Romance Studies Ph.D. (Ithaca)

Field of Study

Romance Studies

Program Description

The Field of Romance Studies includes faculty members from the Departments of Romance Studies, Comparative Literature, English, History, Anthropology, Near Eastern Studies, and from the Africana Studies and Research Center. It offers interdisciplinary programs in Romance languages and literatures.

Students in Romance Studies select a track in one of the literary and cultural traditions the faculty specialize in (French, Italian, or Hispanic literatures and cultures ) and choose a minor in one or two other areas from any field.

French, Hispanic, or Italian literatures and cultures. The field offers a full complement of courses in French, Hispanic, and Italian literatures. It seeks to incorporate current, speculative, and theoretical views of literature alongside historical and linguistic training.

Students choose one literature and culture track as their main field of study and research. They are expected to acquire a working knowledge of the general history of that literature, to become conversant with the social and intellectual history, and to speak and write their major language fluently. They are trained in bibliographical, linguistic, and analytical skills that will allow them to teach, conduct research, and interpret in the largest sense of the word the literature and cultural context of their choice.

Students are encouraged to study foreign languages other than the language of the track they have chosen to focus on, but such study is not required unless special linguistic competence is necessary for the student’s research. Such need is determined by the student’s Special Committee.

Students focusing in French, Hispanic, or Italian literatures and cultures usually teach at least one year of literature/culture and one year of language as part of their professional training; numerous teaching assistantships are available; teaching a Freshman Writing Seminar for the Knight Institute is also a possibility. A methodology course in language teaching, to be taken the spring semester before they begin teaching, allows beginning teaching assistants to observe and participate in classroom teaching and to attend lectures and discussion on theory and practice of teaching.

Research and study opportunities:
Students are encouraged to spend a term or year abroad to improve their language skills and/or to advance their research. Opportunities include assistantships and study opportunities at various universities abroad, and numerous archives both national and international. Funds are available for students to engage in research, language study, and conference participation, both through the Department of Romance Studies and the Graduate School.

Cornell's excellent research library has renowned collections of books, with some special collections of interest to students in the field, such as those pertaining to Dante, the French Revolution, the Witchcraft Collection, or digital archives of Latin American journals. The field also benefits from the interdisciplinary Medieval Studies Program, the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, the Society for the Humanities, the Feminism and Gender Studies Program, and the Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large program.

Contact Information

Phone: 607 255-4264

K161 Klarman Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY  14853

Concentrations by Subject

  • French literature
  • French studies
  • Hispanic literature
  • Hispanic studies
  • Italian literature
  • Italian studies


Visit the Graduate School's Tuition Rates page.

Application Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadlines:

Fall, Jan. 15; no spring admission

Requirements Summary:

Students are not admitted for a terminal master's degree. Doctoral degree candidates may earn a master's degree during their program either by writing a master's thesis or by successfully completing the Admission to Candidacy examination.

Please note: the GRE general test is not required and scores will not be accepted.

Learning Outcomes

Outcome 1: Demonstrate Advanced Research and Theoretical/Critical Skills
The ability to recognize, synthesize, and evaluate research problems, findings, and new research opportunities. Demonstrate broad knowledge of subfields and methodologies (e.g., period-specific literature, films, and other artistic forms when applicable, literary theory, literary history, and literary genres).

Outcome 2: Make an Original and Substantial Contribution to the Discipline
Undertake and complete original, publishable research in a chosen field of inquiry. Develop intellectual independence in scholarship.

Outcome 3: Demonstrate Commitment to Advancing the Values of Scholarship
Keeping abreast of advances in the field and related areas; engagement in professional societies, publications, editorial boards; the creation of a supportive, collaborative environment for learning, teaching, and mentoring; adherence to ethical standards in the discipline; listening, giving, and receiving feedback effectively.

Outcome 4: Demonstrate Professional Skills
Write and effectively present conference papers in professional forums; conception and completion of course syllabi; teaching language and language-literature bridge courses; preparation for job opportunities.