The Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies offers two major concentrations: 1) Literary and Cultural Studies and 2) Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics. Students in each concentration may opt to develop a secondary field of expertise in the other.

The program is designed primarily to prepare students for careers as university professors and research scholars. Students develop advanced language, teaching, and research skills that lend themselves to other professions, as well. A variety of geographic, temporal, and theoretical concentrations allow students to carry out innovative and interdisciplinary research projects, often with a transnational focus.

Admission Requirements

  1. Your completed application must include the following (incomplete applications will not be considered): A completed application, including a detailed statement of purpose explaining your research interests and why is the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Miami a good place to pursue your graduate training.  We only accept on-line applications.  Apply on-line here.
  2. Three substantial letters of recommendation.
  3. Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  4. A substantial writing sample in English.
  5. Writing samples in the primary language(s) of study (French, Portuguese, and/or Spanish).
  6. For International students only: TOEFL scores (please use Institution code 5815 and Department code 2699).
  7. Application fee of $85.00.
  8. GRE scores are encouraged but *not* required for admission(please use Institution code 5815 and Department Code 2699). However, they are required only in order to be nominated for University-wide fellowships.

Basic Curriculum Requirements

The requirements set out below for the Ph.D. in Literary, Cultural, and Linguistic Studies are minimum requirements. The Graduate Studies Committee, Director of Graduate Studies, and individual advisors may set additional requirements.

  1. The requirements:
    1. for students entering on the “five-year plan” (with a B.A. or M.A., see below), passing satisfactorily a minimum of 60 graded credit hours in approved courses, 30 of which must be open to graduate students only;
    2. for students entering on the “four-year plan” (with an M.A. in a closely related field, see below), passing satisfactorily a minimum of 48 graded credit hours in approved courses, 24 of which must be open to graduate students only;
  2. Passing MLL 701 , MLL 711 , MLL 799, and a minimum of 18 graded credit hours in the area(s) of research emphasis to be determined on an individualized basis in collaboration with the graduate advisors. 15 out of the 18 graded credit hours should be in MLL. However students may petition the GSC to take 3 more credit hours in an outside department only if the class directly relates to the student's research project. 
  3. For students in the Literary and Cultural Studies concentration, three credits of Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics and three credits in any Arts and Sciences discipline focusing on Colonial or Early Modern Studies (18th century or earlier).
  4. At least six credits in an approved cognate discipline to be determined in consultation with graduate advisors.
  5. Nine credits in Literary/Cultural Studies or Critical Studies of Language/Linguistics, for students pursuing an optional minor concentration.
  6.  In addition to proficiency in English and the major language of study, demonstrating the following:
    1. reading knowledge of two other languages; or
    2. holistic knowledge of one other language (for example, by passing the equivalent of a course at the 300-level).   Note: Appropriate languages of study will be determined in collaboration with the student’s advisors (e.g. students of Latin America  may be encouraged to study Portuguese or an indigenous language; students focusing on early modern Spanish or French studies may be encouraged to study Italian; students working in the French-speaking Caribbean many need to take Haitian  Kreyòl; etc.);     
    3. if areas of specialization include Medieval, Early Modern, or Colonial Latin American Studies, students must demonstrate reading knowledge of Latin.                                                           
  7. Passing a Breadth Exam. Depending on the student’s interests, the exam shall consist of three parts, according to one of the following configurations:
    1. one geographic region over three time periods;
    2. two geographic regions over two or three time periods;
    3. two geographic regions over one or two time periods and one area of critical sociolinguistics;
    4. two areas of critical sociolinguistics and one geographic region over one-time period.   ​Note: Students entering the doctoral program with an MA in a relevant field may petition to waive the Breadth Exam (normally taken in the spring semester of the second year) after the first semester of study. The Graduate Studies Committee will consider petitions on an individualized basis.
  8. Passing a Qualifying Exam on an approved topic. The exam typically includes three general approaches focusing on:
    1. literature, cultural studies, or sociolinguistics;
    2. critical theory;
    3. a cognate discipline (e.g. history, sociology, philosophy, law, art, film, etc.). 
  9. Successfully defending a dissertation prospectus.
  10. Completing and defending satisfactorily a dissertation. 
  11. Satisfying the requirements of the Graduate School as stated in the Graduate Bulletin.

