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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does the Department of Spanish and Portuguese offer financial aid to graduate students?

Yes, we offer financial aid to all the students that we admit to our graduate program, either as a TA (Teaching Assistant), an AI (Assistant Instructor), or a scholarship or fellowship.

2. Do I need to fill out a separate application to request financial aid?

No, your application to the department is also your application for financial aid.

3. What makes me a strong candidate?

There is not one specific item in your application that determines whether you will be admitted, the Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews all application materials as part of their evaluation.

4. What documents do I need to submit to the department as part of my application?

We require hard copies of:

  • The Application to the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • Statement of purpose, in English. One or two pages long.
  • Transcripts (may be copies, not necessarily originals). If you are an international student, we require an official (certified) translation of your transcripts from universities outside of the United States. If you are a U.S. student and have studied abroad, we also require certified translations of your studies in foreign universities.
  • GRE scores.
  • TOEFL scores (international students only. If you are an international student with a Bachelor's degree from an English-Speaking university, you are not required to send TOEFL scores.
  • Writing sample. In Spanish or Portuguese.

5. Do my recommenders need to submit a hard copy of their letters?

To the department Yes, they do need to submit hard copies of their letters accompanied by the Request for Reference form. For GIAC, you must enter their information on your ApplyTexas online application, and your recommenders will receive an email from the Graduate and International Admissions Center (GIAC). At that point they may submit their letters of recommendation through the link provided in the email.

6. How long should the statement of purpose be?

It should be 750 to 1,000 words long; in English.  Be sure to include:

  • Your academic background.
  • Your plan of study within the program, to the best of your current knowledge.
  • Any experience (work, travel, etc.) outside of academia that may have helped prepare you for this course of study.
  • Your plan and goals upon completion of the degree.

7. What kind of writing sample should I send?

The writing sample should be written in Spanish or Portuguese; it can be a good term paper, a paper you presented at a conference, an article, or any publication that you may have.  The writing sample should be at least 15 pages long and at most 30 pages (double spaced). Please do not send books.

8. Do students who are admitted to the PhD program with a Master’s degree from another institution need to take a qualifying exam?

No, students who enter the PhD program with a Master’s degree from another institution will be evaluated by the faculty with whom they take classes during their first academic year. Depending on these evaluations the Executive Committee of the Graduate Studies Committee will notify each student if they may continue in the PhD program.

9. Do I need to be fluent in Portuguese to be admitted to the program?

No, not necessarily. You may fulfill your language requirement while in the program.

10. What can I expect after I have submitted all my application materials?

The Admissions Committee will review all application files and make admission decisions in January. You will be notified by late February or early March.

11. How do I pay for tuition?

Tuition for graduate students is not paid automatically by UT. At the beginning of each semester 75% of your tuition assistance is automatically credited to your tuition bill, but in order to complete your appointment as a TA or AI you first need to pay the balance of the tuition that is not covered by this assistance. You may do so by applying for a tuition loan at the beginning of each semester. The amount required will vary depending on the final cost of tuition each semester, but for 2010 the cost of 9 credits was $3,752 per semester and graduate student tuition assistance was $3,784 per semester regardless of how many credits one takes.  After the 75% credit is applied you are responsible for paying around $900 before the beginning of the semester. The remaining 25% is dispersed after the semester begins. For more information please see the Graduate School Student Employment webpage.


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