheduling and evaluation of the written prelims is as follows:
1. The student and advisor complete and sign the "Ph.D. Coursework Checklist" (available from the Spanish and Portuguese webpage) and forward it to the Director of Graduate Studies for final approval. This should be done at least three weeks before the first exam is scheduled, and ideally the semester before. This will allow time to make sure all program requirements have been fulfilled before the exams are scheduled.
2. In consultation with the advisor and with all members of the prelim committee, the student determines the dates on which each of the three exams is to administered. (The student will be given one calendar week to complete each prelim exam at home.) Students should not expect to schedule any part of the preliminary or final examinations once the fall or spring semester has ended, or during University holidays or vacations. The student then completes the “Request to Schedule Ph.D. Exam” form available from the SLCL Graduate Student Services webpage, which is then approved by the advisor, signed by the DGS, and forwarded to the SLCL Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB). Once exams are scheduled, changes can only be made if agreed to by all affected members of the Examination Committee. The Chair of the committee must notify the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB) in writing of any changes.
3. Written examinations are evaluated by committee members and one of the following outcomes is assigned for each exam: PASS, REWRITE the exam [or a portion of the exam]; or FAIL, without an opportunity to rewrite the exam. Students who fail one or more exams will be dismissed from the program. Outcomes of the three exams are communicated to the student by the DGS once results and comments from all committee members have been received. All re-writes must be completed before the end of the following semester.
220.127.116.11 Spanish or Portuguese Linguistics
The paperwork involved in the scheduling and evaluation of the written prelims is as follows:
1. The student and advisor complete and sign the "Ph.D. Coursework Checklist" (available from the Spanish and Portuguese webpage) and forward it to the Director of Graduate Studies for final approval. This should be done at least three weeks before the first research paper is turned in, and ideally the semester before. This will allow time to make sure all program requirements have been fulfilled.
2. In consultation with the advisor and with the evaluators of the paper, the student determines the dates by which the two research papers will be handed in. Students should not expect to schedule any part of the preliminary or final examinations once the fall or spring semester has ended, or during University holidays or vacations. The student then completes the “Request to Schedule Ph.D. Exam” form available from the SLCL Graduate Student Services webpage, which is then approved by the advisor, signed by the DGS, and forwarded to the SLCL Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB). Once the dates have been set, changes can only be made if agreed to by all affected evaluators. The advisor of each paper must notify the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB) in writing of any changes.
3. The research papers are evaluated by committee members and one of the following outcomes is assigned for each one: PASS, REWRITE, or FAIL, without an opportunity to rewrite. Students who fail one or both papers will be dismissed from the program. Outcomes are communicated to the student by the DGS once results from all committee members are in. All re-writes must be completed before the end of the following semester.
Preliminary Exam / Qualifying papers
Prepare for the job market
For the student entering the program with the appropriate M.A. level coursework completed, the following represents a typical timeline for completion of the Ph.D. (For those entering with a MA from other institution and who were required to complete extra course-work, a first year of preliminary coursework is added to the timeline.)
First year. The student takes courses, with a minimum of two graduate-level courses the first semester and three graduate-level courses per semester thereafter. By this point, the student should choose a thesis advisor, who may suggest supporting coursework or additional independent reading if necessary.
Second year. The student continues coursework, but begins developing the area or topic for the thesis research during the third semester of study. By the end of the second year (fourth semester), the student should have a well-defined idea of the topic that will center her/his research for the Ph.D. thesis.
Third year. During the first semester of the third year, the student should draw up a short version of the proposed project and complete the Prelim exams or Qualifying papers. If the student cannot defend the proposal by the end of the first semester, it should be scheduled for the beginning of the second semester. By this point, the student enrolls in 599 hours only.
Fourth year. The student should complete the investigation and write up the final version of the thesis. In order to be considered for May graduation list, students must defend by the end of March to allow ample time for revisions in order to meet Graduate College deadlines for graduation in May. Students with fellowships might have specific conditions for their defense: please consult with the fellowship administrator. Students may normally defend a thesis up until the last week of classes of the semester, if they are not concerned about getting on the May graduation list.
Note: All official academic work must be undertaken during the academic year (August-May). Except in exceptional circumstances and only by permission of the department Head, Ph.D exams and/or dissertation defenses must also be scheduled and administered during the academic year and on official business days.
