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Ph.D. in Spanish with a Concentration in US Latino Literature, Language and Culture

Arte Público Press author reading at Houston’s Discovery Green


The Department of Hispanic Studies of the University of Houston is the first and only in the nation to offer a Ph.D. degree in Spanish with a concentration in the literature, language and culture of Latinos of the United States. Latino or Hispanic peoples have resided in the portion of North American that became the United States before the founding of the British colonies and the American Republic. Over the course of centuries, a native Latino culture developed, consistently enriched by immigrants and exiles from Spanish-speaking countries producing what is today the largest minority population in the United States. To meet the educational and cultural needs of what eventually will be a third of the national population, the Department of Hispanic Studies has created the US Latino concentration with content and methodologies not only for teaching the US Latino heritage language, literature and culture, but also for researching and preserving them. The concentration provides ample opportunities for students to conduct research and report on their work at conferences as well as to publish their findings.

scanning-historic-documents.jpg Graduate assistants scanning and creating
metadata for historic documents at Recovery

Research assistants at Arte Público Press and Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage gain hands-on experience in the publication of books and electronic databases of texts, the creation and management of archives, the advanced technologies involved in Digital Humanities and the details of cultural production. Teaching assistants gain hands-on experience in heritage-language education methods and practice.

The US Latino concentration offers a state-of-the art curriculum taught by internationally renowned and award-winning scholars. Their research and publications lead the field and represent the visionary approaches and content that eventually become staple for textbooks and curriculum at the general education, undergraduate and graduate levels throughout the United States. This explains the great success in placement of Ph.D. graduates of the program, many of whom have now been tenured at such institutions as the Appalachian State University, Lamar University, North Carolina State University, Sam Houston State University, University of Houston Downtown, University of Massachusetts, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the University of Texas Rio Grande, among many others.

The concentration allows for either specialization in literature or linguistics, with opportunities for hands-on practice in teaching heritage language to undergraduates and in researching the Latino legacy as research assistants at Arte Público Press, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage and US Latino Digital Humanities.

Among the courses offered for the Ph.D. in Spanish with the US Latino concentration are:

  • Methods of Research in US Hispanic Literature and Linguistics
  • US Hispanic Literature Survey
  • The Literature of Immigration
  • The Literature of Exile
  • US Latino Theater
  • US Latino Children’s Literature
  • US Hispanic Culture and Civilization
  • Sociolinguistic Aspects of US Spanish
  • Methods for Teaching Spanish to Heritage Learners
  • US Latino Film
  • Spanish Language as a Resource in the US Professions
  • Research in Heritage Language Education
  • US Spanish Dialectology

In addition, the concentration also offers a Graduate Certificate in Spanish as a Heritage Language.


Arte Público Press is the nation’s oldest, largest and most distinguished publisher of literature by Latinos of the United States. In 2019, the press was awarded the National Book Critics Lifetime Achievement Award.

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage is an international program that collects and preserves hundreds of thousands of texts written by Latinos of the United States from the colonial period to the present, digitizes them, publishes them and integrates them into the curriculum.

US Latino Digital Humanities is the international center for the research and teaching of DH methodologies based on Latino culture of the United States. USLDH conducts advanced research and prepares scholars from throughout the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean in this new and exciting field.