Application Information

Applicants are encouraged to clarify any questions concerning the Admissions/GSI application procedures with the Staff Graduate Advisor at

The Department offers two Ph.D. programs: a Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures and a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures with an emphasis in Spanish. Students should become thoroughly acquainted with both degree programs (HLL and RLL) and determine which program best reflects their objectives before submitting their application.

  • Deadline for application to the Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures (HLL): December 15, 2023 (8:59PM PST)
  • Deadline for application to the Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL): January 8, 2024 (8:59PM PST)

Students are responsible for reading and complying with all application guidelines. All supporting documents listed below must be submitted by the December deadline through the University's online application. The time available to departments for the review of applications is extremely limited.  Please note that late and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Applications are accepted for Fall term only.

Required Application Materials

  • Graduate Division Admissions Application: Applicants must complete the Admission application by logging onto the site directly. The online application will become available beginning September for the following year’s Fall admission cycle. 
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation: You must obtain three letters of recommendation to support your application. Letters should be written by persons in a position to judge your academic abilities and potential in the field. They must be submitted online through the University online application. Recommendation letters must be uploaded by DECEMBER 22nd at the latest!
  • Transcripts: All undergraduate and graduate work from each institution attended. This includes foreign institutions, study abroad programs, junior colleges, and certification programs. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution with a satisfactory scholastic average of a minimum of 3.0 (B) is required. Upload unofficial transcripts with the online application for the departmental review. Official transcripts will be required if admitted.
  • GRE is no longer required 
  • TOEFL Scores: All applicants from countries/regions in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. We accept TOEFL tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and sent to us directly by the TOEFL office. For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 90 for the internet-based test (IBT).
  • For Fall 2022, tests taken before June 1, 2020 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley. The institution code for UC Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Programs. For more information visit

  • Writing Sample: Required for all applicants. Writing samples should be in the form of thesis or research paper on a topic relevant to the fields of Romance and/or Hispanic languages and literature (about 15 pages. English, Spanish, and Portuguese are accepted). Writing sample must be uploaded with the online application.
  • Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) Application: Applications for Graduate Student Instructor for the teaching of Spanish and Portuguese are required from applicants newly seeking admission to our graduate program. Candidates must complete and submit the online GSI application form (provided in the main Graduate Division Admission Application Form) with an audio recording attached to it.

Statement of Purpose: In your statement please indicate why you wish to pursue graduate studies, your goals, the intellectual field of primary interest and the topic(s) within it that you have worked on in classes, papers or trips abroad. Please explain why the topic is compelling and how you wish to develop it at Berkeley (approximately 500-1000 words). For more information, click here.

Personal Statement: Personal statement should give concrete evidence of your promise as a member of the academic community, giving the committee an image of you as a person. This is where you represent your potential to bring to your academic career a critical perspective rooted in a non-traditional educational background, or your understanding of the experiences of groups historically under-represented in higher education and your commitment to increase participation by a diversity population in higher education (approximately 500-1000 words).  For more information, click here.

Calculating GPA: If you need help calculating your GPA, please go to the following link for assistance.

IMPORTANT: For the purpose of campus-wide fellowship competitions, applicants who submit the statement of purpose and personal history statement in Spanish/Portuguese should also submit an English version of both.

FAFSA: UC Berkeley requires all applicants who are admitted to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Applications are available online at The school code for Berkeley is 001312.

Admissions Procedures and Criteria

The Departmental Committee on Admissions and Fellowships examines and evaluates all applications for admission (including those with requests for fellowships and/or teaching appointments) early in the spring semester of each year. Its recommendations concerning admission and fellowships are made to the Graduate Division by mid-February.

The Department informs all applicants recommended for admission, admission with fellowship, or admission with teaching appointment in early March; formal admission letters from the Graduate Division follow shortly.

Criteria for the selection of applicants for graduate study in the various programs offered by the Department include the following, the first four being of principal importance: closeness of previous academic record to the stated prerequisites for the program of interest, especially in breadth and strength of studies; recommendation letters, with special attention to evaluations of research potential; GPA in the B.A. (and if appropriate, in the M.A.) courses in the appropriate fields, including language proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese or Catalan; statement of purpose, showing evidence of intellectual initiative and commitment; student’s stated field of emphasis, in light of departmental offerings and fields of faculty specializations.

Funding for New Students

Multi-year University-sponsored fellowships are awarded through an annual campus wide competition administered by the Graduate Fellowship Office. Departments select nominees for fellowships from prospective applicants. Applicants are URGED to complete the fellowship application from the online admission application.

Graduate Student Instructorship

Applications for Graduate Student Instructorships for the teaching of Spanish and Portuguese are accepted from applicants newly seeking admission to a graduate program as well as from continuing graduate students. Formal appointment for students new to the University cannot be accomplished, however, until confirmation of admission is received from the Graduate Division.