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Click here to download a PDF copy of the Department of Romance Studies Graduate Student Handbook.

ROMS Program Requirements and Procedures

General information relating to requirements of the Graduate School can be found in the Graduate School Handbook of the University of North Carolina. Information that is specific to the Department of Romance Studies (ROMS) is provided here, particularly as it applies to the graduate program. It should be noted that the information in this Handbook compliments and does not supersede that found in the Graduate School Handbook.

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The French, Italian, Spanish, and Medieval and Early Modern Graduate Advisors meet with new students during orientation week to introduce them to the departmental programs and to assist them in registration. They will help students develop a program of study and choose their courses during each fall and spring registration period. The Advisors will also help students choose a supporting certificate program, if they wish to pursue one. Students in the coursework phase of the program are strongly encouraged to meet with their Graduate Advisor to discuss course selections each semester.  Students should also obtain their Advisor’s permission to add or drop a course, but they make the ultimate decision as to what courses to take. During course work, students should take courses with as many professors and in as many areas as their time allows, working to acquire a comprehensive understanding of the literature of their major; the courses they take should help them work through a substantial portion of the qualifying exam reading list. In year three students should continue to develop their comprehensive knowledge by filling the gaps they may have, to develop further their knowledge of their field of specialization, to work on their supporting certificate program (if they have one), and to acquire the critical and theoretical tools that will help them write their dissertation.

The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) oversees all student programs in cooperation with the Graduate Advisors to be sure students are making steady progress toward their degree. He or she can answer programmatic questions or discuss anything that students failed to address with their Graduate Advisor. The role of the DGS is explained in full here:

In addition to the Graduate Advisor and the DGS, the thesis/dissertation director can help students to create a program of study. Students must choose a thesis substitute or dissertation director by the time they are ready to enroll in 992 (thesis substitute credits) or 994 (dissertation credits). However, they can certainly develop a mentoring relationship with a professor on an informal basis earlier in the program if they know with whom they would like to work. In this case, students are welcome to consult their intended director for advice about their program of study and about the supporting certificate program.

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Course Requirements

The standard sequence of courses and assessments is as follows:

1stROML 700 + 2 courses3 Courses
2nd3 CoursesQualifying Exams + Research Paper (Thesis Substitute) credits (992) + 1 or 2 Courses if appropriate (to be discussed with advisor)
3rd3 Courses3 Courses
4thDissertation credits (994) + 2 courses + written examination (offered either in Fall or Spring)Dissertation credits (994) + written examination (if not taken in the Fall) + Dissertation Prospectus
5thDissertation research and writing (994)Dissertation research and writing + defense of dissertation (994)

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Independent Studies

Independent study courses (FREN 840, ITAL 840, SPAN 840) allow students to undertake research on topics that are not made available through normal course offerings.  Independent study courses may not be given simply because a student cannot get into a class, or because of difficulties a student may have in his or her scheduling of classes.  To be able to demonstrate to the Graduate School the academic integrity of such courses, please note the following requirements that must be met:

  1. There must be a written course contract that specifies the topic and readings for the course, as well as dates by which readings and written work must be completed, the frequency of meetings, and how the grade for the course will be determined
  2. Independent studies must be arranged by no later than the end of the first week of classes for Fall and Spring.
  3. No faculty member should have more than 2 students enrolled in independent studies with him or her in a given semester.
  4. The course contract, should be submitted to the Graduate Student Services Specialists, who will ask for the Chair’s or the Director of Graduate Studies’ consent and enroll the student in the appropriate course if approved.

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Transfer Courses

Students entering the doctoral program with a Master’s degree, may transfer up to 4 courses (12 credits) into the PhD program and in very exceptional cases they can transfer up to 9 courses (27 credits). Appropriate placement and course transfer will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in consultation with the Graduate Advisors. For these students transferring a total of 9 courses (27 credits), the Research Paper (Thesis Substitute) and the 2nd-year qualifying exams are waived.

To receive credit for graduate courses taken at a previous graduate institution, students should complete the Transfer Request Form and send it to the Graduate Student Services Specialists. On the form students should indicate the courses for which they would like to receive transfer credit. For each course, they should provide the university, year, term, a descriptive title (in English), and the grade received. Also, a copy of an unofficial transcript and course description should be provided.

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The grades given in graduate courses numbered 400 or above range from H (High Pass=Clear Excellence), P (Pass=Entirely Satisfactory), L (Low Pass= Inadequate), and F (Fail). Students become academically ineligible if they receive an F, or nine or more hours of L. Incomplete (IN) does not reflect good and consistent progress toward the degree. Students are also deemed academically ineligible to continue with the PhD program if they fail the 2nd-year qualifying exams twice. If a student must ask for a temporary grade of IN, they should finish their work by the beginning of the following semester so that it does not interfere with new coursework.  For more information about the grading policy, please see the Graduate School Handbook “Graduate Grading” guidelines.

