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Rules and Regulations (Ph.D.)


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Candidacy exams

I. For students who enter the doctoral program without an M.A. degree

Part 1:

  • Option 1: Exam - Rules and Regulations:

    • Pre-requisites: Students must have completed 30 course credits by the end of the semester in which they are taking the exam (i.e., students can be enrolled in classes while preparing for the exam). All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the exam.

    • Committee: The student’s advisor will serve as chair of the examining committee. The student’s advisor must be a member of the Spanish and Portuguese graduate program faculty. The examining committee will consist of two permanent members: the advisor and another member of the graduate faculty. The committee members will be chosen by the student and the graduate advisor, and will be appointed by the Graduate Program Director. Changes in committees already appointed must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.

    • Exam Format:

      • LITERATURES AND CULTURES

        • Reading list: Students are examined in 2 areas, a major area and a minor area. Each area includes 3 reading lists (of 15 texts each). Students choose 2 reading lists per area. For the reading lists, see here.

        • Procedure: In-class exams taken over 2 days (4 hours per day) on 4 reading lists. The student answers questions on 2 lists per day. The student may choose to write the exam in either the target language (Spanish or Portuguese) or English.

        • Grading System:  High Pass and Pass: the examinee may continue his or her course of studies in the Ph.D. program.  Terminal Pass: the examinee receives an M.A. in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, but cannot continue in the Ph.D. program. The student cannot take the exam again.  Fail: the examinee is not allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program. Students who fail the 1st part of the candidacy exam are allowed to take the exam one more time in the following term in order to be eligible to receive a terminal pass.

      • LINGUISTICS [coming soon]

  • Option 2: Thesis - Rules and Regulations:

    • Pre-requisites for the Thesis Defense: Students must have completed 30 course credits by the end of the semester in which they are taking the exam  (i.e., students can be enrolled in classes while preparing for the exam). All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the exam.

    • Proposal: a thesis proposal must be approved and signed by the committee at least 4 months in advance of the defense.

    • Format: The text of the thesis should be of approximately 75-100 pages in length. For the format, please follow the Graduate School Guidelines for Preparing Thesis Manuscripts.

    • Com mittee:  Students are expected to choose the members of the thesis committee in consultation with their advisor. The student’s advisor must be a member of the Spanish and Portuguese graduate program faculty. The GPD, in consultation with the Director of the unit, will recommend the thesis committee to the Graduate Dean, who will make the appointment. The thesis committee will consist of at least three members of the graduate faculty. The chair of the committee must be a member of the unit in the area of specialization of the thesis.

    • Defense: The candidate has the option of a closed or an open thesis defense. In a closed defense, only members of the unit’s faculty may attend and participate. In a open defense, any graduate student or faculty member may attend and participate. In any case, only committee members may participate in the evaluation of the thesis. The student must indicate the open or closed status of the defense as part of the notice of intent to defend the thesis. The Thesis Director will inform the office manager of the results of the thesis defense.

    • Grading System:  High Pass and Pass: the examinee may continue his or her course of studies in the Ph.D. program.  Terminal Pass: the examinee receives an M.A. in Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, but cannot continue in the Ph.D. program. The student cannot take the exam again.  Fail: the examinee is not allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program. Students who fail the 1st part of the candidacy exam are allowed to take the exam one more time in the following term in order to be eligible to receive a terminal pass.

Part 2:

  • Pre-requisites for examination: Students must have completed all 45 course credits by the end of the semester in which they are taking the exam (i.e., students can be enrolled in classes while preparing for the exam). All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the exam.

  • Committee: The student’s advisor will serve as chair of the examining committee. The student’s advisor must be a member of the Spanish and Portuguese graduate program faculty. The examining committee is not necessarily made up of the same members as the dissertation committee. The examining committee will consist of two permanent members: the advisor plus one other members of the graduate faculty. The committee members will be chosen by the student and will be appointed by the Graduate Program Director (GPD). Changes in committees already appointed may be effected with the approval of the GPD.

  • Format by Track:

    • LITERATURES AND CULTURES

      • Reading list: The student will discuss the reading list with all examining committee members, who will make sure that it is appropriate, bearing in mind that the student is expected to show some familiarity with secondary, as well as primary, sources in the examination.

