University at Albany




Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies

(LACS Ph.D. Concentration - Code 013107)

UAlbany Graduate Admissions

Appying to the LACS Ph.D. Concentration

The program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish with a specialty track in Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies requires 60 graduate credits (30 credits beyond the M.A.) 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. Applicants to the doctoral program are required to submit the following:

  • Transcripts
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Writing Sample: 5-10 pages
  • Personal Statement: Two pages describing your decision to pursue advanced graduate studies.
  • Briefly describe experiences that have prepared you for advanced study or research, your plans for your future occupation or profession and provide any additional information that may aid the selection committee in evaluating your preparation and aptitude for graduate study.
  • Research Statement: four pages describing your research interests and identifying faculty in the program whose work aligns with your interests. Be as precise as possible in describing your research interests, including region or country, topic or approach you expect to adopt, as well as historical subjects and intellectual issues you would like to explore .

Application Deadline Fall Admission: January 15
Application Deadline Spring Admission:  October 15

Ph.D. Requirements

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


See Guidelines )

  • Written comprehension of Spanish

CORE SEQUENCE: 18 Credits  (See Course Descriptions)

  • ALCS 502 (3 credits) Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies I
  • ALCS 503 (3 credits) Theoretical Approaches to Latin American, Caribbean, and US Latino Studies II
  • ALCS 504 (3 credits) Seminar on Latin America 
  • ALCS 505 (3 credits) Seminar on the Caribbean
  • ALCS 506 (3 credits) Seminar on U.S. Latino Studies
  • ALCS 600 (3 credits) Research Methodologies: Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies

Students are encouraged to take an additional methods course appropriate or necessary to conduct their dissertation research.


Approved Graduate Methods Course (3 credits)

Graduate methods course in cognate field aproved by Graduate Director.

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

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

Guidelines & Procedures

For the Doctoral Concentration in Latin American, Caribbean , and U.S. Latino Studies (LACS) of the Spanish Ph.D.

Language Requirement

Doctoral students are required to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish before completion of the Qualifying Examination. Proficiency in Spanish is demonstrated by successfully completing an examination administered by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures.

Students who plan to undertake research in a country or region that requires command of another language (e.g. Portuguese, French, Haitian Creole, Quechua, or other indigenous languages) will need to demonstrate language proficiency before the date scheduled for defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal. Proficiency will be demonstrated by passing an examination administered by the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LLC), or by completing graduate level course at the University at Albany or other accredited higher education institution. A minimum grade of B+ is required to demonstrate proficiency.


Candidates are required to complete 30 credits beyond an approved MA. Coursework will include a core sequence of 18 credits (ALCS 502, 503, 504, 505 and 506, 600 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 18 other credits (as advised) for the core sequence and complete 12 credits (including ALCS 781 Directed Readings. Independent Study (ALCS 695) and Topics courses (ALCS 696) require the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.

Dissertation Committee

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 with whom they have taken courses. 

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.

Directed Readings ALCS 781

After the completion of required courses (except ALCS 781), the student will ask a faculty member to serve as the Dissertation Committee Director. The Director will supervise ALCS 781 Directed Readings and assign the final grade. The student will submit a topic statement (500 words), and a reading list to the Director. At this time, the student will invite two faculty members to serve on the doctoral dissertation committee. Once these steps have been completed, the Dissertation Committee Director will permit the student to enroll in ALCS 781.

Once enrolled in ALCS 781, the student will prepare an annotated bibliography of the approved reading list. Annotations should be 250-500 words (or the student and Director can decide the appropriate length). In addition, each annotation will include a brief description (50-100 words) explaining why the entry was selected.

The reading list, consisting of 50-60 books and articles, will be divided into three sections: 

  1. Thematic:  Examples: urban, environmental, identity and culture, gender, race, globalization and transnationalism, imperialism.
  2. Geographic: Latin America, Caribbean, U.S. Latina/o, Regions or specific countries or regions. 
  3. Theoretical:   Examples: Post-colonial and decolonial theory, democratic theory, Marxism and neo-Marxism, cultural and literary theory, etc. 

Doctoral Qualifying Examination

While completing ALCS 781, the student will write the Director of Graduate Studies to request a date for to take the qualifying examination. The request must be made no later than November 10 or May 10 of the semester preceding the requested examination date.
The Dissertation Committee Director will send the approved and completed annotated list to the other members of the committee no less that four weeks before the scheduled date of the qualifying examination.
The qualifying examination will be prepared by the dissertation committee and administered by the Director of Graduate Studies. The qualifying examination will consist of three questions, one question each for each of the three sections.

  1. Thematic
  2. Geographic/Regional;
  3. Theoretical.

The student will submit the completed examination to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than three days (72 hours) after receiving the examination. 
The responses must be 12 font double-spaced. Each of the three questions must between 7 to 10 pages and documented as a research paper.
The Director will confirm that examination was delivered on time and forward the examination to the Dissertation Committee Director and Committee Members. 
During the preparation of your examination, you may not consult with others for editorial, stylistic or research assistance. Nor may you seek feedback on your completed examination prior to submitting to the Graduate Director.

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:

  1. satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination;
  2. satisfactory completion of the research tool requirements by fulfilling the foreign language requirement;
  3. successful defense of the doctoral dissertation proposal;
  4. completion of the University residency requirements (where appropriate).

Dissertation Proposal

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 and no more than 20 pages long and contain the following: The Graduate Director will approve changes to the length requirements at the request of the Dissertation Committee Director.

The doctoral dissertation proposal must contain the following:

  1. A general description of the project, including a clear critical/theoretical approach to the topic,
  2. Review of relevant literatures the project engages or challenges
  3. Discussion of method and plan for research, including specific sources, archives, interviews as necessary.
  4. A bibliography of primary and secondary sources.

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal

The candidate will present the doctoral dissertation 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.

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.

Dissertation Progress Report

Every semester, the dissertation director will indicate progress on the dissertation on the LACS 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.

Completed Dissertation

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 may reconstitute the membership of Dissertation Committee at any time. After the matter has been discussed with all members of the Dissertation Committee, the candidate will inform the Graduate Director of the composition of the new Dissertation Committee, which may include a new Dissertation Committee Director.  The Graduate Director will officially inform all faculty concerned, (previous and new members of the Dissertation Committee), as well as the Department Chair of the change in membership.  The student’s record will be changed to list the members of the reconstituted committee, the new Dissertation Committee Director (if applicable) and the date the change went into effect.

All committee members should honor the candidate's request for change in the membership of the dissertation committee, and the candidate should respect the right of all committee members to withdraw from the committee at any time.  

Dissertation Defense

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 2018)

***** Regulations and Requirements Governing the Doctoral Degree (Graduate Bulletin)*****