Spanish was first taught at King’s in 1831, only two years after the College’s foundation, and the teaching of Portuguese in British universities was pioneered by King’s in the 1860s. Since the establishment of the Cervantes Chair in 1916 and the Camoens Chair in 1919, the College has become a world-leading centre for Spanish and Portuguese studies and the creation of the new Department of Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies continues this tradition of innovation and research strength. The Department offers a wide range of opportunities for specialist and cross-disciplinary supervision, from the medieval period to the present day, in literature, history, cultural studies, film, drama and music. Our commitment to all areas of Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Latin America and Lusophone Africa, combined with the wide-ranging teaching and research interests of the staff, means that we are able to offer an unrivalled variety of supervision topics for postgraduate study.
You can discover more about the research interests of particular members of staff in the Department on their staff profiles. Dissemination of our research takes a number of forms, which include: enhancing publishing and programming of the arts, shaping critical practice in musical, visual and literary culture, and influencing public policy.
Spanish, Portuguese & Latin American Studies has recently attracted major grants both from the Arts & Humanities Research Council and from UK-based charitable foundations like the Leverhulme for collaborative projects and research positions. In 2016 a team of academics led by Professor Catherine Boyle was awarded almost £3 million under the AHRC’s Open World Research Initiative (OWRI) for the Language Acts and Worldmaking project, to lead research that will seek to inform the future of the study and teaching of Modern Languages. You can find out more about the projects taking place in the Department on the Research Portal. Current projects include:
“‘Reindigenisation’ in the post-colonial Andes”, “The history of currency in pre-colonial Atlantic Africa”, “The reception in late medieval and early modern Spain of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus”, “Culture of the Spanish transition to democracy”, “Brazilian song in translation”.
Course study environment
Research students are assigned to supervisory teams comprising three members of the Department's academic staff and led by the principal supervisor; as well as providing close guidance to the student, this team manages the student's induction, including identifying training needs, and reports regularly to the Department's Postgraduate and Research Committee (PARC).
Students are expected to attend and contribute to the Department's research seminar programme. This seminar series provides an intimate but academically rigorous forum in which students can discuss theories, keep abreast of developments in their field of research and network with other students and academics. We also have strong academic links to the Institute of Latin American Studies as well as other institutes with regional specialisms. All of these institutes offer training and research opportunities, including seminars and lectures, in which our students participate strongly.
MPhil: This is a supervised research programme, involving the presentation of a thesis, followed by an oral examination. The minimum period of registration is two years, and the thesis shall be either a record of original work or an ordered and critical exposition of existing knowledge. The maximum length is 75,000 words, inclusive of footnotes and appendices, but exclusive of bibliography.
PhD :This is a prolonged research programme, lasting a minimum of three years full time, culminating in the presentation of a thesis, followed by an oral examination. The thesis must form a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the subject and afford evidence of originality, shown either by the discovery of new facts or by the exercise of independent critical power. It must be suitable for publication, either as submitted or in an abridged or modified form. The maximum length is 100,000 words, inclusive of footnotes and appendices, but exclusive of bibliography. Theses are normally required to be submitted in English. Students whose subject involves an element of study of a modern foreign language may exceptionally apply, with the support of the supervisor, to submit their thesis in a language other than English. All such applications must be made at the point of registration, supported by a detailed scholarly justification, and not for reasons of linguistic competence. They will be considered by the Research Degrees Examination Board, and if authorized, an abstract in English of up to 5,000 words must be submitted at the same time as the thesisStudents whose subject involves an element of study of a modern foreign language may exceptionally apply, with the support of the supervisor, to submit their thesis in a language other than English. All such applications must be made at the point of registration, supported by a detailed scholarly justification, and not for reasons of linguistic competence. They will be considered by the Research Degrees Examination Board, and if authorized, an abstract in English of up to 5,000 words must be submitted at the same time as the thesis. Candidates will normally register in the first instance for the MPhil degree. They may transfer to the PhD programme after no less than one year (with retrospective registration) with the consent of their supervisor and after assessment of progress.
In addition to the training offered by the Faculty and Centre for Doctoral Studies, students are encouraged to make full use of the provision available to them within the University of London. Through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, students at King’s have access to innovative training portfolios including public engagement and cultural entrepreneurship programmes. The Modern Languages Research Institute runs Saturday day schools in research skills and methods for MA students and MPhil, PhD students studying in language departments in the University of London. The Institute of Latin American Studies organises a graduate research training programme in the first two terms of the academic year, open to all students researching on Latin America in the colleges of the University of London and in other universities. The programme includes an introduction to library resources and use and is particularly concerned with methodology and issues related to fieldwork.
Head of group/division
Professor David Treece
Contact for information
Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649
fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200