Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies
(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)
UAlbany Graduate Admissions
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. 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 StudiesThe 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.
Credit Requirements: A total of 30 credits beyond the M.A. to include:
( See Guidelines )
- Written comprehension of Spanish
- Second language other than Spanish and English
ALCS 502 (3 credits)
ALCS 503 (3 credits)
ALCS 504 (3 credits)
ALCS 505 (3 credits)
ALCS 506 (3 credits)
Approved Graduate Methods Course (3 credits)
Graduate methods course in cognate field aproved by Graduate Director.
- Courses to be selected by student in consultation with their advisor.
Formal Requirements (Load Credits Only) (See Guidelines)
- Dissertation Committee approved by Graduate Studies Director
- Reading list approved by Graduate Studies Director
- ALCS 781 Directed Readings/Annotated Bibliography completed
- ALCS 893 Individual work in preparation for the comprehensive exam-load graded
- Ph.D. Qualifying Exam approved and completed
- ALCS 893 Individual work in preparation for doctoral dissertation proposal-load graded
- Dissertation Proposal approved by Advisor and Graduate Director
- ALCS 899 Doctoral students engaged in research and writing of the dissertation-load graded
- Dissertation successfully defended
- Recommendation for Conferral of Doctoral Degree submitted
Guidelines & Procedures
For the Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean , and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies (LACS) of the Spanish Ph.D.
Language Requirement (English, Spanish, and one other language)
Prior to admission, degree candidates will demonstrate proficiency in Spanish by completing one or more graduate level courses taught in Spanish with a grade of B or better. Before or after admission, candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of a second language used in Latin America and the Caribbean (other than English and Spanish, e.g. Portuguese, French, Quiche, Dutch, Haitian Creole) by passing an undergraduate course in that language with a grade of B or better. A second language could be the native language of the candidate. Second language proficiency must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Candidates are required to complete 30 credits beyond an approved MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 15 credits (ALCS 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506 a 3 credit methods course approved by the advisor and a student directed focus area of 12 credits (including ALCS 781 Directed Readings). Candidates with an MA in LACS from the University at Albany will substitute 15 other credits (as advised) for the core sequence and complete 12 credits (including ALCS 781 Directed Readings) in the focus area. Independent Study (ALCS 695) and Topics courses (ALCS 696) require the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
The composition of all dissertation committees will be submitted to the Graduate Director for approval. Students admitted with an MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their first semester of coursework; students admitted without the MA will form their dissertation committees by the end of their fifth semester of coursework. By the end of the first (or fifth) semester the student is required to select a faculty member to serve as director of the dissertation committee. The director must have a formal affiliation with LACS (please see faculty listed on the department webpage). If LACS faculty are not available to serve as director, the student may ask a faculty member from another department or college to serve as co-director of the dissertation committee. The other co-director must be a LACS affiliated faculty member. It is expected that students select faculty committee members with expertise in their chosen topic of research and who have taken courses with.
The dissertation director should not dictate the composition of the dissertation committee, but with the assistance of the dissertation director, the student will select two additional full time faculty members of LACS to form the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee director will ensure that there is sufficient expertise on the committee about the topic of the dissertation. When necessary for additional expertise on the topic of the dissertation, a fourth full time faculty member for the dissertation committee could be chosen from outside the department or the university. Once all members have agreed to serve, the dissertation director will inform the Director of Graduate Studies in writing about the composition of the dissertation committee.
Reading List / Directed Readings ALCS 781
Once all course work has been completed (except ALCS 781), the student will submit a reading list for the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the Director of Graduate Studies. The reading list will be divided into three sections: 1. works related directly to the dissertation topic; 2. works related to the background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. works about theory and method necessary for research on the dissertation topic.
The Dissertation Committee director will submit the reading list approved by the dissertation committee to the Director of Graduate Studies for approval. Once the reading list has been approved by both committees, the student will enroll in ALCS 781 under the supervision of the dissertation director. For successful completion of ALCS 781, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. Annotations will demonstrate that the student has studied each item on the reading list and will explain briefly (in one paragraph) how each item on the reading list will be used for the preparation of the dissertation.
