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PhD Program

Doctor of Philosophy in Latin American Studies Curriculum 

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The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Latin American Studies is awarded for mastery of a body of literature and for the production of imaginative and original research. A student may enter the program (1) progressing from the MA program in Latin American Studies at Tulane, (2) transferring to the program with an MA conferred by another Tulane department, or (3) directly applying to the program with an MA or professional degree awarded by another university. All three paths require submitting a completed application to the PhD program through the online application portal managed by the School of Liberal Arts.

Each semester doctoral students normally enroll in three classes and teach one class. By university regulations, students are allowed to enroll in a minimum of two courses while they serve as Graduate Student Instructors (GSI). 

Students also begin preparation for general comprehensive examinations, which are given during students’ last semester of classes and should be taken no later than the first semester after the completion of all coursework requirements. These exams are normally scheduled in October or March. 

Upon satisfying the coursework and language requirements and completing the general exams, students begin research for the dissertation, presenting a formal prospectus for faculty approval. Once approved they can apply for admittance to candidacy for the doctoral degree and commence formal work on the dissertation, which must demonstrate their ability to carry out an original investigation in the field of Latin American Studies. Degrees are conferred only after the dissertation is approved in a formal defense before a faculty committee. 

Coursework and Distribution Requirements 

The minimum coursework requirement for the PhD is 54 credit hours. Portions of this requirement are often satisfied by credit awarded for academic work completed in fulfilling requirements for the MA degree with thesis. 

Students with an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane may transfer up to 30 credits of relevant work from their MA program, while students transferring from other departments at Tulane or applying with graduate credit from other universities may transfer no more than 12 hours of relevant work. 

General requirements for the PhD degree are: 

  • Thirty semester hours in the primary concentration, including a minimum of six semester hours in theory, methodology, and pedagogy. Students transferring to the Stone Center from other programs must take the Latin American Studies Core Seminar in their first fall semester to satisfy three hours of the theory and methodology requirement. And all PhD students must take the required Pedagogy and Professional Development course in the spring semester before the academic year in which they are scheduled to teach the LAST 1010 course for the first time. Of the thirty semester hours in the primary concentration, twelve hours or four courses should be at the 7000 level when possible; and no more than nine hours or three courses can be independent study. 
  • Twelve semester hours in a first supporting concentration; six of these hours, when possible, should be at the 7000 level. 
  • Twelve semester hours in a second supporting concentration; six of these hours, when possible, should be at the 7000 level. 
  • A demonstrated knowledge of at least two languages, including Spanish or Portuguese. 
  • The successful completion of three general preliminary examinations in the primary and supporting concentrations. 
  • The successful defense of a dissertation prospectus. 
  • The successful completion and defense of the dissertation. 

The Graduate Student Handbook offers detailed information on PhD concentrations, language requirements, transfers of credit, examinations, dissertations, teaching assistantships and service. Consult the Handbook on the Graduate Student Resources page.

Timetables for Doctoral Study

Actual timetables are often different from that suggested below, which are given strictly for purposes of example. Presented below are two possible scenarios—one for a student graduating with an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane and another for a student transferring with an MA degree from another department or university. The first scenario assumes that the student is eligible for and receives 30 hours of transfer credit; the second that the student is eligible for and receives 12 hours of transfer credit. Both scenarios also assume that these students take only the minimum course requirement of two per semester, when most students take three, and that the dissertation is completed and defended in one year. 

Upon beginning the doctoral program, all students should consult with the Stone Center Graduate Advisor, their Dissertation Directors, and, once appointed, their Examination Committees to develop their own timetables. These projected plans of study and research will then be updated and adapted at each successive advising meeting with the Graduate Advisor to ensure the timely completion of doctoral requirements. 

Tenure for a student in the PhD program in seven years, with the possible extension of this tenure for up to an additional three years under extraordinary circumstances. Please consult the section in the Graduate Student Handbook on “Additional Policies and Procedures” for more details on the subject of program tenure.

Consult our PhD Program Timeline for more information.