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.

Prospective students should see the program website for funding information.

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.

Doctoral Degrees


Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement

54 credits

Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement

51 credits

Minimum Graduate Coursework (50%) Requirement

In practice all doctoral coursework (with the exception of some language requirements or some doctoral minors) is designed exclusively for graduate students.  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 6 credits of graduate coursework from other institutions. coursework earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral 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 ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Credits per Term Allowed

15 credits

Program-Specific Courses Required

The minimum requirements are: nine credits in the major and six in each of the two supporting fields. Course credits earned in the M.A. program, with the exception of PORTUG 311 Fourth Year Composition and ConversationPORTUG 312 Fourth Year Composition and Conversation, PORTUG 330 History of the Portuguese Language, PORTUG 361 Portuguese CivilizationPORTUG 362 Brazilian Civilization, PORTUG 707 Portuguese M.A. Proseminar (the proseminar), and any transfer credits used to satisfy M.A. requirements, do satisfy the Ph.D. course requirements. A maximum of 3 credits of independent study (PORTUG 899 Independent Reading) in each of the areas of concentration may be used, with prior departmental approval, when corresponding courses are not offered in a timely fashion.

A minimum of six advanced courses (at least two must be seminars in the major) are required. At least four advanced courses are required beyond the M.A. One of these advanced courses may be taken outside the Portuguese program or transferred from another institution, with the adviser’s consent. The proseminar is for M.A. students only and does not count for doctoral credit.

Three credits of graduate coursework is the minimum requirement in literary theory.

A minimum of 18 credits must be taken as graduate seminars.

Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements

The doctoral candidate must present a minor in work done outside of Portuguese. The minor should be in an area related to the major field of interest. Requirements for the minor are established by the respective department. For a minor in Spanish, students should have a minimum of 12 credits at the 500 level or above. 3 of these credits must be taken as a seminar and 3, in consultation with the minor advisor, may also be taken as independent study.

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 Examinations

All Ph.D. candidates are required to take written and oral Ph.D. preliminary examinations (four written exams, one oral).

Time Constraints

Students are required to finish their doctoral dissertation within five years of the time they pass their Ph.D. preliminary examinations, unless they receive an extension.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for ten 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

Ph.D. students are required to demonstrate advanced proficiency —via specified sequences of language courses or via exam—in two languages other than Portuguese and English. These languages are generally selected from among the other Romance languages, Latin, Arabic and German, but may also include such languages as Turkish, Catalan, Galician, Maya, Nahuatl, Quichua, etc. Advanced proficiency is defined as six college semesters with a grade of B or better.

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 research problems, potentials, and limits with respect to theory, knowledge, or practice within the field of Luso-Brazilian literary/cultural studies, with a view to interdisciplinarity.
  • Formulates ideas, concepts, and theoretical approaches beyond the current boundaries of knowledge and practice within Luso-Brazilian literary/cultural studies.
  • Develops archival and/or bibliographic research skills or other evidence-gathering techniques with the aim of furthering historical and cultural knowledge of the specific field of inquiry.
  • Produces scholarship that makes a substantive contribution to Luso-Brazilian literary/cultural studies.
  • Demonstrates breadth within learning experiences.
  • Advances contributions of the field of study to society.

Professional Conduct

  • Fosters ethical and professional conduct.

Additional Learning Goals

  • Communicates complex ideas in both Portuguese and English in a clear and understandable manner, and demonstrates reading knowledge of two other languages pertinent to the field of inquiry.
  • Develops speaking and writing skills necessary for articulating cogent and original arguments that enter into conversation with new and existing critical paradigms in literary and cultural studies.

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)