While completing ALCS 781, the student will write the Director of Graduate Studies to request a qualifying examination based on the annotated bibliography of the reading list. This written request must be made no later than October 15 or April 15 of the previous semester.
The qualifying examination will be prepared by the dissertation committee, approved and administered by the Director of Graduate Studies. The qualifying examination will consist of six questions, two questions each in all three sections of the reading list. The student will answer one question in each of the three sections of the reading list: 1. dissertation topic; 2. background areas around the dissertation topic; 3. theory and method. The student will submit answers to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days after receiving the examination. The answer to each of the three questions should be typed (double-spaced), and each answer should be 7 to 10 pages long, documented as a research paper.
Admission to Ph.D. Candidacy
A student is admitted to candidacy (ABD) for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and may undertake work on the dissertation subject to the following:
a) satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination;
b) satisfactory completion of the research tool requirements by fulfilling the foreign language requirement;
c) completion of the University residency requirements (where appropriate).
By the end of the semester that follows the successful completion of all the exams and requirements, each candidate for the Ph.D. degree must submit a dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be at least 10-15 pages long and contain the following:
- a title,
- a general description of the project, including a clear critical/theoretical approach to the topic,
- description of each chapter,
- a bibliography of primary and secondary sources.
Upon the Dissertation Committee's approval of the dissertation proposal, the candidate may start writing the dissertation during which time each semester s/he must enroll in the ALCS 899 (Doctoral Dissertation) course (counts as load credit only). The dissertation itself is expected to manifest thorough knowledge of literary, cultural or linguistic theory, depending on the candidate's field, and the candidate must demonstrate the ability to perform mature scholarly research elaborating on previous critical judgments. The dissertation may be written in English or Spanish.
The candidate will present the proposal to the Dissertation Committee in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation proposal should be circulated among members of the Dissertation Committee well in advance of the meeting, and the meeting date and time should be announced at least two weeks before the presentation.
The dissertation committee members will make suggestions for change in the proposal, and after these changes have been incorporated, the Dissertation Director will transmit a final version of the proposal to the Director of Graduate Studies. The dissertation proposal itself should be at least 10-15 pages long, not counting the bibliography which should be appended to it.
Dissertation Progress Report
Every semester, the dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS PH.D. ADVISEMENT FORM and circulate copies of this form to the members of the dissertation committee and to the Director of Graduate Studies. The Director of Graduate Studies will place this advisement form in the student's file.
ALCS 899: Doctoral Dissertation (1 load credit)
Dissertation credits count as load credit only and are graded L/U. They cannot be applied to the 30 credits (post M.A.) minimum requirement for the Ph.D. You may register for load credit only after all the other requirements are completed.
Once the dissertation is completed, the dissertation director will forward copies of it to the members of the dissertation committee requesting written critiques from committee members within two to three weeks. The dissertation director will circulate these critiques among dissertation committee members and place copies of them in the student's file. Members of the dissertation committee may request a meeting with the candidate at any time. Candidates may also request a meeting with the dissertation committee or with any of its members at any time.
Changes in the Composition of the Dissertation Committee
To avoid conflicts of interest, the members of the dissertation committee should not be related to each other as spouses or partners. If the Graduate Studies Committee (which includes the Chair of LACS) determines that there is a potential for conflict of interest in the composition of any dissertation committee, it will appoint a new dissertation committee in consultation with the Dissertation Director and the candidate. The candidate has the right to reconstitute the Dissertation Committee at any time. When this right is exercised, the candidate should inform all members of the Dissertation Committee in writing in a timely and considerate manner after the matter has been discussed with the Dissertation Director and with other members of the committee.
All committee members should honor the candidate's request for change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also respect the right of all committee members to withdraw from the committee at any time. The candidate should inform the Director of Graduate Studies of any change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should also resubmit a dissertation proposal for the approval of the new Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The Director of Graduate Studies will place all proposals approved by both committees in the candidate's file.
