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Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory

The PhD in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory builds on the success and potential of existing undergraduate and graduate Portuguese programs at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

The unique demographics of Southeastern Massachusetts, with its large proportion of Portuguese speakers from Portuguese, Brazilian and Cape Verdean descent, has long been an important factor in supporting the growth and development of the field of Luso-Afro-Brazilian studies at UMass Dartmouth.

The PhD program draws on the wide range of multidisciplinary scholarly competence represented by the faculty working on our campus. With six tenure-track faculty, all of whom teach graduate courses in the MA and PhD programs, the Department of Portuguese is the largest Portuguese program in the nation.

The PhD in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies and Theory requires a minimum of 54 graduate course credits and 12 dissertation credits. Successful applicants to the program who hold an MA degree from UMass Dartmouth or another institution may be allowed to transfer up to a maximum of 30 credits from the MA level toward their doctoral degree coursework.

Required Coursework

Required coursework comprises a minimum of 6 courses (18 credits) in 600- and 700-level seminars, including a minimum of 2 courses (6 credits) at the 700 level, one of which must be POR 710, Literary and Cultural Theory. The remaining 6 credits may be taken at the 500 level, either in the Department of Portuguese or from an approved list of courses in other departments.

PhD General Examination

The General Examination takes place in the candidate's last semester of coursework and consists of an eight-hour (2 x 4hr.) written exam and an oral exam. The oral exam is to be taken within a week of the written examination and serves the purpose of clarifying and expanding upon the candidate's answers to the written exam's questions.

Approval of Dissertation Proposal

A formal oral presentation and defense of the PhD dissertation proposal takes place in the same semester as the General Examination, but at least two weeks later. The candidate submits a 15-page written prospectus of the dissertation, presents it before the Graduate Studies Committee and answers questions and addresses suggestions and concerns raised by the members of the committee.

PhD Dissertation

Each candidate's Dissertation Committee, consisting of at least three faculty members and chaired by the candidate's graduate advisor, monitors the dissertation's timely progress. Presentation and defense of a satisfactory dissertation fulfills the degree requirements. The dissertation defense consists of a public lecture on the dissertation and a subsequent oral examination by the candidate's dissertation committee.

A limited number of assistantships are available on a competitive basis. This award is subject to the work needs of the position and department, your satisfactory performance of duties, your academic record, and availability of funds, and may be subject to change.

Learn more about assistantships at UMass Dartmouth

University requirements for graduate admissions

  • Submit an application via the online portal. Be sure to provide your full legal name and to capitalize the first letter of all proper nouns.
  • Pay non-refundable $60 application fee (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa) via the online portal. For Nursing applicants, the non-refundable application fee is $75.
  • Statement of Purpose, minimum 300 words. Unless otherwise indicated in the program requirement details, indicate your graduate study objectives, research interests and experience, and business or industry experience if applicable. If you are applying for a teaching or research assistantship, include any special skills or experience that would assist us in making assistantship decisions.
  • Resume
  • Transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless of whether a credential is earned or not). Unofficial transcripts are accepted for admissions application review, once enrolled a final official transcript is required. International students applying for Data Science must submit semester-by-semester transcripts as well as consolidated transcripts. 
  • Many programs have specific recommendations/requirements, please see the additional program-specific requirements for more information.
  • International students: official TOEFL, IELTS, Pearson PTE or Duolingo (if accepted by program) score. Unofficial scores are accepted for admissions application review, once enrolled official scores are required and must be sent by the testing agency (copies/scans not accepted). This is required of any applicant who did not earn a bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited academic institution in the U.S. or accepted English-speaking country, see exemptions for more details. The Duolingo test is not accepted for the following programs: Art Education, Biology/Marine Biology, Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory, Marine Science and Technology (MS, PSM, PhD), Nursing (MS, DNP, PhD), Portuguese Studies, Professional Writing and Communication, Psychology (ABA, Clinical, Research), and Public Policy.

Program-specific requirements

Candidates must submit the required application materials, university requirements and program-specific requirements, for consideration.

  • Scholarly writing sample in Portuguese (minimum 10 pages of writing).
  • GRE score — recommended especially for assistantship consideration, not required.
  • 3 letters of recommendation. Applicants will be required to provide the recommender's name and email address so we can contact the recommender for the letter of recommendation.

Program deadlines

Luso-Afro-Brazilian Studies & Theory Faculty

With six tenure-track faculty, all of whom teach graduate courses in the MA and PhD programs, the Department of Portuguese is the largest Portuguese program in the nation. Additionally, there are nine faculty members within the university whose scholarly expertise falls largely or primarily in the area of Portuguese, Brazilian, or Lusophone African studies and who are formally affiliated with the graduate programs in Portuguese.

Also, one graduate course per academic year is taught by the occupant of the Hélio and Amélia Pedroso/Luso-American Foundation Endowed Chair in Portuguese Studies, which brings to UMass Dartmouth renowned senior scholars in the field for semester-long periods of teaching and research. 

Anna Klobucka
Dario Borim
Glaucia Silva
Victor Mendes