The degrees offered are the master of arts in Portuguese and the doctor of philosophy with a major in Portuguese. In addition, the department offers a doctoral minor in Spanish or Portuguese, consisting of 12 credits of graduate study.

An integrated curriculum in Portuguese languages, literatures, and linguistics provides training at the master's and Ph.D. levels and assures that graduates are prepared to contribute as professionals in the fields of teaching and research. An active program of research contributes to new knowledge in Spanish and Portuguese. A comprehensive group of courses is offered in rotation during the academic year so that candidates may take courses in all fields. Classes are conducted in Portuguese.

The department's graduate program in Portuguese is consistently among the finest in the country. Twenty to twenty-five teaching assistantships are offered each year to graduate candidates in Spanish and Portuguese. A full complement of courses in Portuguese, Brazilian, and Luso-African literatures, culture, and linguistics is offered on a regular basis.

Fellowships, scholarships, teaching assistantships, and project assistantships are available to qualified graduate degree candidates.

Students pursuing advanced degrees in this department are advised to include in their training work in other languages and literatures, art, social sciences, linguistics, film studies, and philosophy. A knowledge of other languages is strongly recommended for advanced work in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian fields.

Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress

To make progress toward a graduate degree, students must meet the Graduate School Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress in addition to the requirements of the program.

Master’s Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

31 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

25 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

It is rare for student not to take 100% of their credits in graduate coursework.  At least half of the required coursework must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.

Prior Coursework Requirements: Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from undergraduate courses from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree, but students who have taken graduate level courses are allowed to petition with their advisor’s consent up to a maximum of 7 credits.

Prior Coursework Requirements: UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 6 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

One-credit proseminar (PORTUG 707 Portuguese M.A. Proseminar); 15 credits in the form of five 3-credit core courses taken among the following:

PORTUG 411 Survey of Portuguese Literature before 18253
PORTUG 412 Survey of Brazilian Literature before 18903
PORTUG 467 Survey of Portuguese Literature since 18253
PORTUG 468 Survey of Brazilian Literature since 18903
PORTUG/​AFRICAN  451 Lusophone African Literature3
PORTUG 361 Portuguese Civilization3
PORTUG 362 Brazilian Civilization3
PORTUG 330 History of the Portuguese Language3

Fifteen credits of electives are required. Six of these elective credits must be taken as seminars. PORTUG 899 Independent Reading may only satisfy elective credits. Students are strongly advised not to take a seminar in an area in which they have no previous preparation. Exceptions by consent of instructor.

All graduate students who are candidates for an M.A. degree in this department must take a minimum of two graduate-level courses in Spanish and/or Portuguese for credit each semester, exclusive of Independent Reading courses and audited courses.

Overall Graduate GPA Requirement

3.00 GPA required.

Other Grade Requirements

No other grade requirements.

Probation Policy

Satisfactory progress depends on: maintaining a GPA of at least 3.0, adhering to the rule whereby students must take two courses within the department (or have the rule waived by petition), and fulfilling all academic requirements. Students who are not in good standing will not be given sections to teach as TAs, and those whose GPA goes below 3.0 are put on academic probation. If a semester of 3.0 is not attained during the subsequent semester, the student may be dismissed from the program.

Advisor / Committee

All students have a substantial meeting with their advisers every semester to review their progress and work out the best strategies for future coursework and degree progress.

Assessments and Examination

An M.A./Ph.D. examination is required.

Time Constraints

The M.A./P.hD. qualifying exam is taken in the fourth or fifth semester of the M.A. program, very rarely beyond that.

Master’s degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence. Individual programs may count the coursework students completed prior to their absence for meeting program requirements; that coursework may not count toward Graduate School credit requirements.

Language Requirements

No language requirements beyond English and Portuguese.

Admission to candidacy for the master's degree presupposes an undergraduate major in Spanish or Portuguese at UW–Madison or its equivalent. Candidates entering with a B.A. in Spanish or Portuguese must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), and a GPA in Spanish or Portuguese courses of at least 3.25.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Articulates, critiques, and elaborates the theories, methods, terminology and approaches to inquiry in Luso-Brazilian literary studies.
  • Identifies and pursues promising avenues of inquiry, finds and makes use of appropriate bibliography, analyzes literary or other cultural works, and develops speaking and writing skills.
  • Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of Luso-Brazilian literatures in a historical, sociocultural and global context.
  • Evaluates or synthesizes information pertaining to questions or challenges in the field of study.
  • Communicates fluently and clearly in Portuguese in ways appropriate to the field of study.

Professional Conduct

  • Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.

Spanish Faculty: Professors Beilin (modern Spanish literature), Bilbija (modern Spanish American literature), Close (modern Spanish American/trans-Atlantic literature), Corfis (medieval Spanish literature), De Ferrari (modern Spanish American literature), Egea (modern Spanish literature), Frantzen (second language acquisition and linguistics), Hildner (Golden Age literature), Hutchinson (Golden Age literature), Medina (modern Spanish American literature), Podestá (colonial Spanish American literature); Associate Professors Alcalá-Galán (Golden Age literature), Ancos-García (medieval Spanish literature), Goldgel-Carballo (colonial Spanish American literature), Hernández (modern Spanish American literature), Pellegrini (modern Spanish American literature), Rao (Spanish linguistics), Stafford (second language acquisition and linguistics), Tejedo-Herrero (Spanish linguistics); Assistant Professors Armstrong (Spanish linguistics), Cerezo Paredes (modern Spanish literature), Comparone (modern Spanish literature)

Portuguese Faculty: Professors Albuquerque (Brazilian literature and culture), Madureira (Portuguese, Brazilian, and Luso-African literature and culture), Sapega (Portuguese and Luso-African literature and culture); and Sanchez (Portuguese and Brazilian literature and culture)