Research course


University of Cambridge · Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Distinction).

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

The Spanish and Portuguese Section offers undergraduate and graduate teaching in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan. It is unique in its commitment to exploring the trans-historical and cross-cultural interrelations between all these language areas and their corresponding cultural formations. The research interests of its academic staff thus span a wide range of areas including Medieval and Golden Age Spanish cultures and their consolidation in dialogue with the diverse cultures and faith systems of Africa and the "New World"; the literature, art and cinema of Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa; the literature of modern Spain and its relationship with the Enlightenment, colonialism, and modernity; the cinema of the Ibero-American world from early silent film through to its avant-garde, indigenous, popular and transnational dimensions today; and the culture of Catalonia from its rebirth in the Renaixença, through its resistance to Franquismo in literature and film, to its vibrant contemporary artistic, architectural and cinematographic expressions.

The Section also has one of the largest contingents of Latin American specialists in the United Kingdom, whose interests span the poetry and chronicles of the colonial period; the formation of national cultures in post-Independence Spanish America and Brazil; the experimental literatures of the Spanish American "Boom"; and the literature, cinema, and visual art produced in the interlocking contexts of post-dictatorship, mass urbanisation, narcotráfico and neo-liberal globalisation. The intellectual vitality of the Section is further evidenced by a dynamic research culture of public lectures, section seminars, graduate workshops and conferences, all of which add to a close-knit system of graduate supervision and mentoring that encourages both individual and collective endeavour within the section.

In British universities, the PhD (Doctorate of Philosophy) is traditionally awarded solely on the basis of a thesis, a substantial piece of writing which reports original research into a closely defined area of enquiry. The completion of the PhD thesis is generally expected to take three years, and most funding is based on this assumption. It's also possible to take a part-time route through research degrees, the expected timeframe for which would be five years.

During your research, you will have the opportunity to work closely with a supervisor who is a specialist in your research area. You might reasonably expect to see your supervisor fortnightly or at least three times per term. In addition to your supervisor, you will normally also be able to draw on the help and support of other members of the Section with expertise in your field of study

In addition to the specialist supervising provided by the Section, the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics runs a programme of professional training for the benefit of all research students. The programme includes seminars and workshops on library resources, giving conference papers, publishing, applications and interviews, and teaching skills. The School of Arts and Humanities runs a central programme covering a range of skills relevant to doctoral students. Doctoral students may also be offered opportunities to do small group teaching for the undergraduate colleges and, in some cases, language teaching for the Faculty.

The Spanish and Portuguese Section and the Centre of Latin American Studies are pleased to announce a new Consortium in Latin American Cultural Studies for PhD students. This new flexible arrangement will foster a greater exchange of ideas between students and scholars in the Section and the Centre and provide more opportunities for them to access relevant training, funding and other resources.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    60-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details