Skip to Content

Course Requirements

If you enter a Ph.D. program without a relevant M.A. from another institution, you will need to complete a minimum of 45 hours of graduate coursework in your first three years in the program. If you enter with a relevant M.A. from another institution, you will need to complete a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework in your first two years in the program. This coursework includes:

  • Romance Languages 681–Introduction to Graduate Study, to be taken during the first term
  • Romance Languages 528–Teaching Romance Linguistics, to be taken in the first semester in which you are to teach as a GSI. (This requirement may be waived by permission of the Elementary Language Director in the section in which you are to teach.) If you are interested in second language acquisition as a secondary field you may count this course as one of your cognates.
  • four credits hours satisfying the Rackham Graduate School's cognate requirement
  • three credit hours of 990 in preparation for preliminary examinations (to be taken in the sixth term if you enter without a relevant M.A., and in the fourth or fifth term if you enter with a relevant M.A.)

You should select courses in consultation with your mentors. Mentoring committees should express the department faculty’s commitment to the importance of breadth in graduate education, keeping in mind the many different ways in which such breadth might be conceived and related to your interests.

Second-Language Requirement
Following discussion with their mentors, students should select a second language that will be particularly relevant to their research interests (e.g., Latin for medievalists, Arabic for Maghrebian Studies, Nahuatl for Mesoamerican Colonial Studies, etc.). Students are encouraged to plan how they will satisfy this second language requirement early in their graduate studies.

Students are expected to demonstrate a reading proficiency in a second language before admission to candidacy.

This requirement can be satisfied by:

  • taking the Placement Exam and placing out of 232
  • achieving a grade of B or higher either in the University of Michigan intensive reading and translation course (113), or in the equivalent of a fourth-semester (or more advanced) course in the proposed language, taken as an undergraduate or graduate at Michigan or elsewhere, or;
  • demonstrating comprehension of an appropriate passage or passages totaling 350-400 words, approved by the examining faculty member and related to the field of intended research. Comprehension (typically in the form of a translation into the language of the student’s choice) will be evaluated by a faculty member appointed by the Graduate Chair. The evaluation will be a maximum of 2 hours in length and will be proctored by the examining faculty member in the department. The student should demonstrate comprehension in writing. The only permitted resources are hard copy dictionaries. 
  • demonstrating comprehension of an appropriate critical essay related to the field of intended research and approved by the examining faculty member. At the time of the exam, the evaluating faculty member will present the student with three to four questions aimed at assessing the student’s comprehension of the major arguments and conclusions of the critical essay. The student can respond in the language of their choice. The evaluation will be a maximum of 2 hours in length and will be proctored by the examining faculty member in the department. 

The faculty member will certify the Second Language Requirement has been satisfied by submitting to the Graduate Chair and the Graduate Program Coordinator 1) an email confirming the student demonstrated adequate comprehension and 2) a copy of the article used for the evaluation.

Please see the additional requirements for completing the Ph.D.: fourth-term reviewpreliminary examinations; and prospectus, portfolio, and dissertation.

Questions? Contact the Graduate Assistant.