      • Scheduling of examinations: The examinations will be given at the convenience of the student, the examining committee, and the GPD. Requests for examinations must be made in writing to the GPD at least one month prior to the date being set. Summer examinations are discouraged and, in any case, must be requested by April 1.

      • Evaluation and grading: Evaluation of examinations is by a majority vote of the examining committee members. Candidates will be notified in writing by the chair of the examination committee of their success or failure within two weeks of the examinations. The comprehensive examinations are graded High Pass, Pass, Terminal Pass, or Fail. The chair of each examining committee will also provide the student with a written evaluation of his/her exam upon written request by the student. In case of failure, the comprehensive examinations may be re-taken only once, normally within one year, during which time the student must maintain course enrollment or pay the Program Fee each semester, as required by the Graduate School.

      • Parts:

        • 1. Written exam:

          • The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) A six-hour, hand-written, closed-book examination to be taken on two consecutive days (three hours per day, one question per day) without any external resources; or 2) an open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the exam in either English or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.
          • The examination will be on a reading list of approximately 50 works that the student will have discussed with the examining committee. This list will include both primary texts and criticism and may either combine the student's major and minor fields or rather focus on the major field. No more than one fourth of the texts may be closely related to the student's dissertation topic.

          • Students choosing to write the exam on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the exam.

        • 2. Journal submission:

          • Students will prepare an article for submission to a journal in their field. The article should be of 7,000-8,000 words in length. It should result from the revision and further elaboration of a piece of the student's graduate work (such as a seminar paper or M.A. thesis) or be related to the student’s dissertation. Students will need to turn in their article on the first day of the written exam.

        • 3. Oral presentation:

          • Students will give a 20-minute presentation on their journal article in front of the examining committee. A discussion will follow, which will encompass the student's presentation, the journal submission, and the written exam. The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English or Spanish) with the committee’s approval. The oral presentation will normally be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student’s examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. 

    • LINGUISTICS
      • Major Examination (written and oral components)

        • Written Exam:

          • The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book, hand-written examination to be taken on two consecutive days, four hours per day OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the examination in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.

          • Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

        • Oral Exam:

          • A two-hour oral examination, including a presentation of a paper prepared in advance, with notes or other resources as the candidate chooses. The paper, which must deal with a topic in the student's major field of specialization, is to be entirely the work of the student; only the subject or title having been approved by the major advisor. The paper may not be a version of a paper presented earlier in a course. It is to be no longer than 20 minutes, so that there is enough time for the remainder of the oral examination. This consists of questions on the paper, questions on the written examination, and other questions in the major area.

          • Students may choose to have their Ph.D. oral examinations open, closed, or semi-open. The latter means that any graduate student in the department may come to the oral presentation and then leave prior to the question period. If closed is chosen, only members of the department's faculty may attend and participate. If open is chosen, any graduate student or faculty member in the department may attend and participate. Only the committee members may participate in the evaluation of the examination. The student is to indicate to the office manager which option is preferred as part of the notice of intent to be examined. The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English, Spanish, or Portuguese) with the committee’s approval. The oral presentation normally will be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student’s examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. 

      • Minor Examination

        • The student will have a choice of examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book hand-written examination to be taken in two consecutive days, four hours per day OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the examination questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the examination in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.

        • Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

 

II. For students who enter the doctoral program with an M.A. degree

  • Pre-requisites for examination: Students must have completed all 24 course credits  by the end of the semester in which they are taking the exam (i.e., students can be enrolled in classes while preparing for the exam). All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the exam.

  • Committee: The student’s advisor will serve as chair of the examining committee. The student’s advisor must be a member of the Spanish and Portuguese graduate program faculty. The examining committee is not necessarily made up of the same members as the dissertation committee. The examining committee will consist of two permanent members: the advisor and another member of the graduate faculty. The committee members will be chosen by the student and will be appointed by the Graduate Program Director (GPD). Changes in committees already appointed may be effected with the approval of the GPD.

