Spanish Linguistics, PHD

At a Glance: program details

Receive solid academic preparation, intensive professional development opportunities, and strong pedagogical training and teaching experiences.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: PHD Spanish Linguistics

The PhD program in Spanish linguistics offers advanced interdisciplinary graduate training that combines key areas in second language acquisition and teaching, applied linguistics, heritage language research and pedagogy, sociolinguistics and bilingualism. With the supportive guidance from their advisor, students are well prepared for a productive career in the discipline of Hispanic studies.

Focus Areas

Spanish heritage studies and sociolinguistics: Advanced interdisciplinary graduate training that combines key areas in Spanish heritage language research and pedagogy, bilingualism and Spanish sociolinguistics

Second language acquisition and teaching: Advanced interdisciplinary graduate training that combines key areas in second language acquisition and teaching, applied linguistics, heritage language pedagogy and language program administration.

Courses and Electives

The coursework for each student is individualized and based upon the student's previous training, research goals and mentor and committee consensus. Our research-heavy program requires students to complete a written comprehensive exam, prospectus and dissertation.

Meet the faculty


The 84-hour program of study includes a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus, and a dissertation. Prospective doctoral candidates should have a passion and interest in Spanish linguistics.

Degree requirements Credit hours
Core course 3
Track courses 9
Other required courses 19
Electives or research  41
Dissertation 12
Total credit hours 84


Under-represented minorities


Students in PhD programs


International students

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 84 credit hours, a foreign language exam, a written comprehensive exam, a prospectus and a dissertation

Required Core (3 credit hours)
SPA 543 Structure of Spanish (3)

Track (9 credit hours)

Electives or Research (41 credit hours)

Other Requirements (19 credit hours)
COE 502 Introduction to Data Analysis (3)
GRD 791 Seminar: Preparing Future Faculty and Scholars (PFx) (1)
SPA 544 Spanish Phonology (3)
SPA 546 Heritage Language Pedagogy (3)
SPA 598 Topic: Research Methods for Linguists (3)
SPA 598 Topic: Sociolinguistics (3)
SPA 598 Topic: Spanish Second Language Acquisition (3)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
SPA 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students choose from two available tracks: Spanish heritage studies and sociolinguistics, or second language acquisition and teaching. Students should see the academic unit for the approved course list for each track.

Each candidate is expected to demonstrate a reading knowledge of one language other than English and Spanish. This language requirement must be satisfied before the candidate is eligible to take the comprehensive examination.

Other requirement courses may be substituted with approval of the academic unit.

When approved by the student's supervisory committee and the Graduate College, this program allows 30 credit hours from a previously awarded master's degree to be used toward this degree. If students do not have a previously awarded master's degree, the 30 credit hours of coursework is made up of electives or research to reach the required 84 credit hours.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in Spanish or a related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.75 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants are required to submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. two letters of recommendation
  4. written statement
  5. professional resume
  6. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

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Application Deadlines



Session A/C
In Person
January 15th

Career Opportunities

The doctoral program in Spanish linguistics prepares students for entrance into an academic profession (teacher, scholar) as well as for a profession outside of academia. Professionals with the valued skills developed through this degree program can confidently move into business, diplomatic, government and international fields.

Career examples include:

  • editors
  • foreign language and linguistics teachers and professors
  • instructional design coordinators
  • interpreters and translators
  • lawyers
  • reporters and correspondents
  • social and community service managers
  • teachers and professors of area, ethnic and cultural studies

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.

Application fee waiver

Applicants facing financial hardship may request a waiver for their application fee. Please complete the online application up to the fee payment page. Please send both Ashley Lawless ( and Xiaoqiao Ling ( a brief essay (about 150 words) describing why paying the application fee is difficult in your situation, along with your application ID number. If your request is accepted, we will let you know that you can submit your application without paying the fee. The School of International Letters and Cultures has established a limited budget for these waivers. Requests will be considered as they are received until the budget is spent.