Iberian and Latin American Cultures Graduate Program

The Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford University supports doctoral study in the literatures and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula; Latin America, including Brazil; and the Spanish-speaking United States. Our five-year Ph.D. program affords unusual flexibility. Core faculty in the department offer a broad geographic, linguistic, and intellectual range of approaches to culture, encompassing literature, history, philosophy, political thought, cinema, memory studies, literary theory, environmental humanities, and linguistic anthropology. Coupled with geographic breadth, the program offers historical depth, training students in the contemporary and modern stages of the pertinent literary cultures, as well as in the colonial, early modern, and medieval sources of the same. For detailed information on the areas of research of the our faculty, click here.

As an integral part of the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages, Iberian and Latin American Cultures at Stanford is uniquely positioned within the field at large to engage in interdisciplinary and comparative research, informed both by the latest trends in the profession and by enduring legacies and methodologies. Within the Division, there is a plethora of intellectual exchange with peers in cognate departments, including team-taught seminars, focal groups, research groups, lecture series, graduate conferences, among others. Initiatives sponsored by the Division's Research Unit and interdepartmental programs across the Stanford campus contribute to the uniquely dynamic character of the program. 

The department is a hub for distinguished scholars from around the world. In addition to a capacious program of faculty and student-led conferences and talks, we host visiting faculty through ongoing rotating programs. These include the Josep Pla Visiting Chair in Catalan Studies and the Tinker Professorship in Latin American Studies, in collaboration, respectively, with the Iberian Studies Program at the Europe Center and the Center for Latin American Studies. Visitors add considerable breadth to the department's regular offerings and become significant resources for dissertation research. 

The department upholds the highest intellectual standards through personalized guidance of graduate students, encouraging first-rate scholarship in Latin American Cultures and pioneering work in Iberian Studies. Graduate students have ample opportunity to present their work. They are encouraged to prepare their best essays for publication and given ample help to do so. Graduate students in the department receive excellent training in second language pedagogy, with an opportunity to teach for at least five quarters. Language instruction takes place in the Stanford Language Center. Further training in teaching literature and culture is available in the department by working with faculty either as a teaching assistant or co-instructor. It is also possible to teach in one of the cross-disciplinary programs, such as COLLEGE (Civic, Liberal, and Global Education). Our Ph.D.s graduate with an unusual combination of skills and cultural breadth, qualifying them to compete for a range of academic and non-academic positions. Our Ph.D.s have been successful in obtaining positions in research universities and small liberal arts colleges, as well as in administration and alternative professional venues. Our M.A.s have acquired valuable research and humanistic skills for foreign service and law careers. Graduate students may also take advantage of the resources available in Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning, where highly qualified staff provides support and training in public speaking and presentations, dissertation writing, effective teaching, and other professional skills.

Via the Division, the program has a unique awareness of the interconnections between the literatures under its purview and the various traditions originating in Europe; via the various global initiatives at Stanford, the program considers the connections of Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan with the world at large. Stanford has been repeatedly voted the top university in the world in the arts and humanities.

Doctoral students focused on Latin American cultures must demonstrate or acquire proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese. They also have the opportunity to incorporate Quechua, Nahuatl, or other Native American languages into their scholarship. Students focused on Iberian Studies must acquire proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan.

For more detailed information on our program, please see the corresponding pages in the Stanford Bulletin:


Graduate Program Application Details

Lisa Surwillo

Lisa Surwillo
Director of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 222
(650) 723-2175
surwillo [at] stanford.edu (surwillo[at]stanford[dot]edu)

John Giammalva - Profile Photo

John Giammalva
In Memoriam, Student Services Manager
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 127
(650) 279-3630
dlclstudentservices [at] stanford.edu (dlclstudentservices[at]stanford[dot]edu)