PhD in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers a Ph.D. major in Luso-Brazilian and Hispanic American Cultural and Literary Studies.

This PhD concentration in Luso-Brazilian and Hispanic American Cultural and Literary Studies consists of 9 units in Luso-Brazilian studies and 9 units in Hispanic American studies, in addition to 6 units in each of two distinct secondary areas, and 18 units of electives.  Students majoring in Luso-Brazilian and Hispanic American Cultural and Literary Studies will write a dissertation which includes at least one author, genre or literary period from Brazil, and at least one from Hispanic America.

A fully staffed faculty in Portuguese and Spanish, in addition to an already established graduate curriculum, provide the students with a broad and solid comparative perspective of the literary and cultural production in Latin America.

This track responds to the current job market's need for Latin Americanists able to teach Portuguese and Brazilian literature in addition to Spanish and Hispanic-American literature.


Lusophone Research

Faculty in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese carries out research in literature, cultural studies, and linguistics.  

Professor Kátia Bezerra‘s current research focuses on the cultural production by marginalized groups in the Lusophone world in order to analyze how they develop new ways of thinking and conceptualizing the city, producing new cartographies. 

Professor Ana M. Carvalho works with issues related to Portuguese and Spanish Linguistics. Her research interests include language variation and change, bilingualism, and language contact, with an emphasis on the contact between Portuguese and Spanish.  

Professor Melissa A. Fitch's scholarship has been focused on forging a new path of inquiry within Latin American cultural studies that situates the region within its global context. An increasingly important dimension of this research assesses the role that digital technologies have played in changing the ways in which Latin American culture, including Brazilian, is understood around the world.  


The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is involved in numerous publication endeavors in fields relating to Luso-Brazilian and Hispanic American literary studies including The Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies and Studies in Latin American Popular Culture.  

The Department has also hosted the Symposium on Portuguese for Spanish Speakers, and maintains a large and solid Portuguese Language Program. In addition, the Brazil Study Group, an interdisciplinary group of several scholars doing research in Brazil from numerous perspectives, sponsors guest-speakers, workshops, and several other academic activities related to Brazil.  

The Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona is a Title VI National Resource Center, which allows funding for Foreign Language Area Scholarships (FLAS). The FLAS fellowships support eight graduate students from across the University of Arizona to study Portuguese and Latin America during the academic year and at least six students for Portuguese and Indigenous language studies for summer fellowships.   



The applicant must hold, or anticipate completing by the time of admission, an M.A. degree from an accredited U.S. college or university or the equivalent degree from a university outside the U.S., have a minimum grade point average of 3.4 on a 4-point scale in the M.A. in Spanish, and meet the general requirements of the Graduate College.

Procedure for consideration

External M.A. candidates
See Application Checklist

Internal M.A. candidates

For admission to the Ph.D. program all internal M.A. candidates who wish to continue for the Ph.D. at the University of Arizona will be considered by the Graduate Studies Committee to ensure equitable treatment for all students. In their deliberations, the Graduate Studies Committee will give strong consideration to the report of the student's M.A examination committee, which specifically addresses the student's potential as a Ph.D. candidate. The Graduate Studies Committee will also consider the student's academic record (GPA, course work) and any pertinent information from the student's file. The student must also provide the following:

  • Three letters of reference, at least one of which must be from a professor who did not serve on the student's M.A. examination committee
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of purpose written in Spanish by the student
  • A Writing Sample in Spanish
  • Graduate College Online Application

This procedure will ensure that each student will be considered fully and fairly. Admittance into the program will not be solely dependent upon performance on an isolated examination. In addition, this process closely parallels that followed by all other incoming Ph.D. candidates. (approved by unanimous vote of the faculty 5/4/95)

Upon entering the Ph.D. program, the student establishes his/her degree study program in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies.  The student must complete the following:

  • (1) A diagnostic qualifying oral interview during the first semester of study.
  • (2) 51 graduate units of course work (up to 15 units of course work may be transferred from the M.A.).  A minimum of six units must be 600-level seminars.
  • (3) Present reading knowledge of one foreign language, other than English or Spanish, appropriate to the field of specialization (see page 13 for detailed information regarding the foreign language requirement).
  • (4) Pass a comprehensive examination, partly written and partly oral, which will include primary and secondary areas within the declared major field of study.
  • (5) Complete 18 doctoral dissertation units, write and defend a dissertation.

In addition, all Graduate Associates Appointments (GAs) in Spanish and Portuguese are required to complete a language teaching methodology course (SPAN-581A) before or during their first semester of classroom teaching.  This course counts as one of the student’s electives for the Ph.D.


Related Faculty

Dr. Melissa A. Fitch (Ph.D. 1995 ASU) holds the rank of University DIstinguished Professor, and is a second-generation Mexican-American who was born in Los Angeles and raised in the city of San Francisco. She is the Faculty Fellow for the...
Publications Books: Reading Inebriation in Early Colonial Peru. 2nd Ed. New York: Routledge, 2016. Regina Harrison, "Mónica P. Morales. Reading Inebriation in Early Colonial Peru," Renaissance Quarterly 67, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 685-687. https...