Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Cultural Studies
(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)
(Please include code under Program Information in your application.)
UAlbany Graduate Admissions
Degree 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 in this program, students are required to have competency in Spanish demonstrated by previous coursework. After admission, students must complete one or more graduate-level courses 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, Quiche, Nahuatl, French, Dutch) by passing an undergraduate course in that language with a grade of B or better or by completing a proficiency exam. A second language could be the native language of the candidate. The second language requirement choice must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Candidates are required to complete a total of 30 credits of graduate coursework beyond the MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 18 credits (LCS 500, 502, 503, 504 or 505 or 508, and one approved course in methods); and 12 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in one of the two focus areas: Culture, History, and Society or Language, Literature, and Fine Arts. Candidates with an MA in LACS from the University at Albany will substitute 15 other credits as advised for the core sequence, in addition to completing 12 credits (including LCS 781 Directed Readings) in the selected focus area. Independent Study (LCS 695, 782) or any other Directed Readings courses are meant to encourage specialized training in a student’s research areas of interest, but should be limited to no more than a total of 6 credits, and require the prior approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Constituting a dissertation committee is a primary responsibility of a doctoral student. The composition of all dissertation committees will be submitted to the LACS Graduate Studies Committee for approval. Students admitted with an MA degree 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 will ask a full time faculty member of LACS to serve as director of her/his dissertation committee.
The dissertation director will 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 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. The Director of Graduate Studies will seek the approval of the Graduate Studies Committee and inform the dissertation committee and the student in writing of the decision of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Reading List / Directed Readings LCS 781
Once all coursework has been completed (except LCS 781), the student will submit a reading list for the approval of the Dissertation Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. 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 by the Graduate Studies Committee. Once the reading list has been approved by both committees, the student will enroll in LCS 781 under the supervision of the dissertation director. For successful completion of LCS 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 LCS 781, the student will write the Director of Graduate Studies to request a comprehensive qualifying examination based on the annotated bibliography of the reading list. This written request must be made no later than November 15 or April 15 of the previous semester. The qualifying examination will be prepared by the dissertation committee, approved by the Graduate Studies Committee, 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 from each of the three sections of the reading list: 1) dissertation topic; 2) background areas around the dissertation topic; 3) theory and method to be used in the dissertation. The student will submit answers to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days (72 hours) 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. The examination is normally offered twice a year in the last week of October and March. It will be read and graded within two to three weeks by the student’s dissertation committee or by the members of the Graduate Studies Committee. Once the qualifying examination has been approved, the dissertation director and the candidate proceed to formalize the dissertation proposal and discuss the preparation of the dissertation.
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 status subject to the following:
a) satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination;
b) satisfactory completion of the research tool requirements by fulfilling the foreign language requirement;
c) approval and defense of dissertation proposal;
d) completion of the University residency requirements (where appropriate).
With the guidance of the dissertation committee, the candidate will prepare a detailed dissertation proposal following the format of a granting agencies application form. The candidate will present and defend 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 recommendations for changes to 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 for the approval of the Graduate Committee. The dissertation proposal itself should be at least 20-25 pages long, not counting the bibliography which should be appended to it. After a successful defense of the proposal a student will be certified for All But Dissertation (ABD) status.
Dissertation Progress Report
Every semester, the students’ dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS PH.D. CONCENTRATION 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. Please note that most faculty members are not available during the summer or University breaks to work on dissertations. Moreover, most faculty members are involved in several dissertation committees at a given time and need to be informed in advance of any forthcoming dissertation manuscripts. Students are expected to discuss their dissertation progress and timetable for submitting manuscript drafts and completing the dissertation with the dissertation director, in order to ensure that there is sufficient time to meet University dissertation submissions requirements and deadlines. Dissertation drafts often require more than one cycle of revisions and this should be taken into consideration by the student when submitting drafts to their dissertation committee members. Every revision cycle can take from 3 - 4 weeks before a student hears from committee members.
LCS 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. Students may register for load credit only after all the other requirements are completed and ABD status is achieved.
Students who have completed all course requirements can register for load credit under Lcs 893 - General Readings as advised.
All doctoral students are expected to familiarize themselves with the Dissertation Submission Guidelines outlined by the University's Office of Graduate Studies, prior to submitting their dissertations. 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 three to four 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. It is not unusual for a candidate to have to make additional minor revisions after the defense, if requested by the dissertation committee. Any revisions must be approved by the dissertation director before the dissertation is submitted to the University’s Office of Graduate Studies and sufficient time should be allowed by the student for popssible revisions. Students are also required to obtain a copy of the University guidelines for submitting dissertations from the Office of Graduate Studies, and follow these guidelines and deadlines. This should be done during the early stages of writing the dissertation.
(Guidelines Revised by Graduate Studies Committee Fall 2010)
List of Supporting Courses