 12. Students can also opt to complete two doctoral concentrations and/or one doctoral certificate while choosing courses to fulfill the requirements for the degree.


Graduate Concentration in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

The Medieval and Early Modern Studies Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures (Romance Studies, Spanish, and French). Graduate students will continue to be housed in any one of the three departments and must fulfill the requirements of their discipline. To qualify for the Concentration, students must successfully complete a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in medieval and/or early modern studies in one or both of the other two departments, substituting for courses within their department; and a minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in medieval and/or early modern studies within their home department. Thus, for example, a student whose home department is MLL would need to take two courses in medieval and/or early modern studies in MLL and then either two courses in English or History or one course in English  and one course in History.  A list of courses for the academic year is posted regularly on the website of the Center for the Humanities.

Graduate Concentration in Caribbean Studies

This is an interdisciplinary concentration to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures. Ph.D. students pursuing the doctoral concentration take a minimum of two Caribbean-focused courses (6 credit hours) within their home department, and a minimum of two Caribbean-focused courses (6 credit hours) outside of their department.


Students pursuing the doctoral concentration in Caribbean Studies must take as part of their required course credit hours a minimum of four Caribbean-focused courses (12 credit hours) as shown below.


A minimum of two courses (6 credits) selected from the following:

  • ENG 658: Studies in Transatlantic Literature
  • ENG 665: Studies in African American Literature
  • ENG 666: Caribbean Literature
  • ENG 667: Caribbean Popular Culture
  • ENG 668: Studies in Race and Diasporic Literatures
  • ENG 686: Theories of Gender and Sexuality
  • ENG 687: Studies in Literature and Culture since 1950
  • ENG 688: Studies in Latino/a Literatures and Cultures
  • ENG 689: Comparative Americas Studies 

A minimum of two courses (6 credits) selected from the following:

  • HIS 602: Africa and the African Diaspora
  • HIS 602: Africa in Cuba / Cuba in Africa
  • HIS 652: Race in Latin America
  • HIS 652: Travels through Latin America
  • HIS 654: Afro-Caribbean Religion: Healing and Power
  • HIS 654: Haiti in History
  • HIS 654: Caribbean Intellectual History and Social Movements
  • HIS 662: Slavery and Capitalism
  • HIS 669: Black Protest Thought
  • HIS 669: Rethinking African-American Culture
  • HIS 669: History of Global Slavery
  • HIS 708: Slavery in the Atlantic World
  • HIS 708: Atlantic Histories
  • HIS 716: Caribbean Field Prep 
  • FRE 775: Topics in Francophone Studies
  • MLL 702: Bilingualism
  • MLL 703: Topics in Critical Studies of Language
  • MLL 721: Atlantic Crossings: Literature and Immigration in the Age of Globalization
  • MLL 727: Topics in Caribbean Studies
  • SPA 733: Topics in Colonial Literature
  • SPA 735: Topics in 19th Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature
  • SPA 736: Topics in 20th Century Latin American and Caribbean Literature

**Or other courses with advisor’s approval.**


Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities in the Departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures   

The Graduate Certificate in the Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary concentration in Digital Humanities to be earned in conjunction with the individual Ph.D. requirements for the Departments of English, History, and Modern Languages and Literatures. The certificate offers students a depth and breadth of knowledge about computational approaches to humanities scholarship; the ability to clearly articulate their own methodological approaches to digital projects they complete; the ability to intervene in and discuss the larger theoretical debates that have shaped and continue to shape digital humanities scholarship; knowledge in multiple digital methods, digital tools, and project management skills that students may employ to answer research questions; and experience working in cross-disciplinary collaborative research teams.


