Ph.D. Program

First year Romance Studies Graduate students outside of the Duke Chapel

The Department of Romance Studies at Duke University offers doctoral programs in French and Francophone, Italian, Spanish and Latin American literatures and cultures, and an innovative Ph.D. track in comparative Romance Studies. We invite rigorous historical and theoretical approaches to the diverse sites across the globe where these languages are spoken. Our community of scholars studies diasporas and migration as much as nations; visual, media, and sonic cultures along with literary texts; and intellectual genealogies involving philosophy, critique, philology, and decolonial and postcolonial thought. We value and support the diversity of languages, epistemologies, methodologies, and histories as the core of our academic mission.

Flexible by design, our students’ courses of study in French and Francophone, Italian, Spanish and Latin American literatures and cultures are developed in close and regular consultation with faculty advisors. Working collaboratively, they craft a meaningful curriculum of coursework, develop innovative dissertation topics, and prepare students to contribute to core fields and disciplines within the academy and beyond. Our multilingual and international faculty frequently work with students across the department. For students who substantively engage two or more of these linguistic and cultural traditions, the comparative Romance Studies track provides coursework divided evenly between the two areas of specialization, teaching opportunities in both languages, and a dissertation committee that guides students in both fields. Students may apply directly to this track, or may transfer into it by the beginning of their second year in the program. 

Degree Program


Requirements Overview

Ph.D. in Romance Studies
  • French & Francophone Studies
  • Italian & European Studies
  • Romance Studies
  • Spanish & Latin American Studies
  • 14 courses (10 with MA in a related field of study)
  • Language proficiency
  • Preliminary Examination (Portfolio Format)
  • Dissertation Prospectus Workshop
  • Dissertation Defense
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training