Note that with regard to the teaching fellowships:

  • Students with two Incompletes can teach only one course until one of those Incompletes is removed.
  • Students with more than two Incompletes will lose their teaching fellowship until one of the Incompletes is removed. To retain a graduate teaching fellowship, Incompletes in excess of two must be removed prior to the following registration period.

Any student who requests more than one Incomplete in a semester must report it in writing to the Graduate Student Services Manager and to the appropriate Language Program Director.

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Foreign Language Proficiency Assessment

All doctoral students are required to have proficiency in one additional foreign language. For students specializing in the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, this language must be Latin.

Students have several options for demonstrating proficiency in an additional foreign language. They may take a proficiency exam in Spanish, French, German, Latin and Italian offered annually by the Graduate School. They may take language courses such as:

  • Portuguese: PORT 401–402 (Accelerated Brazilian Portuguese)
  • Italian: ITAL 401–402 (Beginning Accelerated Italian)
  • French: FREN 601 (French for Reading)
  • Spanish: SPAN 601 (Spanish for Reading)
  • Latin: ROML 820 (Introduction to Latin for Romance Studies) or LATN 601 (Accelerated Elementary Latin)

Please note that language courses do not count toward the 17 content courses required for the degree program.

Competitive FLAS fellowships are available to support students who wish to study a less commonly taught language.

If a student would like to use coursework taken at another institution to fulfill the language requirement, they should contact the DGS immediately after the dissertation prospectus defense.

Students wishing to demonstrate language proficiency through any other means should contact the DGS.

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Written Exams

Written Exams are required in the second year (qualifying exam) and before defending a dissertation prospectus (PhD field exam or area of specialization exam).  Professors are required to grade all exams within one week of administering them. The Graduate Student Services Manager will inform students of results as soon as all exams have been corrected.

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2nd Qualifying Exams (Comprehensive)

French and Francophone Studies

In the second week of the spring semester of their second year, graduate students take their qualifying exams.  To prepare for the exam, students should read all works on the Qualifying Exam Reading List (formerly called the MA Reading List). In taking the exam, students will answer one question out of a choice of two in each of the three following divisions:

1. Medieval to 17th century
2. 18th and 19th centuries
3. 20th and 21st centuries including Francophonie

For each division, students will receive two questions from which they will select one; they must answer a total of three questions, one for each period. The faculty who specialize in these periods will write the questions, which address works on the reading list and involve approaches to them that are typically discussed in graduate courses. Students should answer at least one of the three questions in French and at least one in English. The exam is taken at home, and students will receive the three pairs of questions on three different days, usually a Tuesday, the following Thursday, and the following Tuesday. No reference material or notes may be used for the exam. Students must submit their answers to the questions electronically within three hours of receiving them.


In the second week of the spring semester of the second year, students take a comprehensive written examination intended to test their broad knowledge of Italy’s literary culture. Based on the students’ course work, the Qualifying Reading List and discussions between the student and the exam committee, the examination consists of three questions out of five, answered over a weekend.

By the end of the spring semester preceding the exam, the student should form a committee comprised of a chair and two additional members, for a total of three, to be approved by the Graduate Adviser. Each committee member will be responsible for writing and grading one-two questions (at the chair’s discretion) for a total of five. Prior to the exam, the committee chair will review the five questions to make sure they address a sufficiently broad range of topics/periods/texts. After the exam, the committee chair will consult with the other members of the committee to ascertain that the student has demonstrated sufficient transhistorical mastery.

To prepare for the written exams, under consultation with the exam chair students should prepare a reading list of primary texts based on the departmental suggestions for coverage of genre and period, as well as two bibliographies of secondary and theoretical texts (for detailed instructions see Reading List). The exam list must be approved two months before the scheduled exam date. One month prior to the date, the student should arrange to meet with the committee members to discuss areas of focus for the exams questions.

Questions are based on the reading list, the major critical literature and theory, and discussions with the committee members. Students whose mother tongue is English must write one answer in Italian and two in English. Students whose mother tongue is Italian must write one answer in English and two in Italian.

The written examination will take place over a weekend (exam emailed to student by 3:00 pm on Friday and returned to the Graduate Student Services Manager by 9:00 am on Monday).