In consultation with the candidate and the Dissertation Committee and in accordance with departmental procedures, the Director of Graduate Studies will arrange a date for the defense of the dissertation. The candidate will defend the dissertation in a meeting open to all faculty and students of the department. The dissertation director will chair the defense, and the members of the dissertation committee will vote in private and announce their decision to the candidate and to those in attendance at the defense.
(LACS Revised – Fall 2015)
***** Regulations and Requirements Governing the Doctoral Degree (Graduate Bulletin)*****
List of Supporting Courses
LACS COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Culture, History, and Society
- LCS 509/SOC 576/ International Migration: History, Theory, Methodology
- LCS 510 Workers and Globalization
- LCS 511 Introduction to Cultural Studies
- LCS 515 U.S. Latino Culture and Literature
- LCS 551 Gender and Class in Latin American Development
- LCS 556/POS 556 Authoritarian and Comparative/ Representative Regimes in Latin America
- LCS 560 Urban Poverty in Latin America
- LCS 565 Latinos and Inequality in America
- LCS 572/GOG 572 Issues in Latin American Geography
- LCS 573/GOG 573 Comparative Metropolitan Planning
- LCS 575 Caribbean Migration
- LCS 585/ECO 585 Land and Labor in Latin America
- LCS 593/POS 593 International Relations of Latin America
- LCS 599 Special Topics in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (as advised)
- LCS 695 Independent Study and Research (1-6 cr.) (as advised)
- ANT 533 Mesoamerican Archaeology
- ANT 633 Seminar in Mesoamerican Archaeology
- ANT 641 Seminar in Mesoamerican Ethnology
- ANT 643 Seminar in the Native Mesoamerican Texts and Literature
- ANT 648 Seminar in South American Ethnology
- ANT 666* Seminar in Ethnohistory
- ANT 667/PLN 672 Housing Problems and Policies in Third World Cities
- HIS 569 History of Mexico
- HIS 570 History of the West Indies and Central America
- HIS 572 History of Brazil
- IS 665 Readings in Latin American History
- HIS 667 Seminar in Latin American History
- SOC640Gender Inequality
Language, Literature, and Fine Arts
- LCS 514/SPN519 Literature of the Hispanic Caribbean
- LCS 515 U.S. Latino Culture and Literature
- LCS 517/SPN 513 Cultural Foundations of Latin American Literature
- SPN 500 a/b Intensive Introduction in Spanish
- SPN 527 Spanish American Poetry Since Modernism
- SPN 605 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism
- SPN 606 Applied Critical Theory
- SPN 680 Introduction to Literary Research
Advanced Methods Courses
Students enrolled in the LACS track of the Spanish Ph.D. program should take an advanced methods course in a field related to the dissertation topic. Choosing this course should be made in consultation and with the approval of the student's LACS graduate advisor.
The following are some of the methods courses accepted by the Department to satisfy this requirement:
- ANT 508 Proseminar in Ethnology
- ANT 600 Quantitative Methods in Anthropology
- ANT 608 Field methods in Ethnology
- HIS 590 Quantitative Methods in History
- HIS 591 Research and Writing in History
- HIS 594 Readings and Practicum in Oral and Video History
- SOC 509 Research Methods
- SOC 535 Qualitative Research Techniques
- SPN 605 Introduction to Literary Theory and Criticism
- SPN 606 Applied Critical Theory
- SPN 685 Methods in Research
- ENG 542 Literary Theory since 1950
- ENG 642 Trends in Critical Theory
- WWS 565 Feminist Theory
* In order to receive credit for this course toward the Ph.D. degree, students must work on Latin American, Caribbean, or U.S. Latino related topics.
Explanation of course prefixes:
- AAS Africana Studies
- PLN Planning
- AOS Administration & Policy Studies
- POR Portuguese
- POS Politicalil Science
- ANT Anthropology
- SOC Sociology
- ECO Economics
- SPN Spanish
- GOG Geography
- ESOC Educational Sociology
- HIS History
- TBI Languages and Cultures Education
- LCS Latin American and Caribbean Studies
- WSS Women’s Studies