Ph.D. Program

Tulane University is home to one of the country’s leading Ph.D. programs in Spanish and Portuguese. Our faculty consists of nationally and internationally recognized scholars and teachers in the literatures and cultures of Spain, Portugal, Spanish America, Brazil, and Lusophone Africa, in addition to linguistics. Tulane’s Howard-Tilton Library contains extensive holdings that support our respective fields, including the Latin American Library, one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States. Tulane is also home to the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, a renowned center of comparative and interdisciplinary study on Latin America, which has also been a generous source of research support for Tulane graduate students.

The goal of the Ph.D. program is to prepare students to become scholars and teachers of the highest quality. Together with coursework, graduate students participate in an extensive teaching and pedagogy development, which entails taking a course in modern language pedagogy and teaching at most one course per semester in the department’s basic language and literature curriculum. Additionally, the department offers a yearly course on grant writing, the academic job market, and other key topics of professional development. Our Ph.D.’s have consistently obtained tenure-track appointments at leading colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.

All students in the graduate program receive a tuition waiver and four or five years of stipend support ($22,744 in AY 2018-2019). For students entering the program without an M.A., five years of funding is granted; after year one those students teach one course per semester. Students who begin the program with an outside M.A. receive four years of funding and teach one course per semester. All students are eligible for a full dissertation writing fellowship in their final year of study.


  • Course work: 17 courses in total (51 credits), including SPAN 6010 (Methods of Teaching) and 4 7000-level seminars, including SPAN 7960 (Special Projects). A select number of courses may be taken outside the department, with permission of the faculty.
  • M.A. comprehensive exam: Based on reading lists in four areas (Medieval and Early Modern Iberian; Modern Spanish Peninsular; Colonial and 19th-Century Latin American; Contemporary Latin American)
  • Reading proficiency in two foreign languages in addition to the language of specialization
  • Ph.D. qualifying exam: Based on customized reading lists in one major area of specialization and two minor areas
  • Dissertation prospectus
  • Dissertation and final defense

For further information on the expectations of the program, see the Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Student Handbook.


Applications are made online through the Office of Graduate Programs of Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts. The annual application deadline is January 10. The following are required: complete application form, TOEFL scores for foreign students, academic transcripts, statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation (in English, Spanish, or Portuguese). In addition to the materials required by the School of Liberal Arts, applicants must submit a sample of academic writing in Spanish or Portuguese.

See also, the Department's page on Frequently Asked Questions about graduate admission. Additional questions may be directed to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

We look forward to your application!

Revised: October 2020