Spanish and Portuguese

Head of the Department: Mariselle Meléndez
Director of Graduate Studies: Javier Irigoyen-García
4080 Foreign Languages Building
707 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 244-3250

Major: Portuguese
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D. (Please note: Until further notice, we are accepting applications only to the M.A. in Portuguese, not to the Ph.D.)
Graduate Concentration: Brazilian Studies

Major: Spanish
Degrees Offered: M.A., Ph.D.
Graduate Concentrations: Medieval Studies (available to all), Romance Linguistics (Ph.D.), Spanish Linguistics (M.A. only), Spanish Literatures and Cultures (M.A. only), Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (Ph.D. only)

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers work leading to the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy in Spanish and Portuguese, and to a Concentration in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE). Fields of specialization are:

  • Spanish linguistics
  • Romance linguistics
  • Spanish literature and cultural studies
  • Latin American literature and cultural studies
  • Brazilian Studies
  • Luso-Brazilian literature and cultural studies

A graduate course in Catalan literature is available. Also, the department is affiliated with the Latina/Latino Studies Program. Students in the area of Latina/Latino studies may be able to work with experts in the other disciplines in Latina/Latino studies such as anthropology, history, political science, sociology, and so forth in order to design and complete a program of studies in a particular area.


The normal prerequisite for a graduate major is an undergraduate major in the corresponding Romance language or consent of the department. Students doing graduate work for any advanced degree in Spanish or Portuguese must possess a command of the language. Applicants should apply online ( and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation and a writing sample of approximately 10-20 pages in the form of one or two papers, at least one of which must be written in Spanish or Portuguese (as applicable). Original transcripts (with English translations if applicable) showing all undergraduate and graduate work completed should also be uploaded. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required of all domestic applicants and should be submitted to institution code 1836. International applicants who have taken the GRE are encouraged to submit their scores as well. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and must score at least 88 on the internet-based test (iBT); they must also pass the speaking sub-section of the iBT with a minimum score of 24 (see Applications are accepted for fall admission only. Application questions may be directed to SLCL Graduate Student Services at

Centers, Programs, and Institutes

The option to pursue a concentration in SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) is available to doctoral students in the department's programs in linguistics. Candidates selecting this option are required to complete courses in linguistics, psycholinguistics/sociolinguistics, second language studies, and research methodology in addition to advanced study in linguistics of the particular language. For information about SLATE go to

Graduate Teaching Experience

Although teaching is not a general Graduate College requirement, this department requires degree candidates to teach as part of their academic work. Such experience is considered a vital part of the graduate program. Non-native English speakers must first pass a test of their oral English ability (see

Financial Aid

The department offers financial aid (in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships) to all of the students it admits. Other kinds of fellowships and research support are also available on a competitive basis to qualified candidates; they include dissertation research and travel grants, conference travel grants, and summer fellowships.

Master of Arts

All students enrolled in the Spanish M.A. program must choose one of two concentrations: Spanish with concentration in Spanish Linguistics; or Spanish with concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures.

In addition to fulfilling the general requirements of the Graduate College, candidates for the M.A. in Spanish with concentration in Spanish Literatures and Cultures must pass a comprehensive examination based on coursework and a general reading list. Candidates for the M.A. in Spanish with concentration in Spanish Linguistics must complete a research paper in lieu of a formal comprehensive examination.

Areas of specialization offered in Portuguese are Luso-Brazilian literature and cultural studies. Detailed statements of the requirements for each specialization may be obtained from the department.