  • Format by Track

    • LITERATURES AND CULTURES
      • Reading list: The student will discuss the reading list with all examining committee members, who will make sure that it is appropriate, bearing in mind that the student is expected to show some familiarity with secondary, as well as primary, sources in the examination.

      • Scheduling of examinations: The examinations will be given at the convenience of the student, the examining committee, and the GPD. Requests for examinations must be made in writing to the GPD at least one month prior to the date being set. Summer examinations are discouraged and, in any case, must be requested by April 1.

      • Evaluation and grading: Evaluation of examinations is by a majority vote of the examining committee members. Candidates will be notified in writing by the chair of the examining committee of their success or failure within two weeks of the examinations. The comprehensive examinations are graded High Pass, Pass, or Fail. The chair of each examining committee will also provide the student with a written evaluation of the exam upon the student’s written request. In case of failure, the comprehensive examinations may be re-taken only once, normally within one year, during which time the student must maintain course enrollment or pay the Program Fee each semester, as required by the Graduate School.

      • Parts:

        • 1. Written exam:

          • The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) A six-hour closed-book hand-written examination to be taken on two consecutive days (three hours per day, one question per day); or 2) an open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the exam in either English or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.

          • The examination will be on a reading list of approximately 50 works that the student will have discussed with the examining committee. This list will include both primary texts and criticism and may either combine the student's major and minor fields or rather focus on the major field. No more than one fourth of the texts may be closely related to the student's dissertation topic.

          • Students choosing to write the exam on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the exam.

        • 2. Journal submission:

          • Students will prepare an article for submission to a journal in their field. The article should be of 7,000-8,000 words in length. It should result from the revision and further elaboration of a piece of the student's graduate work (such as a seminar paper or M.A. thesis) or be related to the student’s dissertation. Students will need to turn in their article on the first day of the written exam.

        • 3. Oral presentation:

          • Students will give a 20-minute presentation on their journal article in front of the examining committee. A discussion will follow, which will encompass the student's presentation, the journal submission, and the written exam. The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English, Portuguese, or Spanish) with the committee’s approval. The oral presentation will normally be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student’s examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. The written and oral examinations will not be evaluated as separate parts, but as a whole.

    • LINGUISTICS
      • Major Examination (written and oral components)

        • Written Exam

          • The student will have a choice of written examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book hand-written examination to be taken on two consecutive days, four hours per day OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the examination in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.

          • Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

        • Oral Exam:

          • A two-hour oral examination, including a presentation of a paper prepared in advance, with notes or other resources as the candidate chooses. The paper, which must deal with a topic in the student's major field of specialization, is to be entirely the work of the student; only the subject or title having been approved by the major advisor. The paper may not be a version of a paper presented earlier in a course. It is to be no longer than 20 minutes, so that there is enough time for the remainder of the oral examination. This consists of questions on the paper, questions on the written examination, and other questions in the major area.

          • The oral presentation may be done in the language of the student's choice (i.e. English, Spanish, or Portuguese) with the committee’s approval. The oral presentation normally will be within ten calendar days of the written examination by agreement with the student’s examining committee and the Graduate Program Director. The written and oral examinations will not be evaluated as separate parts, but as a whole.

      • Minor Examination

        • The student will have a choice of examinations: 1) An eight-hour closed book written examination to be taken in two consecutive days, four hours per day OR 2) An open-book examination in which the student has five calendar days from the time the examination questions are picked up to the time the exam is turned in. The student may choose to write the examination in either English, Portuguese, or Spanish with the approval of the examining committee.

        • Students choosing to write the examination on a computer are responsible for saving and backing up what they have written, so as to avoid problems meeting the deadlines for submitting the examination.

 


Ph.D. Dissertation

  • Pre-requisites for the Dissertation Defense: Students must have completed all requirements for the degree. All incompletes must be cleared and grades recorded prior to the administration of the exam.

  • Credits: In addition to the 24 course credits, 12 dissertation credits (HISPAN 899) must be taken prior to defending the dissertation.

  • Proposal: A proposal or prospectus should be submitted to the student’s dissertation committee preferably within six months, but no later than one year, after completing the qualifying examinations. A discussion of the prospectus will be held with all the members of the student’s dissertation committee, but any member of the departmental faculty can attend. This can be open or closed, as with major examinations or dissertation defenses.

