Portuguese: Brazilian Studies, MA

for the degree of Master of Arts in Portuguese, Brazilian Studies Concentration

head of department: Melissa Bowles

director of graduate studies: Jonathan E. MacDonald

email: span-port@illinois.edu

department website: http://www.spanport.illinois.edu

department faculty:

overview of grad college admissions & requirements: https://grad.illinois.edu/admissions/apply

college website: https://las.illinois.edu/

department office: 4080 Foreign Languages Building, 707 South Mathews, Urbana, IL 61801

phone: (217) 244-3250

Graduate Degree Programs in Spanish & Portuguese

Spanish, MA

optional concentrations:

Medieval Studies|Spanish Linguistics|Spanish Literatures & Cultures

Spanish, PhD

optional concentrations:

Medieval Studies|Romance Linguistics|Second Language Acquisition & Teacher Education

Portuguese, MA


Brazilian Studies

Portuguese, PhD (Please note: Until further notice, we are accepting applications only to the M.A. in Portuguese, not to the Ph.D.)

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 also available. Additionally, 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 (www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/apply) 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 recommended (although not 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 www.grad.illinois.edu/Admissions/instructions/04c). Applications are accepted for fall admission only. Application questions may be directed to SLCL Graduate Student Services at slclgradservices@illinois.edu.

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 www.slate.illinois.edu.

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 www.grad.illinois.edu/admissions/taengprof.htm).

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.

for the degree of Master of Arts in Portuguese, Brazilian Studies Concentration

In the MA program in Portuguese with a concentration in Brazilian Studies, students broaden and deepen their knowledge of Brazil-related topics and themes, working closely with core and affiliated faculty members in Portuguese. Students draw on the many upper-level course offerings across departments and disciplines to create an individualized plan of study. All students must take SPAN 572 on theory and criticism or an equivalent course. Students with TAships are also required to complete PORT 571, the pro-seminar for language teaching required of all TAs in the department. Beginning in their second semester, students will enroll in PORT 595 with one of the Portuguese faculty members or affiliate faculty to develop a master’s thesis. In their third or fourth semester(s), students can then sign up for PORT 599 (repeatable for up to 16 hours), to produce the thesis, which will be of publishable quality, working with Portuguese core and affiliated faculty. Four independent study hours in PORT 595 and four thesis research hours in PORT 599 count toward the 20 required hours in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's guidelines for graduate students and the Graduate College Handbook.

Course work within the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in Brazilian Studies selected in consultation with advisor.12
PORT 595Special Topics Port & Braz Lit4
PORT 599Thesis Research4
Coursework in disciplines related to the students’ focus with themes relevant to Brazil.12
Total Hours32

Other Requirements

Other requirements may overlap
SPAN 572 or equivalent methods course must be taken by students 4 hours
Minimum 500-level Hours Required Overall: 12
PORT 571 is required of all teaching assistants 4 hours
Minimum GPA: 3.0