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.
We award a limited number of graduate assistantships and tuition credit to qualified graduate students each year. 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.
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 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.
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.
Changes to Graduate Studies admission requirements
In response to the COVID‐19 pandemic, admission requirements for graduate degree and certificate programs may have changed.
Learn more about changes to requirements
Apply and submit all required application materials to the Graduate Studies office.
- Statement of purpose: 300 - 600 words. 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 in assistantship decisions.
- Official transcripts: from all post-secondary institutions attended (regardless if a credential is earned or not).
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Scholarly writing samples (minimum 10 pages of writing)
International students: official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent directly from ETS or testing agency; copies/scans not accepted). 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. Scores on the TOEFL should be 72 IBT minimum for admission and 79 IBT minimum to be eligible for a teaching assistantship. Scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) should be 6.0 minimum for admission and 6.5 minimum to be eligible for a teaching assistantship.
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.