Doctor of Philosophy in Romance Languages

Department Requirements

All PhD candidates must take one research-related course in either

  • General Literary Theory
  • Linguistic Research Methodology

These courses need not be language-specific or area of study-specific; they can be general and inclusive of all literatures and languages.

In addition to the above area of study-specific requirements, all doctoral candidates, regardless of the language or area selected, must adhere to the following:

  • The minimal formal coursework required is 60 semester hours.
    • Up to 30 hours of transferred credits earned at another institution
    • Students who have completed a master’s thesis need to accumulate only 54 hours of coursework.
  • At the conclusion of the coursework, before work on the dissertation itself can begin, a preliminary examination must first take place, leading to the creation of an acceptable dissertation prospectus, as described in the PhD Exam Structure.
  • Once all coursework is completed, an additional 24 hours of dissertation research are required.
  • All doctoral candidates must possess reading knowledge of one language in addition to English, their native language, and their language of specialization.

It is strongly recommended that, before the termination of studies, all doctoral candidates reside for a period in a country or location requiring constant interaction in the language of specialization.

All new graduate teaching assistants in French must take FR 512 (teaching practicum). All new graduate teaching assistants in Spanish must take SP 502 (teaching practicum).

Romance Languages Areas of Study

Candidates for the Romance languages concentration will be allowed to tailor their programs individually, with the advice of a Graduate Advisor. The goal will be to meet the interests and career requirements of the candidate by utilizing the full resources of the department and of cognate graduate programs offered by the University. Regardless of the area of study, all new graduate teaching assistants must enroll for the Practicum in Applied Linguistics (either FR 512 or SP 502). For specifics related to the programs incorporating French, please consult the degree requirements, detailed below. Students choosing this option may pursue one of the following configurations:

(1) Area of study in French and Spanish, with an accumulation of 30 hours of coursework in each, including up to 30 transferred hours. However, a maximum of 18 hours in either language (French or Spanish) can be transferred from a prior MA to satisfy requirements towards either major in the area of study of the Romance Languages of the Ph.D.

(2) Area of study in French, with 18-hours in the other language or in an allied discipline.  A variety of combinations are possible, depending upon the student’s needs, and limited only by his or her qualifications and the cooperation of other faculties. Possible customized programs can be made to incorporate combinations of coursework in another language, linguistics, applied linguistics, Italian studies, history, women studies, English, or other areas as approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.  The curriculum for a French area of study must include coursework in at least four of the following fields:

  • Medieval and Renaissance
  • Early modern (17th and 18th centuries)
  • 19th century
  • 20th and 21st centuries
  • Francophone and French studies
  • French linguistics

(3) Area of study in French (or Spanish), with a 30-hour area of study in Linguistics. In consultation with a Graduate Advisor, available linguistics coursework can be selected from the departments of Modern Languages and Classics, English, Anthropology, and Communicative Disorders, as well as from the College of Education.

PhD Exam Structure

MLC Dissertation Completion Timeline and Recommendations


For more information, submit a request to or by using the QR code below. For further information, visit the Graduate Catalog or contact Dr. Alicia Cipria, Director of Graduate Studies at

View a complete list of degrees and programs in the academic program directory.

Download our 2023–2024 Graduate Program Flyer (PDF)