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Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies PhD

  Faculty of Arts & Humanities

About the Programme

About Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies PhD

Spanish was first taught at King’s in 1831, and the teaching of Portuguese in British universities was pioneered by King’s in the 1860s. Since the establishment of the Cervantes Chair in 1916 and the Camoens Chair in 1919, King's has become a world-leading centre for Spanish and Portuguese studies and the creation of the new Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies continues this tradition of innovation and research strength. The Department offers a wide range of opportunities for specialist and cross-disciplinary supervision, from the medieval period to the present day, in literature, history, cultural studies, film, drama and music. Our commitment to all areas of Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Latin America and Lusophone Africa, combined with the wide-ranging teaching and research interests of the staff, means that we are able to offer an unrivalled variety of supervision topics for postgraduate study.

Latest REF rankings: Spanish, Portuguese & American Studies research impact rated 87.5%at ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*) and 100% for ‘world leading’ (4*) research environment (REF 2021).

Current number of academic staff: 19

Current number of research students: 31

Recent publications:

  • Lima Barreto: Sátiras e outras subversões
  • The Basque City: The Political Economy of Nation Building
  • Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap
  • Brokers of Change: Atlantic Commerce and Cultures in Pre-Colonial Western Africa

Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies has recently attracted major grants both from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and from UK-based charitable foundations like the Leverhulme for collaborative projects and research positions. In 2016 a team of academics led by Professor Catherine Boyle was awarded almost £3 million under the AHRC's Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) for the Language Acts and World-making project, to lead research that will seek to inform the future of the study and teaching of Modern Languages.

Course study environment

Research students are assigned to supervisory teams comprising three members of the Department's academic staff and led by the principal supervisor; as well as providing close guidance to the student, this team manages the student's induction, including identifying training needs, and reports regularly to the Department's Postgraduate and Research Committee (PARC).

Students are expected to attend and contribute to the Department's research seminar programme. This seminar series provides an intimate but academically rigorous forum in which students can discuss theories, keep abreast of developments in their field of research and network with other students and academics. We also have strong academic links to the Institute of Latin American Studies as well as other institutes with regional specialisms. All of these institutes offer training and research opportunities, including seminars and lectures, in which our students participate strongly.

The PhD is a prolonged research programme, lasting a minimum of three years full time, culminating in the presentation of a thesis, followed by an oral examination. The thesis must form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality, shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power. It must be suitable for publication, either as submitted or in an abridged or modified form.

Postgraduate training

In addition to the training offered by the Faculty and Centre for Doctoral Studies, students are encouraged to make full use of the provision available to them within the University of London. Through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, students at King’s have access to innovative training portfolios including public engagement and cultural entrepreneurship programmes. The Modern Languages Research Institute runs Saturday day schools in research skills and methods for MA students and MPhil, PhD students studying in language departments in the University of London. The Institute of Latin American Studies organises a graduate research training programme in the first two terms of the academic year, open to all students researching on Latin America in the colleges of the University of London and in other universities. The programme includes an introduction to library resources and use and is particularly concerned with methodology and issues related to fieldwork.

More information can be found here.

Funding Notes

Find out more information about fees on our course web page on the King’s website: View Website

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