Joint Track

Joint Track in Romance Languages and Literatures

The Joint Track in Romance Languages offers highly-qualified students a PhD in two Romance languages and literatures, exploring the two fields more in depth than a major/minor program allows them to do. Students pursuing the Joint Track should have equal command of the two languages and literatures, and have a sufficiently clear idea of their fields of interest to design an appropriate, consistent, and feasible individualized course of study that explores various intellectual paths and establishes links across languages. Qualified students may be directly admitted into the Joint Track program or after one year of proven academic excellence in their single track graduate program in the Department. Candidates must explain to both of the relevant sections and to the Director of Graduate Studies, their intellectual reasons for combining two languages and define the areas of interests they wish to explore in their course of study. Criteria for selection into the Joint Track include language proficiency, strong literary and cultural foundations in both literatures and languages, and intellectual focus. A Joint Track student may revert back to a single track if it appears that this is not the best plan of graduate study for him or her.

Course Requirements for the Joint Track:

Eighteen courses (that is, two more than in the single track), to be completed in two years. The course distribution between the two languages should be fairly balanced, e.g.: 9:9 or 8:10, and may include Romance Studies courses. (It must include Romance Studies 201.) Students may take a maximum of two courses outside of the Department.

Students must satisfy mandatory course requirements in each of their two languages.


Each Joint Track student has one faculty advisor in each language. Advisors are designated prior to enrollment, according to the student’s chosen field and stated interests. Students may change advisors later on after discussion with their respective section head. Advisors are in charge of supervising the plan of studies and of organizing the General Examinations.

Joint Track General Examinations


Candidates are expected to demonstrate breadth of knowledge and acquaintance with their fields, to define their area of specialization and show their mastery of it, and to present their methodology and perspective. As they move to the status of ABD, candidates are recognized as sufficiently prepared to teach broad overviews of their fields to non-specialists.


The General Examination is taken in May, during the spring term of the third year in the graduate program. In some cases, and with approval of advisors, it may be taken in December of the fall term of the third year.

Examination Committee

The DGS constitutes an examination committee for each student at the end of their second year. The committee’s role is to advise candidates as they create their lists and draft their essays, and to administer the examination. Normally, one of the two academic advisors of the candidate chairs the committee. It comprises at least two RLL faculty members, and at least one faculty member who represents each of the candidate's fields. When possible, the committee should include more than two RLL faculty, including faculty members representing areas of specialization other than the student's chosen area. In some cases, a faculty member from another department may join the committee.

Lists of Materials

After the end of their second year, each candidate starts creating three lists, comprising in total about 100 to 120 items. The three lists should involve materials coming from both fields.

The first list constitutes the "field" covering a wide chronological and spatial array including several subfields (subfields are defined by each section). It comprises about 60 to 70 items and provides coverage in the two romance languages and literatures chosen.

The second list constitutes the "area" and represents the specialization of the student. It comprises about 30 to 40 items.

The third list constitutes the "prospectus list" and introduces the problem and specific sub-areas the candidate will address in the dissertation. It comprises about 10 items.

The lists are structured chronologically or geographically. They are expected to be balanced in such a way that the field list complements the area and prospectus list, rather than overlapping with them. Therefore, the field list should mostly comprise subfields that are not the area of specialization of the candidate.

Sections may decide to substitute course work for a subfield, which then may not be represented in their lists. This should be clearly explained to new students entering the program, so they can choose their courses judiciously. It is up to the sections to decide how many subfields need to be represented in the lists, and how many courses can be accepted as substitutes. It is also up to the sections to decide what texts or items need to be present on the lists of all students.

Dual Track Dissertation

The successful dual track dissertation should be deeply informed by issues pertinent to both literatures.


To see our program requirements, see the GSAS Policies.