Doctoral Tracks

The Department of Romance Studies at Duke University offers doctoral programs in French and Francophone, Italian, Spanish and Latin American literatures and culture. It also offers an innovative Ph.D. track in comparative Romance Studies for students who want to combine two linguistic traditions in their research plans.

The department has about many resident students in the various programs and fields. The academic needs of individual students are met through regular advising and close work with members of the faculty. The aim is to provide a meaningfully adjusted course of study in light of the different individual interests and strengths that graduate students bring to the department. A Graduate Committee comprised of faculty and students constitutes the official link between the departmental faculty and the student body.

Students and faculty also benefit from the Triangle Research Library Network, which gives access to the main libraries of the Triangle area.

The Department of Romance Studies at Duke University has a distinguished tradition of doctoral programs in French literatures. Through collaboration with other departments and programs, the Graduate Program in Literature and programs in Women's Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Canadian and Québec Studies, Afro-American Studies, among others, numerous opportunities exist for interdisciplinary study and research. Individual interests and disciplinary combinations thus find ample room for development in a rich and diversified institutional setting.

The Duke Difference

The Duke Department of Romance Studies has a nationally and internationally recognized faculty of specialists in many fields and critical methods. The Duke learning environment includes exceptional library and computer facilities in the humanities. Perkins Library, one of the nation's major research libraries, houses among others the Gustave Lanson Collection in French. During the academic year, the department sponsors numerous lectures and visits by distinguished critics and writers. The department provides computer facilities and instruction in the use of computer-assisted teaching and research programs, including on-line textual databases.

The PhD track in Italian Studies emphasizing Italian literature and culture from a solid historical and theoretical perspective. Our program takes advantage of five regular-rank professors of Italian from the Department of Romance Studies, and of the affiliated faculty in departments and programs such as Art History, Cultural Anthropology, English, Film/Video/Digital Studies, History, International Comparative Area Studies, Literature, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Women’s Studies and Theater Studies.  Flexible in design, a student's individual course of study is developed in close and regular consultation with members of the faculty in order to provide a meaningful curriculum that responds to a student's particular interests and strengths, while preparing the student in all the relevant and necessary fields of Italian Studies.

The Duke Difference

The Duke Department of Romance Studies has a nationally and internationally recognized faculty of specialists in many fields and critical methods. The Duke learning environment  includes exceptional library and computer facilities in the humanities, including the Franklin Humanities Institute and the nearby National Humanities Center, which organize many events of relevance for scholars of Italian Studies. Perkins Library, one of the nation's major research libraries, houses among others the Guido Mazzoni Collection, which comprises over 49,000 rare and hard-to-find Italian pamphlets, newspapers, clippings, small volumes, librettos, epithalamia, and broadsides from the late Sixteenth century to 1943. Also regularly accessible to our students are the resources of, as well as the classes offered by, the nearby Italian Studies program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, listed here, and those available at our affiliated program at the University of Bologna.

The Romance Studies PhD is a vigorous course of study that encompasses the comparative study of two or more Romance languages and cultural traditions.

In general, coursework should be divided evenly between the two areas of specialization. Exceptions to this rule can be made in consultation with faculty advisors and the Director of Graduate Studies in order to take into consideration such factors as course availability and prior training.  Each comparative Romance Studies course can only count once towards fulfilling the course requirements within specific sections. 

Students already enrolled in Spanish or French can petition by the beginning of their second year to enter the Romance Studies track. Principle areas of study include: French/Francophone, Italian/Italophone, Luso-Brazilian, Spanish/Latin American. Since special abilities and intellectual interests of certain graduate students may call for flexibility in application of the program rules, a student's advisory committee may recommend more than the usual number of outside courses or independent reading courses. Reading proficiency in two or more languages is required for this track.

The Duke Difference

The Duke Department of Romance Studies has a nationally and internationally recognized faculty of specialists in many fields and critical methods. The Duke learning environment includes exceptional library and computer facilities in the humanities. Perkins Library, one of the nation's major research libraries, houses among others the Gustave Lanson Collection in French and the Pérez de Velasco Collection in Latin American Studies. During the academic year, the department sponsors numerous lectures and visits by distinguished critics and writers. The department provides computer facilities and instruction in the use of computer-assisted teaching and research programs, including on-line textual databases. Examples of projects in the Romance Studies track include the study of the comparative study of the Caribbeans; Italian  philosophy of fascism and its translation in Francoist Spain; the literature of migration; Mediterranean Studies; European Studies; the politics of national unification; the development of Medieval lyric poetry; the novella tradition; Petrarchism and the diffusion of the sonnet; Renaissance cultural exchanges; thematic explorations such as French and Italian encounters with the Ottoman Empire.

The Department of Romance Studies at Duke University has a distinguished tradition of doctoral programs in Hispanic literatures. Through collaboration with other departments and programs-the Graduate Program in Literature and programs in Women's Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Afro-American Studies, and Latin American Studies, among others-numerous opportunities exist for interdisciplinary study and research. Individual interests and disciplinary combinations thus find ample room for development in a rich and diversified institutional setting.

The Duke Difference

The Duke Department of Romance Studies has a nationally and internationally recognized faculty of specialists in many fields and critical methods. The Duke learning environment includes exceptional library and computer facilities in the humanities. Perkins Library, one of the nation's major research libraries, houses among others the Pérez de Velasco Collection in Latin American Studies. During the academic year, the department sponsors numerous lectures and visits by distinguished critics and writers. The department provides computer facilities and instruction in the use of computer-assisted teaching and research programs, including on-line textual databases.