6.0 THE DISSERTATION
As noted in section 5.5.1, the members of the Examination Committee may also serve as the Dissertation Committee, but this is not mandatory. Students who, in consultation with their advisors, decide to change the composition of the Examination Committee for the purposes of dissertation must adhere to the guidelines established by the Graduate College and the Department: the committee must have at least four voting members, of whom at least three must be current members of the Graduate Faculty, at least two must be tenured, and at least two must be current members of the Spanish and Portuguese faculty. In addition, the Chair of the Dissertation Committee must be a current member of the Graduate Faculty.
Students who change the composition of their committees should, in consultation with their advisors, fill out a new “Request for Appointment of Doctoral Examination Committee” form (available from the Graduate Student Services Office – 3070 FLB) in order to record the change. In regard to the selection of faculty members for the dissertation committee, the Graduate College notes that committee members “should be chosen for their expertise in the student’s research area, but may also be chosen to give diversity in viewpoint, methodology, or academic discipline” (Handbook, Chapter 6B). This may be achieved, for instance, by including faculty members from other sub-disciplines within the Department or from other departments, or faculty members who represent theoretical or methodological orientations different from those represented in the dissertation.
6.2.1 The Proposal (end of Stage II)
The proposal should be prepared under the guidance of the Dissertation Director. Each program in the Department sets its own specific guidelines and requirements for the dissertation proposal. Students should consult with their advisors regarding these guidelines. What follows is a general description of expectations for the dissertation proposal.
The author of a successful dissertation proposal poses, as clearly as possible, the research question(s) to be addressed in the dissertation, and provides a coherent and convincing rationale for the significance of the proposed research. He or she places the research question within the context of existing scholarship, indicating the original contribution the project will make to this scholarship. The author explains what methodology (or theoretical orientation) will be used in order to approach and explore the research questions and why this methodology has been chosen. Crucially, the author states a clear position on the central issue to be explored, which sets apart his or her initial perception of the problem from those advanced in previous research.
An annotated outline of the projected chapters of the dissertation is very useful in that it not only indicates the scope of the project, but also traces the logic to be followed in exploring the research question. A preliminary bibliography is typically attached to the proposal; this may include not only works already consulted, but also works not yet read but which promise to prove relevant and useful. The relevance of each work cited in the bibliography should be clarified in the proposal.
Appropriate length of successful proposals varies; students should confer with their Dissertation Directors about this. Typically, however, successful proposals consist of about 15-25 double-spaced pages, not including bibliography.
The dissertation proposal should demonstrate that the author has thought carefully and read widely and intelligently about the proposed project. It should persuade the reader of the significance, if not the urgency, of the project. The reader should also be convinced that the project can capably be carried out within the year or so normally dedicated to the dissertation.
The proposal, however, is not to be confused with the dissertation abstract, which is written once the dissertation is completed and which succinctly summarizes the conclusions reached in the dissertation. In the dissertation proposal, typically the emphasis is on questions asked and on ways to form or consider answers to those questions—not on the author’s answers themselves.
6.2.2 The Proposal Defense: Procedure
The student must consult with each member of the dissertation committee in order to set a tentative date for the proposal defense. Students should not expect to schedule the proposal defense to take place after the fall or spring semester has ended, or during University holidays or vacations.
At least 15 working days (3 weeks) before the proposal defense date, the Dissertation Director and student must complete the relevant areas on the “Request to Schedule Ph.D. Exam,” available from the Department webpage and the SLCL Graduate Student Services webpage, and forward it to the DGS, who reviews and signs it and then forwards it to the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB). Note that although this form will have already been started at the written preliminary examination stage and kept on file in the Graduate Student Services Office, it will need to be completed with the new information for the Oral Exam (the defense of the dissertation proposal).
When planning the date for the defense, it is important to keep in mind that each member of the Dissertation Committee should receive a copy of the final version of the proposal at least 10 working days (two weeks) before the scheduled proposal defense. Some committee members may require more time to read and evaluate the proposal. The dissertation director must approve the final version of the proposal before it can be distributed to committee members, so the student should plan to give the director an initial draft of the proposal well in advance of the targeted defense date. Many students also find it useful to discuss the proposed research with individual committee members before the defense.
The dissertation proposal defense serves as the first formal meeting of the dissertation committee. As such, it provides the student and the committee members with an opportunity to meet to discuss the proposed dissertation project in detail. The student may elaborate on the proposed plans, and committee members may suggest, or request, productive modifications of the plan set out in the proposal. In this sense, the student “defends” the proposed project, but the exercise is most productive when viewed as an opportunity for the student to receive intensive feedback and guidance.
