Iberian and Latin American Studies (MPhil / PhD)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018, January 2019 or April 2019

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

Up to four years full-time or seven years part-time

Attendance

Regular meetings with your supervisor(s)

Other entry years for this course

2017

As people involved in research, our prime concern is with producing top-quality work that in different ways questions the boundaries of the disciplines we work in and seeks to bring new materials, theories and methods into them.

The research programme in Iberian and Latin American studies is both exciting and innovative. The expertise of staff ranges across the field - from Golden Age art to Luso-Brazilian imperial history and culture and the colonial literatures and cultures of Spanish America; from contemporary Spanish and Portuguese cinema and urban studies to Latin American literature, poetry, cinema and museum studies - and the research published by both staff and students is also ground-breaking.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation of 60,000 to 100,000 words. At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two, and after an interview. You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. 

Apart from the process of research supervision and the final examination of the thesis, each student has an annual review in which their progress is assessed. The PhD is usually three to four years of full-time study or five to seven years of part-time study. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

Find out more about studying at Birkbeck and what our students say about us.

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings.
  • Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • In the 2014 REF, Modern Languages and Linguistics achieved 100% for a research environment conducive to producing research of the highest quality, while 73% of our research was recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    A good degree with Spanish or Portuguese as a main component.

    Graduates in other subjects may be asked to take a qualifying examination.

    You will also need to submit a 2000-word research proposal prior to consideration for interview.

    International entry requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

  • Fees
    To be confirmed

    Fees and finance

    From 2018-19, PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of up to £25,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    Fees discounts: If you are a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

    The School of Arts attracts funding for studentships that ensure researchers of the highest standard can pursue their research with us. Find out more about research funding opportunities at Birkbeck.

  • Our Research Culture

    Our Research Culture

    We have built up an excellent team of research students who collaborate through departmental research seminars and are encouraged to publish and give papers at conferences. There are a number of School of Arts research events, which provide research training through the year, and a lecture series given by international experts. The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, whose International Director is Slavoj Žižek, offers masterclasses for research students, given by Žižek, Etienne Balibar and other international specialists.

    The Department hosts the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies (CILAVS), dedicated to collaborative, cross-disciplinary and comparative research on visual cultures. CILAVS includes the Ibero-American Museum of Visual Culture on the Web, which currently displays a large virtual exhibition of objects, artefacts and images from Brazil, Argentina and Chile (1880-1900). This resource is being expanded to other geographical areas, and to photography and film. CILAVS focuses our strong commitment to research in visual culture, in Renaissance and modern Spain and Portugal and in native, colonial and modern Latin America.

    We offer specialist supervision by experts who publish in their field. Key areas of research interest are: early modern Spanish culture; Golden Age art; Spanish American colonial art and cultural history; Spanish and Latin American fiction; Spanish and Latin American poetry; Spanish urban studies; childhood and youth studies in modern Spain; cultural history of Brazilian tropicality; Portuguese Asian and African colonial history; Modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cultural studies, including film, iconography, gender studies, urban studies, transcultural/subaltern studies, cultural geography and popular culture. Further core concerns of our work are cultural theory and the critical redefinition of modernity, from the experience of Spain, Portugal and Latin America.

    Interdisciplinary research projects are encouraged, and joint supervision can be arranged with other academic departments at Birkbeck.

    You will be encouraged to participate with articles for, and in the editing of, Dandelion, the School of Arts online journal for research students.

    Several members of the Department have been involved in the foundation and development of the Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies, which has been actively engaged in redefining Latin American studies.

    You will have access to computer workstations with email and internet facilities. You will also be offered workshops in research skills and methodologies during your first year of study.

    We particularly encourage students to engage with current debates, while at the same time providing a solid training in research methodology. There is a fortnightly seminar where we discuss readings in theory and methodologies, a student conference where students give papers, and a thesis-writing workshop. Staff and students also organise reading groups in order to explore particular areas of knowledge. We seek to create a mutually supportive environment, informed by discussion and dialogue.

    You are expected to participate in the Department's research events, including attending lectures, research skills sessions and other classes/workshops as appropriate.

    Find out more about our vibrant research culture and our current MPhil/PhD students and their areas of research.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. If you are considering applying for MPhil/PhD research in any of these areas, you are advised to contact the Department about your research plan before making an application.

    The research programme is particularly concerned with developing new theoretical and methodological thinking and the ways this changes the field and objects of study within Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies. Visual culture, cultural history and cultural critique are special areas of interest.

    Research supervision to MPhil and PhD level is offered in all the main areas of Spanish and Latin American culture. Research in Spanish and Latin American studies at Birkbeck focuses on: language and identity; the visual art of early Modern Spain; native cultures of Latin America; modern Spanish cultural history, cultural studies, film and visual arts; modern Latin American cultural history, film, cultural studies and literature; Brazilian and Portuguese visual geography, cultural history and museum and cultural studies; cultural theory and political philosophy.

    Current PhD research topics include:

    • Cross-cultural histories of tropical botany in Latin America
    • Culture and revolution in Portugal (1974-1975)
    • Visual and poetic works of the Brazilian and Peruvian neo-avant-garde
    • Lisbon in contemporary Portuguese cinema
    • Supernatural elements in the novellas of Maria de Zayas
    • Mexican performance art
    • Pablo Neruda’s radical poetics
    • Wearing the change: fashion in Portugal after the April Revolution
    • Imagined cities in the Dominican Republic: place, race and the quest for 'Lo Dominicano'
    • Invisible friends: questioning the representation of the court dwarf in Early Modern Spain
    • The transition from dictatorship to democracy: changes and continuities; causes and consequences
    • The struggle on stage: theater, proletarian cultures and social emancipation (1891-1934)
    • Visual representations of the Black Legend.

    For information about applying as a research student, read our guide for applicants.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply at any time during the year and start studying in October, January or April.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

  • Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in Iberian and Latin American studies is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors within the Department.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff:

    • Mari Paz Balibrea Enríquez, LicFil, MA, PhD: modern Spanish literature and cultural studies.
    • Carmen T. Fracchia, Laurea, PhD: early moden Spanish visual studies, with a focus on empire, 'race', politics and religion.
    • Professor John Kraniauskas, BA, MA, PhD: Latin American cultural history and theory, literature, film and politics.
    • Luciana Martins, BA, MSc, PhD: visuality and modernity in Latin America and the Caribbean; cinematic landscapes; urban encounters and performance; cross-cultural histories of tropical botany in Latin America; travel and image-making; cultural heritage in Latin America.
    • Maria Elena Placencia, BA, MA, PhD: (Spanish) sociopragmatics; cross- and intercultural communications; politeness phenomena.
    • Luís Trindade, BA, MA, PhD: modern Portuguese and lusophone history, literature, film and cultural studies (especially journalism and pop culture); 20th-century cultural history; militant art and Marxist political cultures; the long 1960s (especially the Carnation Revolution); fascism and nationalism; oral history; historiography.