  • Format: Please follow the Graduate School Guidelines for Preparing Thesis Manuscripts.

  • Committee: Students are expected to choose the members of the dissertation committee in consultation with their advisor. The student’s advisor must be a member of the Spanish and Portuguese graduate program faculty. The Graduate Program Director, in consultation with the director, will then recommend a dissertation committee to the Graduate Dean, who will make the appointment. The dissertation committee will consist of at least three members of the university's graduate faculty, two from the program -- one of them the dissertation director -- and one from outside the discipline of the student. Five College faculty can be appointed as external members of the committee. The dissertation committee is not necessarily made up of the same members as the examining committee. Once appointed, changes in the dissertation committee may be effected only with the authorization of the Graduate Dean.

  • Defense: The defense has to be open to the public. All members of a dissertation committee should be present for the dissertation defense. If a member is to participate through video conference, a formal permission needs to be granted by the Graduate School. The Dissertation Director will inform the office manager of the results of the thesis defense.

 


Other General Regulations

  • Independent Studies: Independent Studies (IS) will count as coursework towards the completion of graduate degrees. No more than 2 Independent Study courses at the Ph.D. level can be counted towards the degree. All requests for IS courses must be submitted to the Graduate Studies Committee for approval early in the semester prior to the term in which the IS to be taken. A descriptive proposal and the consent of the professor must be included in the petition presented to the GSC. A change of level in an existing course does not constitute an IS. When registering for an approved IS, the student and the professor must be sure to supply a brief title of the course.

  • Course transfers: 30 course credits beyond the B.A. are required for the M.A., even for students holding a Licenciatura or similar diploma. This also applies to students who have taken graduate-level courses in continuing education or in another university, if those credits were used to complete a degree. Students may petition the Graduate Studies Committee for the transfer of up to 6 graduate credits if those were not used to complete a degree. Credits for graduate courses that were taken in our Spanish and Portuguese program and were not used to complete a degree are transferred automatically. Only courses taken no more than 3 years prior to the student’s acceptance into the M.A. program may be transferred.

  • Incompletes: Credit for incompletes can be obtained only by finishing the work of the course before the end of one calendar year from the time of enrollment in that course. The Department strongly discourages the practice of requesting and granting incompletes. Once a year, the Graduate Studies Committee will review the cases of students with two incompletes. Appropriate warnings will be made by the Graduate Program Director and the Department Director. If the situation is not corrected in a timely fashion, the student may be dismissed and/or lose funding.

  • Statute of Limitations

    • The Graduate School sets the expected graduation term for each student based on its rules for the Statute of Limitations (SOL). These rules can be found at item "e" on the Graduate Student Handbook web page:http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/current-students/graduate-student-handbook/1-enrollment

    • The Graduate School stipulates that students who wish to request an extension of their SOL must show that “satisfactory and reasonable progress” is being made towards their degree.

    • According to the milestones that have been established for our program, satisfactory progress by the end of the initial SOL time frame means that the student must have at least completed all the coursework (with no incompletes), taken the minor candidacy exam, and be actively working with his/her adviser to take the major candidacy exam. Please notice that those are the minimum requirements for an SOL extension.

    • Requests for SOL extensions will only be considered if the minimum requirements stated in the item above are satisfied. The request should be accompanied by a "plan of work" that will consist of a list of the activities to be completed in every semester of the extension (i.e, divided in 4 semesters). The "plan of work" has to be signed by the adviser.

    • After the first SOL extension, future extensions are contingent upon the completion of at least a significant part of the activities listed on the "plan of work".

 


Policies and Practices for Appointments and Reappointments of Teaching Assistants and Associates in Spanish and Portuguese

  • Applicants to our doctoral program who check off the appropriate box in the Graduate School application form are automatically considered for Teaching Associateships (TOships) or Assistantships (TAships) when applications are reviewed by the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC).

  • Students admitted to our doctoral program are ranked by the GSC for the purposes of awarding TOships and / or TAships. The criteria used in this ranking are the same as those used to determine admission to our graduate programs: academic record, personal statement, writing sample, GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. Native or near-native fluency in either Spanish or Portuguese is a determining factor in the awarding of TOships and / or TAships.