On the day of the proposal defense, the Dissertation Director should retrieve the Department’s Dissertation Proposal Defense Results Form from the Graduate Student Services Office. Upon completion of the proposal defense, the Committee uses the departmental Dissertation Proposal Defense Results form to record the outcome of the defense: PASS (the student is ready to begin writing of the dissertation with the modifications agreed upon during the proposal defense); REWRITE (the student is not ready to begin writing the dissertation and must revise the proposal and defend the new version); or FAIL. When the student is required to rewrite the proposal, the committee must agree upon a date for the REEXAMINATION.
Upon successful completion of the dissertation proposal defense, the student proceeds to Stage III of doctoral study, assuming that all other program requirements have been fulfilled.
A Final Examination (also referred to as the "dissertation defense") evaluates a Ph.D. candidate's ability to conduct advanced research as demonstrated by a completed Ph.D. thesis. The Final Examination is conducted by the complete Dissertation Committee and is open to the public.
The standard procedures for Final Examination are as follows:
1. When the Dissertation Director has determined that the dissertation is nearing completion, the Director and student should consult with all committee members in order to determine a mutually agreeable defense date. When scheduling the defense (or the Final Examination), it should be kept in mind that the Dissertation Director must approve the final version of the dissertation before it can be distributed to committee members; and that a complete copy of the final version of the dissertation must be provided to all committee members at least 30 days (four weeks)—excluding Winter Break--before the scheduled defense. Some committee members may require more time for the reading and evaluation of the final version of the dissertation. Students should not expect to schedule the final examination to take place after the fall or spring semester has ended, or during University holidays or vacations.
2. Once a defense date has been set, the student and advisor should complete the relevant areas on the “Request to Schedule Ph.D. Exam,” available from the Department webpage. This form is used not only to record the composition of the dissertation committee, but also to indicate the date and time of defense and the thesis title. This form must be forwarded to the DGS, who reviews and signs it and forwards it to the SLCL Graduate Student Services Office for processing. It must be deposited in the Graduate Student Services Office at least 15 working days (three weeks) before the defense date in order for the final examination papers to arrive from the Graduate College on time. Note that although this form will have already been started at the written preliminary examination stage, updated for the Oral Exam (defense of the dissertation proposal) and kept on file in the Graduate Student Services Office, it will need to be completed once again with the new information for the Final Examination (the defense of the dissertation).
3. A minimum period of 2 hours is scheduled for the defense. On the day of the defense, the Dissertation Director retrieves the appropriate paperwork from the Graduate Student Services Office (3070 FLB). Upon completion of the defense, the Committee determines whether the candidate has successfully passed, must resubmit and defend the dissertation within 6 months, or fails the defense. The Committee completes and signs the Graduate College's Certificate of Result of Final Examination for the Doctoral Degree form, which is then forwarded to the Graduate College for recording. When the dissertation has been accepted by the Committee in final form, the committee members sign the three black-bordered forms, which remain in the student’s file in the Graduate Studies Office until the thesis is deposited.
It should be noted that a Ph.D. candidate must be registered during the term in which the final examination (dissertation defense) takes place, even in the rare case that the defense is held during the summer. Petitions for registration in absentia for the term in which the final examination is held will be accepted from students who have passed the preliminary examination, completed the credit requirement, and who have left campus and are making no use of University facilities. The Graduate College will ordinarily approve these petitions for students who fulfill all of the above conditions. For more information, see Section Chapter II C4 of the Graduate College Handbook.
7.0 RESEARCH PROJECTS
Because the use of human subjects in research is a privilege that should be carefully exercised, with proper regard for subject confidentiality, ethical practices, and regulatory oversight, each proposed project must be closely reviewed and then approved before the research is undertaken. All Spanish and Portuguese graduate students who propose to undertake research projects of any size or scope involving human subjects must consult with their advisor in the preparation of the project proposal. The advisor will then supervise the submission of a completed "IRB-1 Application for Use of Human Subjects in Research" or "IRB Exempt Application" well before the projected date to begin data collection (three weeks is a bare minimum).
The campus IRB website (http://www.irb.illinois.edu) provides information on the current forms and guidance on which form is appropriate for a given project.The application must include a description of the research, as well as copies of the consent form(s) and any measures to be used.
If the research involves data collection in the classroom, the researcher must obtain permission not only from the IRB (see 7.1 above), but also from the course director (Director of Introductory Spanish Language for SPAN 101/102/122/103), Director of Fourth Semester Spanish for SPAN 141/142, Director of Advanced Spanish Language for courses at the 200-level, Director of Undergraduate Studies for all other courses). In order to receive full consideration, requests should be made in writing by August 1 for data collection during the fall semester, by December 10 for data collection during the spring semester, and by May 5 for data collection during the summer sessions.
