Ph.D. in Latin American, Iberian, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures (LAILAB)


LAILAB General Information

The doctoral program in Latin American, Iberian, and Luso-Afro-Brazilian literatures and cultures welcomes candidates interested in interdisciplinary cultural, literary, and media studies. Our program exposes students to an array of research areas and methodologies including the environmental humanities, cinema studies, urban studies, performance studies, gender and queer studies, diaspora studies, and human rights. Coursework, workshops, lectures, film screenings, and other events expose students to cutting edge approaches in Hispanophone and Lusophone cultural studies, broadly conceived, including Spain, Portugal, Spanish America, Brazil, the Caribbean, Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Africa, Black diasporas, and more, from the early modern period through contemporary times.

Recent dissertation projects have focused on transatlantic topics such as Lorca’s legacy in Latin America,  gypsification in Cuban and Spanish film and performance, and Cuban indianos who return to Spain. Spanish American projects have focused on environmental and social apocalypse in Latin America, the Venezuelan crónica and economic crisis, political and gender violence in Colombian cinema, women silent filmmakers in Chile, Central American poetry and environmental degradation, and indigenous autonomy in Peru, Bolivia, and Mexico. We welcome comparative and transatlantic dissertation projects that engage with materials in both Spanish and Portuguese; recent projects have compared the literature of the Amazonian rubber boom in Peru and Brazil, and political violence in Portugal, Angola and Colombia. A current dissertation explores Afro and Indigenous futurisms in Spanish American and Brazilian literature and film.

As our TAs gain experience teaching Spanish or Portuguese, they are given the opportunity to teach higher-level undergraduate courses, both in language and in literature. Student progress throughout the program is carefully monitored, so that their time to degree is consonant with their individual research program. In the recent past, our PhDs have been offered tenure-track positions at Brigham Young University, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of North Florida, Jacksonville State University, Gettysburg College, and Scripps College. We actively recruit students through our web page as well as department-funded recruitment trips. Our graduate student population is comprised of native born U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of many countries in the Spanish-speaking world and beyond. Approximately half of our current faculty and graduate students are native Spanish speakers.

Admission to our doctoral programs is competitive and generally includes four years of funding, consisting of three years of teaching assistantship and one year of fellowship. The TA stipend for the 2022-2023 academic year is approximately $31,000. Health insurance is provided. In addition, we offer all Ph.D. students $2,000 per year for research and conferences.

Graduate Program Consortium
Rutgers participates in a regional consortium of graduate programs at other universities. These include Princeton University, NYU, Columbia, Fordham, and the CUNY Graduate Center. Students may take elective courses at these universities. All students have access to the library collections of all the consortium universities

Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificates
Many of our students pursue a graduate certificate in another field via elective courses. Students most frequently opt for certificates in Women and Gender Studies, Cinema Studies, Africana Studies, Cognitive Psychology, Environmental Studies, and World Languages Teaching.

A limited number of summer teaching positions are available, paid at the official summer school rate. The department runs study abroad programs in Cuzco, Peru and Salamanca, Spain in the summer and doctoral students are eligible to apply as program assistants. Study abroad assistants are paid a salary as well as all travel expenses.

Yzur: Biannual Journal of Literature, Culture and Artistic Creation
Yzur is the Department of Spanish and Portuguese’s biannual journal of literature, culture, and artistic creation at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. In 2001, Yzur took its first steps and travelled between worlds thanks to a group of graduate students from Rutgers. In 2018, after being dormant for a few years, Yzur returns with the current generation of graduate students in the department to follow and renew this literary legacy. Yzur publishes texts (poetry, fiction, essays) and visual art related to Spain and Latin America. The selected works will be published two times a year in the journal’s web site:


Comprehensive Examination and Dissertation Prospectus

Dissertation: Research Credits

Ph.D. in LAILAB Learning Goals