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In order to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Spanish, also called a Spanish PhD, you must display an academic mastery of the Spanish language in nearly every regard. Fluency in the language is a necessity, but knowledge of the history of the language, literature, and cultures which feature Spanish as their primary language are also a necessity. Different universities around the world have different specifications to be awarded a PhD, but most tend to require university coursework, extensive research on the subject, and a written thesis.
There is no set timeline for the length of time it takes to gain fluency in a foreign language, though a few variables usually determine how long it takes a student to accomplish this feat. Natural intelligence in oral communication and other language skills can speed the process. The amount of coursework performed at the undergraduate and graduate level in the language, as well as the amount of time immersed into a physical setting where the language is spoken, can also affect how long it takes to become fluent in both verbal and written speech.
Although not usually a requirement, it is extremely common and highly recommended for people earning a Spanish PhD to spend time in a Spanish-speaking country. Many universities offer study abroad programs at the undergraduate and master's level. Mastering any language requires becoming familiar with every nuance of the spoken language, which can be difficult to pick up from non-native speakers, so living in an area where Spanish is the primary language can provide valuable experience when seeking a Spanish PhD.
The actual type of university coursework that you need to complete in order to get a Spanish PhD is not uniform around the world. Most universities require that a student have a master's degree in at least a related subject or high grades as an undergraduate before admission into their PhD program. In Canada, one cannot be admitted into a PhD program without first having completed a master's degree, which is not a requirement at American universities. In Australia and New Zealand, a student must have completed at least a bachelor's degree with an honors component before being admitted in a PhD program.
Once admission into a PhD program, the requirements to earn your degree also highly varied. In the United States and Canada, it is a requirement that a student looking to earn a Spanish PhD completes specific coursework designated by the university they are attending, while universities in the United Kingdom generally have no such requirement. Research on a subject relating to the Spanish language, whether in linguistics, literature, history, or any topic relating to Spanish culture, is also a necessity.
A Spanish PhD student must also usually complete a thesis or dissertation, in which they present their research. In many countries, the student must defend his or her research in front of a board or panel before receiving the degree. The thesis is usually then published as a credible source on Spanish studies.
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