The emphasis of the Graduate Program in Spanish and Portuguese is on doctoral study, of which the M.A. degree is viewed as the initial phase. Applications are accepted only for full-time work in the Ph.D. program beginning in the fall semester. Applications for a terminal M.A. degree or part-time study are not generally considered. Students interested in part-time study or a terminal Master's Degree (in particular, the Master of Liberal Arts) should contact the University of Pennsylvania's College of Liberal and Professional Studies.


Instructions, forms, and a link to the online application are located here.


Admissions Requirements

Candidates for admissions to the Ph.D. program should have fluency in Spanish as well as an excellent undergraduate record, strong letters of recommendation, and demonstrated skill in academic writing.

We encourage you to submit an online application, which you can create by clicking here.

Following are the required components of the application, which MUST be received by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences via an online application no later than the deadline on December 15.


  • Copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts - Your application must include an UNOFFICIAL transcript from any and all institutions where you did previous academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The transcripts should be scanned and submitted electronically with your application. If you are admitted to the program, you will be required to confirm the information by sending an official copy of the transcript before matriculating.

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • A personal statement (1-2 pages in length) - Your personal statement is an important part of your application. The admissions committee looks not only at the general background and qualifications of the applicants, but also at the fit between your specific goals and interests, and the kind of research conducted by the members of the graduate group.

  • A writing sample in Spanish (10-15 pages) - A writing sample, such as a substantial term paper or thesis from previous undergraduate or graduate work, is necessary for the faculty to assess your research experience. The document should be converted to .pdf format and submitted electronically with your application. In the event that your writing sample exceeds the application platform's file size limit, you may e-mail the document to the Graduate Coordinator.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores - This applies to all international students who are not native speakers of English, unless they have received a post-secondary degree at an American college or university. Please arrange to take the TOEFL test (if applicable) by a date that will guarantee that your scores will be forwarded to the University of Pennsylvania by the deadline.  For testing dates and locations, refer to TOEFL. The Institution Code for the University of Pennsylvania is 2926. You do not have to include the Department/ Major Field Code.

The application fee is $90.00. Payments must be made by credit card, check, or international postal money order written in U.S. currency and made payable to the "Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania."


Instructions, forms, and a link to the online application are located here


Applicants must ensure that their complete materials — including transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation, personal statement, and supporting documents — are submitted by December 15 in order to be considered for financial aid from or through the university. Please do not telephone the Graduate Division or the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to confirm their arrival; we will contact you if any materials are missing.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty, and staff from diverse backgrounds.  The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran in the administration of education policies, programs or activities, admissions policies, scholarship and loan awards, athletic or other University administered programs or employment.  Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to Executive Director, Office of Affirmative Action, 1133 Blockley Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021 or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).


For Further Information

Laura Flippin
Graduate Coordinator
University of Pennsylvania
514 Williams Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Telephone: (215) 898-1980
Fax: (215) 898-0933