Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does the Department of Spanish and Portuguese offer financial aid to graduate students?

Yes, we offer financial aid to all the students that we admit to our graduate program, either as a TA (Teaching Assistant), an AI (Assistant Instructor), or a scholarship or fellowship.

2. Do I need to fill out a separate application to request financial aid?

No, your application to the department is also your application for financial aid.

3. What makes me a strong candidate?

There is not one specific item in your application that determines whether you will be admitted, the Admissions Committee thoroughly reviews all application materials as part of their evaluation.

4. What documents do I need to submit to the department as part of my application?

You do not need to send any documents to the department. 

5. Do my recommenders need to submit a hard copy of their letters?

No, they do not need to submit a hard copy.

6. How long should the statement of purpose be?

It should be 750 to 1,000 words long; in English.  Be sure to include:

  • Your academic background.
  • Your plan of study within the program, to the best of your current knowledge.
  • Any experience (work, travel, etc.) outside of academia that may have helped prepare you for this course of study.
  • Your plan and goals upon completion of the degree.

7. What kind of writing sample should I send?

The writing sample should be written in Spanish or Portuguese; it can be a good term paper, a paper you presented at a conference, an article, or any publication that you may have.  The writing sample should be at least 15 pages long and at most 30 pages (double spaced). Please do not send books.

8. Do students who are admitted to the PhD program with a Master’s degree from another institution need to take a qualifying exam?

No, students who enter the PhD program with a Master’s degree from another institution will be evaluated by the faculty with whom they take classes during their first academic year. Depending on these evaluations the Executive Committee of the Graduate Studies Committee will notify each student if they may continue in the PhD program.

9. Do I need to be fluent in Portuguese to be admitted to the program?

No, not necessarily. You may fulfill your language requirement while in the program.

10. What can I expect after I have submitted all my application materials?

The Admissions Committee will review all application files and make admission decisions in January. You will be notified by late February or early March.


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    The University of Texas at Austin
    BEN 2.116
    150 W. 21st Street, Stop B3700
    Austin, TX 78712-1155
    Advising & Registration: 512-232-4506/512-232-4503; Graduate Coordinator: 512-232-4502