General Entrance Requirements

To qualify for graduate work in the department, the candidate must show evidence of a comprehensive knowledge of Spanish and/or Luso-Brazilian literature and/or culture and basic competence, written and oral, in the target language. A broad training in the humanities is advantageous.

A 15-25 page essay on any literary and/or cultural topic, written in Spanish or Portuguese, must accompany the student's application for admission.

Please visit the Graduate School website for complete information regarding application and admission.

By the end of the second year of graduate study (fourth semester), all students must demonstrate reading proficiency in one foreign language that is relevant to the student's field of specialization. Students are urged to fulfill this requirement in the first year of residence. The language requirement must be satisfied in order for the student to be authorized to take the general examination.  In addition, students specializing in Hispanic literature and culture are required to take at least one 500-level Portuguese course and, likewise, students focusing on Luso-Brazilian topics are expected to take at least one 500-level Spanish course.

Academic Requirements

  • A total of at least 15 course units at the graduate level (14 for letter grade credit, and one that may be an audit in the third year) 
  • Two to three course units in graduate courses other than Spanish and Portuguese (with an absolute maximum of five), usually in an allied field pertinent to the student's area of specialization
  • A foreign language reading proficiency examination
  • An oral presentation in the first year
  • A comprehensive general examination
  • A completed doctoral dissertation and its oral public defense

Please visit the Graduate School website for complete information about Princeton University's degree requirements.


Year One

Students take three courses per semester and a seminar on Methodology of Language Teaching. In May they prepare and deliver an Oral Presentation to the faculty.

Year Two

Students take three courses per semester. They teach five hours per week of a language course during the fall semester. They do not teach in the spring so that full attention can be devoted to the preparation for Part I of the General Examination by the end of April.

Year Three

Students will submit Part II of the General Examination in January. In the fall semester, students take one or two courses, one of which may be audited. Third year students will be permitted to take one of the last two required seminars in the spring semester of the third year, if they wish to do so. This is the first year of intensive dissertation research and writing. In this year, students are expected to teach six hours per week in the Fall semester. In addition, opportunities exist for travel abroad in connection with dissertation research. PhD proposals will be defended at the end of the Spring semester.

Year Four

During this year students continue progress on the research and writing of the dissertation. They are expected to teach six hours per week in the Fall semester. At least one full-reviewed chapter is expected for re-enrollment.

Year Five

Students are expected to complete the dissertation and to present it in a final public defense. At least two full-reviewed chapters are expected for any potential re-enrollment.