Admission to Candidacy
M.A. students in Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are admitted to doctoral studies in this Department on the recommendation of the M.A. examining committee.
A graduate student with the M.A. from another institution is admitted to the doctoral program by virtue of his/her acceptance in the Department. A minimum graduate GPA of 3.4 is required.
The doctoral candidate arranges his/her program with an assigned graduate adviser, representing one of the areas of concentration, at the beginning of his/her studies in this department. The adviser represents a field in which the student has expressed primary interest. The candidate may, of course, seek advice and suggestions from individual professors, but it is important to maintain frequent and ongoing contact with the regular adviser. At the beginning of the second semester in residence the academic adviser and the candidate make a detailed review of the first semester's progress.
As soon as the doctoral candidate begins to define a dissertation area, he/she is encouraged to select the dissertation adviser/director. Once identified, the dissertation director becomes the academic adviser and will subsequently serve on the student's Preliminary Examination examining committee.
Areas of Specialization:
Students must maintain a 3.0 average each semester; if not, they are placed on probation and are ineligible to take the Preliminary Examination. A student on probation for over two semesters may be dropped from the doctoral program.
Incompletes may be granted only in emergency situations and then only with prior approval of the Chair of the Department. Any incomplete not removed within one semester after being incurred is automatically a failure.
The Doctoral Dissertation
The student is encouraged to begin planning the dissertation as early as possible in his/her doctoral studies. Such planning should encompass possible topics and potential directors. The candidate must have narrowed down his/her topic and determined who will serve as the dissertation director by the time of the Ph.D. Preliminary Examination, since the dissertation director must be one of the examiners in the major field. The determination of the dissertation director is accomplished through mutual agreement between professor and candidate. However, when in the opinion of the candidate such relationship ceases to function acceptably, the candidate MUST enlist the involvement of the Director of Graduate Studies in arranging for a change in dissertation director.
The defense of the dissertation proposal takes place within six months of the successful completion of the Preliminary Examination. The dissertation topic must be approved not only by the director but also by the other two members of the student's reading committee (selected jointly by the director and the candidate). They will have repeated opportunities for direct advice and consultation with the candidate and the director during the writing of the dissertation. Their written approval of the dissertation is required prior to the final defense.
The Department of Spanish and Portuguese enforces the Graduate School policy that establishes a five-year deadline for completion and defense of the doctoral dissertation. If the candidate does not complete the dissertation within five years of the Preliminary Examination, the candidate must retake this examination.
The final oral examination for the Ph.D. (the dissertation defense) will concentrate solely on the dissertation and generally does not exceed two hours in length. The examining committee is composed of the dissertation director, the two readers and two non-readers, one of whom represents the minor field (although the representative of the minor field is eligible to be a dissertation reader). This examination is held at least two weeks after the dissertation is submitted. (The topic of the dissertation must, of course, pertain to the major field. If after the Preliminary Examination the student decides to write on a topic unrelated to the area of major concentration, he/she will be expected to pass a major examination in that field.)
A Guide to Preparing Your Doctoral Dissertation
The Three D's: Deadlines, Defending, Depositing