The Ph.D. program in Spanish & Portuguese at UCLA offers an exciting and challenging education in research, writing, and teaching. The department supports a range of critical and theoretical approaches, and encourages interdisciplinary work that takes advantage of UCLA’s many strengths across numerous disciplines. Students take a broad distribution of courses in culture, film, linguistics, and literature, followed by a rigorous specialization in their chosen field. Alongside Spanish and Portuguese, graduate students have the unique opportunity to study indigenous languages such as Nahuatl, Quechua, and Zapotec. All students are trained in pedagogy and teach a variety of undergraduate courses in language, literature, and culture; several have received university-wide Distinguished Teaching Awards over the past few years. We work closely with students, mentoring them from their acceptance into the program until their job placement. Recent placements include Columbia University, CSU-Northridge, Queens College CUNY, Rice University, the University of Iowa, the University of West Virginia, Kings College London, the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and the Universidad de Valparaíso. Newly-minted PhDs are currently eligible to apply for a one-year faculty fellowship in the department, which offers the opportunity of teaching a course in their specialized field.
Our faculty covers a broad spectrum of academic fields. We have a distinguished program in Portuguese, ranging from colonial to film studies, and a strong Linguistics section. Early modern studies is an interdisciplinary, transatlantic field, with strong ties to the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. The Centro de Estudios Coloniales Iberoamericanos (CECI) sponsors projects, colloquia, and publications with active participation of our graduate students. Our Peninsular studies faculty cover such areas in their research and teaching as nation-building, gender theory, literary and cultural studies, and new media. Our Latin American section, with support from the vibrant UCLA Latin American Institute, has strengths throughout the region in literature and film: in the Southern Cone, Mexico, the Andean region, and the Caribbean. Our linguistics section focuses on formal linguistics and on the development and the sociolinguistic situation of the Spanish language in the Americas and in the US. For that purpose has founded recently the Centro de Estudios del Español de Estados Unidos (CEEEUS), where students do research and discuss issues related with the situation of the Spanish language in the US. Our faculty also works closely with other departments on campus to expose our students to other approaches and disciplines, through joint appointments, cross-listed courses, and co-sponsored talks, especially with Anthropology, Art History, Chicana/o Studies, Comparative Literature, Digital Humanities, English, French and Francophone studies, History, Linguistics, Sociology and Women’s Studies. Interdisciplinary research groups such as the Caribbean Working Group have been instrumental in emphasizing the importance of collaborative and comparative approaches to international area studies.
The department is also committed to showcasing new scholarly approaches to the discipline, and to creating a space for exhibiting and discussing new cultural productions. The Critical Luso-Hispanisms series has brought a number of distinguished visitors from other top research universities to campus, to deliver public talks but also to hold special seminars for our graduate students. The Lectures & Symposia Committee ensures that we maintain a dynamic speaker series each year, covering all of our major fields. Over the past few years, we have also sponsored several international film series, as well as symposia on subjects such as Spanish Civil War documentaries, the cultures and politics of memory and human rights in post-dictatorship Argentina, the poetics of literary translation, and international art/photo and research library exhibits. Each year the department sponsors a Distinguished Alumni Lecture and the prestigious Matthews Lecture, and frequently hosts renowned visitors for short periods as Regents Lecturers. Among the distinguished writers and filmmakers who have recently visited our department are Karim Ainouz, Ron Arias, Montse Armengou, Bruno Barreto, Luiz Fernando Carvalho, María Amparo Escandón, Clayton Eshleman, Alberto Fuguet, C.M. Hardt, Lucrecia Martel, Elena Poniatowska, Sergio Ramírez, Ana Rossetti, Günter Schwaiger, and Raúl Zurita.
Our graduate students are particularly active in organizing events and series within the department. The Motus Sodalis series showcases works-in-progress by our own students; the Annual Graduate Student Conference, which grows in size and ambition with each year, brings in graduate students from across the country. The graduate-run journal, Mester, is indexed in the MLA bibliography, and has recently placed its archive online; it provides students with invaluable experience as editors and reviewers, and also offers space for in-depth interviews with visiting speakers. The graduate students have also published several issues of an experimental creative journal, Párrafo. The Graduate Students’ Association organizes a wealth of cultural events throughout the year, and is represented at all regular department meetings and on departmental committees. Finally, for a sense of the work being done by graduate students in the department, click here for a list of recent and current dissertation titles.
We hope you will contact us with any questions you may have; we would be delighted to tell you more about our program.