Ph.D. students pursuing the certificate will take a minimum of three DH-focused and/or digital methods courses (9 credit hours). All students pursuing the certificate will be required to take the DH practicum course (MLL 774). Students may fulfill the additional 6 credits required for the certificate by taking two other DH or digital methods courses of their selection, either selected from the current MLL and ENG DH offerings or from those courses outside of the department listed below. The final requirement is the creation and approval of an online portfolio showcasing projects and research utilizing digital humanist methodologies.


Graduate Certificate in Second Language Acquisition & Teaching Certificate (SLAT)

The SLAT Graduate Certificate is an integrated group of courses designed to acquire expertise and experience in the field of critical studies of language, centering on theories of second language acquisition and bilingualism, empirical research in these areas, and their applications to the teaching of second and heritage languages at the postsecondary level.


Ph.D. students pursuing the certificate will take a minimum of three SLAT- related courses for a total of 9 graded credits. It is required to take MLL 701, “Intro to Second Language Teaching: Theory and Practice,” in addition to two other  SLAT-related courses (for example, MLL 702, MLL 703, MLL 704). Students pursuing this certificate should consult with the SLAT faculty to determine which courses to take. 


Sample Plan of Study: 5-Year Plan

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredit Hours
MLL 701 Intro to Second Language Teaching: Theory and Practice 3
MLL 711 Introduction to Critical Theory 3
Additional Course 3
Work on Language Requirement
Be mindful of Cognate Requirement
 Credit Hours9
Three Courses 9
Work on Language Requirement
 Credit Hours9
Year Two
Three Courses 9
Work on Language Requirement
Be Mindful of Cognate Requirement
 Credit Hours9
Two Courses 6
Breadth Exam Readings 3
 Credit Hours9
Year Three
Three Courses 9
Work on Language Requirement
Be Mindful of Cognate Requirements
All requirements must be met by the end of this semester!
 Credit Hours9
Two Courses 6
MLL 830 Pre-Candidacy Dissertation 3
Qualifying Exam
 Credit Hours9
Year Four
MLL 799 Dissertation and Professional Writing Seminar 1-3
MLL 840 Post-Candidacy Doctoral Dissertation 3
Defend Prospectus
 Credit Hours4
MLL 850 Research in Residence 3
Dissertation Work
 Credit Hours3
Year Five
MLL 850 Research in Residence 2
Dissertation Work
 Credit Hours2
MLL 850 Research in Residence 1
Dissertation Defense
Apply for Graduation
 Credit Hours1
 Total Credit Hours64


The Ph.D. in LCLS moves beyond the traditional Spanish/French binary of Romance Studies to bridge those two critical areas of emphasis with one another, as well as with additional areas of expertise offered by our tenured and tenure-track faculty in Arabic, Chinese, Italian, and Luso-Brazilian Studies. Graduate training in MLL prepares students to work as teachers and researchers of literary, linguistic, and cultural studies at universities and four-year colleges, as well as to serve in administrative, advocacy, and leadership positions in a range of educational and cultural institutions.


The Department seeks:

1) to train innovative and productive intellectuals whose work can contribute to the creation of more knowledgeable and just societies;

2) to help students prepare for fruitful and fulfilling careers in scholarship, research, teaching, community service, and related professions; and

3) to guide and support graduating students in the successful pursuit of academic or non-academic employment.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Graduate students should demonstrate a broad, critical understanding of literary and cultural forms, traditions, products, and processes from the geographies and time periods specific to their fields of study.
  • Students working as Teaching Assistants will demonstrate the ability to teach innovative, well-crafted, well-received courses in language, literature, and cultural studies at various levels.
  • MLL will equip its students as innovative and productive intellectuals, preparing them for fruitful careers in scholarship and research within and/or beyond the academy.