Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies Doctoral Track of the Spanish Doctor of Philosophy Degree Program

The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty track in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies requires a total of 60 graduate credits (30 beyond the Master’s) for completion of the degree. The Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) administers this specialty. Students who hold an M.A. degree in LACS (30 credits) will have to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements. Students who hold an M.A. degree in any other appropriate field will need to complete a minimum of 30 additional credits and satisfy all degree requirements.  This Ph.D. specialty is conceived of as qualitatively different from conventional language and literature programs. Its originality lies in the integration of area and ethnic studies within a disciplinary framework that includes the humanities as well as the social sciences. Broadly defined, cultural studies reflects a theoretical emphasis on the critical theories that focus on how issues of diversity, such as nationality, ethnicity, gender, and race shape cultural, historical, socioeconomic, political, and educational processes. The program also pays attention to the manner in which globalization, migration, and transnationalism are forging new hemispheric visions of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In light of this reality, our research and teaching agenda is also focused on the U.S. Latino experience and its relationship to the countries of origin. This feature of our program reflects faculty interest and expertise and distinguishes us from other institutions in the field of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies.

The program is a viable alternative to the single department/discipline based structures that are prevalent in most universities. "Alternative" does not mean substitution; it means a valid, complementary, and different model with its own set of persuasive advantages.  These advantages include paradigmatic shifts in the context of scholarship, a novel and inclusive curriculum, as well as research in frontier territory not chartered inside more conventional structures. LACS' interdisciplinary approaches are integral to its impressive basic and applied research and service outreach activities to institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean and in local, national, and international multicultural communities.

Some of the main areas of expertise of LACS faculty include development studies, women's studies, cultural studies, migration studies, Mesoamerican anthropology, Caribbean literature, education, and Puerto Rican studies. Study abroad and field research opportunities are available with institutions in Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Nicaragua. The Department of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) at the University at Albany is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive program of its kind within the SUNY system. It is the only academic department that currently offers an M.A. graduate degree and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, in addition to undergraduate majors in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Puerto Rican Studies. The Center for Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies (CELAC) and the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies (IMS), autonomous research units overlapping LACS in geographical coverage and faculty, also have made significant contributions with their publications, conferences, and attracting grant resources and promoting international collaborations. Most LACS graduates pursue careers in education, international business, government service, public policy, law, criminal justice, and social work. Degree candidates are also expected to demonstrate advanced language proficiency in Spanish and another language spoken in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English).  A limited number of fellowships and assistantships are available to applicants on a competitive basis.  Graduate students receiving these awards must maintain good academic standing and will be subject to annual review.  The maximum assistantship/fellowship funding allowed will be two years for the M.A. and three years for the Ph.D.

Ph.D. Requirements: A total of 30 credits beyond the M.A. to include:

Language Requirement:

  • Knowledge of Spanish
  • Second language other than Spanish and English

Core Sequence: 15 credits

LCS 502   Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino
   Studies I (3 credits)
LCS 503   Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino
                 Studies II (3 credits)
LCS 504   Seminar on Latin America (3 credits)
LCS 505:  Seminar on the Caribbean (3 credits)
LCS 506   Seminar on U.S. Latino Studies (3 credits)

Approved Graduate Methods Course: 3 credits

Graduate methods course in cognate field approved by Graduate Director.

Focus Area : 12 credits

  • Culture, History, and Society (12 credits including LCS 781) or
  • Language, Literature, and Fine Arts (12 credits including LCS 781)

Formal Requirements: Load credits only with the exception of LCS 781

  1. Dissertation Committee approved by Graduate Studies Committee 
  2. Reading list approved by Graduate Studies Committee
  3. LCS 781 Directed Readings/Annotated Bibliography of Reading List (3 credits)
  4. Ph.D. Qualifying Exam approved and completed
  5. Dissertation proposal approved by Graduate Committee
  6. LCS 899 Dissertation defended
  7. Recommendation for Conferral of Doctoral Degree submitted