No student will be permitted to begin data collection until both IRB approval and permission from the Director or course supervisor have been granted.
The Spanish and Portuguese Lectures & Arrangements Committee sponsors faculty lectures and invites speakers from within and outside the University to address the Department, whether as part of their campus interviews for advertised positions, or simply as invited guests. These lectures provide Department members with an important opportunity to learn first-hand about scholarship and creative work in the profession as a whole, as well as to meet some very interesting people. Graduate students, in particular, are provided with models of professional lectures that may form an important part of their own professional training.
All graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend as many of these events as possible.
SPGO encourages all new and returning Spanish and Portuguese graduate students to contribute their time, interests and talents to the development of the Department.
9.1 Purpose and Structure
SPGO was formed for the purpose of representing the interests of our graduate students. SPGO is governed by a committee of graduate students from the Department. This governing committee consists of M.A. and Ph.D. students in Spanish and Portuguese in linguistics as well as literary/cultural studies. Every effort is made to assure proportional representation by language and program. The Department Head and the DGS regularly consult with the governing committee regarding curricula, policies, and other matters pertaining to graduate studies.
9.2 Elections and Procedures
Elections for the SPGO governing committee are directed by the outgoing committee, which solicits nominations for new governing committee members. All nominees' names are placed on a ballot according to their language and/or program. Candidates receiving the highest number of votes in each division are elected to the governing committee. When no candidate is nominated to represent a particular language or program, the candidate receiving the next highest number of votes is elected.
The SPGO governing committee facilitates the formation of special interest committees and the election of graduate students to faculty committees. Special interest committees address a wide variety of issues such as course selection and various department policies. Any graduate student in the Department may propose an issue to be addressed by a special interest committee. Whenever possible, a member of the governing committee will chair each special interest committee.
Some faculty committees rely on the participation of one or more graduate students. The SPGO governing committee facilitates the nomination of these graduate students to faculty committees. Qualified candidates' names are included on a ballot which is distributed to all Spanish and Portuguese graduate students for a vote.
The SPGO governing committee meets on an ad hoc basis, on the average of once per month. It calls general meetings of SPGO to discuss elections and committee formation, as well as other relevant issues. Special interest committees meet independently to address their particular concerns. The chair of each special interest committee then reports to the governing committee.
10.0 IMPORTANT DEADLINES AND DATES
M.A. exams in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures or in Portuguese: 2 consecutive Fridays after Spring Break
M.A. research paper (for M.A. in Spanish with Concentration in Spanish Linguistics): Due in SLCL Graduate Student Services by the second Friday after Spring Break
Application for internal admission to the Ph.D.: in early December, same as the priority deadline for external applicants (check Department Admissions website for exact date)
Dissertation Proposal Defense (the Oral Exam): Paperwork to schedule defense should be turned in to SLCL Graduate Student Services at least 15 working days (3 weeks) before the proposed defense date.
Please note that the final version of the proposal must be distributed to all committee members at least 10 working days (two weeks) before the proposed defense date.
Dissertation Defense (the Final Examination): Paperwork to schedule defense should be turned in to SLCL Graduate Student Services at least 15 working days (3 weeks) before the proposed defense date.
Please note that a finished copy of the final version of the dissertation, approved by the Dissertation Director, should be in the hands of all committee members at least 30 working days (one month) before the proposed defense date.
10.2 Department Deadlines for Submission of Graduate College and SLCL Grant and Fellowship applications
Exact deadlines will be announced via email and posted on the SLCL Graduate Student Services website (http://www.slcl.illinois.edu/internal/graduate/).
The following deadlines are approximate. Please note that Department deadlines may be several weeks earlier than those of the Graduate College to accommodate review at the Department and School levels.
September: Dissertation Travel Grant applications (Fall competition) and Conference Travel Grant applications (Fall competition)
February: Dissertation Travel Grant applications (Spring competition), SLCL Dissertation Completion Fellowship applications, Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship applications, Tinker Field Research Grant Competition for Graduate Student Research in Latin America, and Conference Travel Grant applications (Spring competition)
March: Graduate College Dissertation Completion Fellowship applications
Please see the latest Graduate College Academic Calendar
A P P E N D I X
Change of Advisor Form (online form)
Request to Schedule M.A. Examination [PDF]
Request to Schedule Ph.D. Exam [PDF]
Graduate College Conference Travel Application Form [PDF]
Most of the petitions at the Graduate College level can be filed online