  • Doctoral students are normally offered a full Teaching Associateship (TOship) for which they have to teach two stand alone courses per academic year, one in the fall and one in the spring; and / or Teaching Assistantships (TAship) for which they have to teach four discussion sections per academic year, two in the fall and two in the spring. Occasionally, graduate students are offered only a 1/2 TOship or TAship.

  • Students awarded a full or partial TOship or TAship upon admission have their TOship or TAship renewed subject to the following conditions: satisfactory academic progress and satisfactory teaching evaluations. Beyond the admission year, students receiving a TOship or TAship are normally renewed for 4 additional years, one year at a time (5 years in total). Students entering the doctoral program with an M.A., are normally renewed for 3 additional years (4 years in total). A “year” consists of two semesters, beginning with the semester of first entry into the Program. It is possible for students to request additional years of TOship or TAship, but these requests are contingent upon available program funding, and the approval of the GSC.

  • Fellowships in our graduate exchange programs (in Granada and Oviedo) are not taken into consideration as part of the TOship / TAship renewal process or against the student’s available years of funding as outlined above.

  • In cases where a student defers admission to the program to th e following year, the application for a TOship or TAship is again ranked and reconsidered along with those of other applicants for the year in which the student enters the program officially.

  • By April 15 of their final year of funding, all TOs and TAs will be notified that their TOship or TAship will expire at the end of the academic year. In addition, all other TOs and TAs will be informed of the status of their current TOship or TAship.

  • For further information on funding, financial aid, TOships and TAships, please visit http://www.umass.edu/spanport/programs/index.html.

 


Criteria for Teaching Assignments for Graduate Students

  • Definitions:

    • Teaching Assistants: TAs are responsible for discussion sessions and grading in courses that are primarily taught by a faculty member.

    • Teaching Associates: TOs are responsible for the individual classes they teach in courses that are supervised by a faculty member, such as 100 and 200 level courses, and some 300 level courses. These Graduate Students must be qualified to work effectively with less direct supervision.

  • Availability:

    • Graduate Students who receive a TOship through Spanish and Portuguese should expect to teach 100 and 200 level language courses for the duration of their funding.

    • 300-level courses should be primarily taught by faculty members. These courses can be assigned to Graduate Students, in the event that there are no faculty members available to teach them. Because there are fewer 300-level classes available than instructors interested in teaching them, Graduate Students should not expect to teach those classes.

  • TA Assignment for 300-level classes:

    • The professor who teaches a course with TAs will be solely responsible for selecting and training the TAs to perform their duties according to the expected academic standards.

  • TO Assignment for 300-level classes:

    • The Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) will be responsible for evaluating the petition from Graduate Students who would like to teach a 300-level course.

    • Preference will be given to Graduate Students who are making adequate progress towards their degree according to the milestones described in our guidelines.

    • Seniority will be used as one of the criteria for course assignment. Ph.D. students who are ABD will have priority over Ph.D. students who have not completed their candidacy exams.

    • Graduate Students who request a 300-level course should demonstrate their qualification to teach it. Preference will be given to students whose areas of expertise are similar to the area of the course.

    • Previous teaching performance will be used to determine eligibility to teach a 300-level course, including student evaluations, classroom observations, and the evaluation of their current or previous supervisors, such as a language program director or other faculty members with supervising role.

    • The student advisor should sign the petition to demonstrate his/her support.

    • Provided all the criteria stated above are respected, the GSC will give preference to students who have not taught 300-level courses in previous years, to ensure that the largest number of Graduate Students possible have the chance to do it.

 


FINAL NOTE:

  • In exceptional circumstances, changes in the program may be requested with the approval of the student’s advisor and the GPD, who must refer the petition to the GSC.

  • These guidelines are intended to supplement the applicable regulations of the Graduate School with which the student should be familiar. Copies of the Graduate School Bulletin, the Graduate School Handbook, the Typing Guidelines for Master’s Theses and Doctoral Dissertations and other publications can be obtained at the Graduate School.