Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Select a major field in Latin American Studies and two supporting fields designated as the first minor and the second minor.

Complete a minimum of 30 hours beyond the MA, not including credit for dissertation, divided among the major field and two supporting fields. Students are encouraged to enroll in organized classes but are not restricted to any specific number of conference courses.

  • 15 hours in major (not including MA)
  • 9 hours in first minor (not including MA)
  • 6 hours in second minor (not including MA)
  • 30 hours beyond MA minimum

Including appropriate MA coursework, at least 24 hours must be within the major, 15 within the first minor, and 12 within the second minor. Of these, at least 15 within the major, 9 within the first minor, and 6 within the second minor must be Latin American content or related courses.

Within the major field, students must acquire competence in the theories and in the methods of research demanded for pursuing the PhD in that department. The program committee may also require the student to take all or some of the core courses required of PhD students in that discipline. Within the minor fields, students must demonstrate at least minimal competence in theories and methods of research in those areas. With the approval of the program committee, a student may substitute methodology for a substantive second minor.

Dissertation Supervisor and Exam Committee

At the end of the first year in the PhD program, each student must select a dissertation supervisor and form an exam committee. The exam committee must consist of three members of the Latin American Studies GSC, and will form the core of the final dissertation committee. The chair of the committee will be the dissertation supervisor. Formal notification of exam committee formation must be submitted to the graduate coordinator during the third long semester in which the student is enrolled in the PhD program. The student's letter of notification should specify the membership and chair of the examination committee, as well as brief notes from each member indicating their agreement to serve.

Language Proficiency

Before admission to candidacy, the student must demonstrate a high level of competence in reading and speaking either Spanish or Portuguese; he/she must also be able to read the second language. Reading in a language other than Spanish or Portuguese, appropriate for the program, may be required.


Written qualifying examinations in three fields—two theoretical and one geographic—will be administered no later than one semester past the completion of coursework. The dissertation committee will construct the examinations. Responsibility for scheduling the examinations rests with the student and the program committee.

The Dissertation

The dissertation must be interdisciplinary, that is, it must integrate materials from the three fields. The student will submit a research proposal for the dissertation to the dissertation committee after the administration of qualifying examinations. The dissertation committee will conduct an oral examination on the proposal, which the student must pass to advance to candidacy. The dissertation proposal must be successfully defended no later than one semester past completion of the qualifying exams.

Admission to Candidacy

The student is eligible to be advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the following LLILAS requirements:

  1. required course hours
  2. qualifying examination
  3. language proficiency demonstration
  4. an approved dissertation proposal
  5. approval of candidacy papers by the graduate dean

The Dissertation Committee

The five-member committee will guide and assist the student in his/her research and conduct an oral examination on the dissertation upon its completion. The dissertation should be completed by 3 years after admission to candidacy. If a student fails to meet this deadline, the GSC will be obliged to petition the Graduate School for an extension, and the student will be subject to yearly reviews at which time the committee will consider whether or not to terminate the candidacy.

Professional Placement

A professional placement must be completed before the final year of study. Placements are typically done during the summer semester, arranged by the student, and approved by the graduate adviser.

  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712