The graduate program of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers course work and research supervision in all areas of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian literature, with related courses in linguistics, film and cultural studies, and theory. The department has close ties to a number of departments, as well as the Center for Latin American Studies, the program in Women's and Gender Studies, the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the Center for Second Language Studies, the Center for Teaching, and the Brazilian Studies Association (BRASA). The graduate faculty has a strong tradition of scholarly research and was ranked as the most productive in the country in 2007 by the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index.
The program accepts only students intending to pursue a doctorate. Two Ph.D. degrees are offered: Spanish and a combined degree in Spanish and Portuguese. In the course of doctoral studies, all students will earn an M.A. from Vanderbilt, either in Spanish or in Spanish and Portuguese, regardless of other M.A. degrees earned elsewhere.
The Ph.D. in Spanish requires 63 hours of course work, which includes the 30 hours of the M.A. in Spanish and 9 hours for a minor, normally Portuguese, an M.A. thesis, a Comprehensive Examination, a Qualifying Examination, and a dissertation. An interdisciplinary certificate program in Latino and Latina Studies, Latin American Studies or another approved program of courses from one or more departments may be used in lieu of a traditional minor. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of Portuguese by taking a graduate level class. (Another language may be approved by the DGS on a case-by-case basis.)
The combined Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese requires 66 hours of course work, which includes the 30 hours of the M.A. in Spanish and Portuguese, at least 15 further hours of course work in each of the two areas, an M.A. thesis, a Comprehensive Examination, a Qualifying Examination, and a dissertation. No minor is necessary. Near native proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese is required of all students enrolled in the combined program. There is no additional language requirement.