The qualifying written examinations are taken beginning on the second Monday of the Spring semester of the second year. In addition to taking courses, all candidates prepare for the written exams by reading the works on the Qualifying Exam reading list for the Literatures, Languages, and Cultures of the Iberian Peninsula and the Americas. The periods tested are:

1. Middle Ages.
2. Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. (Spain)
3. Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. (Spain)
4. Twentieth and Twenty-first centuries. (Spain)
5. Colonial Spanish America to Independence.
6. Spanish America from Independence to Modernismo.
7. Spanish American Modernismo to 1940.
8. Spanish America since 1940

By the time of the written exams, you should have read all of the works on the Qualifying Exam reading list, either as coursework or on your own, and be familiar with the major critical issues and relevant contexts associated with them. The qualifying examinations will consist of eight separate sections, each covering one of the eight areas of the reading list. It will be taken in a week, two sections per day (with the exception of Wednesday, which will be a study day). All examinees are given two questions in each section, from which they choose one. There is no language requirement for this exam. Students should write the exam in the language (either Spanish or English) in which they are most competent, on condition that they have written at least one paper in their non-native language (Spanish or English) and that a copy of this paper be submitted to the Graduate Student Service Manager. The first set of questions of the day will be emailed to the student at 9am and the student is required to send back his/her answer by 11am. The second set will be emailed at 1pm and needs to be returned by 3pm. Exam questions are designed to be answered without help from external sources, since the objective of the Exam is to gauge students’ general understanding of the themes and forms of literary and cultural issues as they manifest over geographical areas and historical moments. While responses to questions should demonstrate the student’s “big picture” understanding of whatever movement/issue/genre/theme is framed in the question and should illustrate his/her perspective with analyses of a few works on the exam list, students are nonetheless encouraged to answer the questions as they are posed. The time limitations of the Exams (2 hours for each section) make it extremely inadvisable to consult secondary sources, online resources, or other materials during the examination period. Whenever possible, the questions are prepared by different faculty experts on the period. Faculty who prepare questions will be asked to grade them.  However, all failing grades will be sent to a second reader; if the first and second reader disagree on the grade, a third will be asked to break the tie.

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PhD Field or Area Specialization Exam

French and Francophone Studies

When students have completed all coursework for the PhD, they are expected to prepare for dissertation research. The first step is compiling a bibliography that reflects a student’s interest in the area he or she has chosen for the dissertation. According to his or her research interest, the student selects an advisor as well as two other faculty members to form the exam committee. In consultation with the committee, the student prepares the bibliography; once the committee approves the bibliography, the student studies for the written exam. Each of the three committee members proposes two questions for the exam. The student completes the exam as a take-home over a weekend, answering one question from each of the three committee members. The exam should be taken a minimum of three calendar months after the committee approves the bibliography, but no later than the third week of November in the fall semester and the second week of April in the spring semester. Exams are not given over holiday weekends.

Students may not petition to take written exams at times other than those assigned for all graduate students. Registration is required during the semester(s) in which written exams are taken.

The written examination will take place over a weekend (exam emailed to student by 3:00 pm on Friday and returned to the Graduate Student Services Manager by 9:00 am on Monday).


Upon completion of coursework and in preparation for the writing of the dissertation prospectus, the student will develop three lists that will form the basis of the written exam:

List 1 – Primary field: Medieval/Early Modern or Modern/Contemporary Italian Studies
(20-25 items to be supported by a bibliography of secondary texts that address the current state of research).

List 2 – Secondary field: A theoretical, disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspective within list 1: ex. gender studies, translation studies, philosophy, literary theory, cultural studies, film studies, art history, etc. (10-15 items)

List 3 – Secondary field: A specific topic, theme or author within list 1: ex. Dante or Pasolini studies, Renaissance epic, the Risorgimento, colonial architecture, futurism, fascism, il giallo, (post)colonialism, migrant literature and film, etc. (10-15 items)

An examination committee for the student will be composed of a minimum of two faculty members whose responsibility will be to guide the student in his or her selections. Once the committee determines that the bibliography is acceptable and that the student’s knowledge of the texts is satisfactory, it will indicate its approval by signing and dating the document. The student shall then have a minimum of two months from that date to take the take-home written doctoral examination based on the bibliography; the exam must take place no later than the third week of November in Fall semester and no later than the second week of April in Spring semester. Exams are not given over holiday weekends.

The written examination will take place over a weekend (exam emailed to student by 3:00 pm on Friday and returned to the Graduate Student Services Manager by 9:00 am on Monday). Two questions per list will be provided, from which the student will choose one, for a total of three responses. Answers may be in English or Italian. Students may consult books or notes as necessary, but should not discuss the exam with others while in progress. A bibliography of the specific works consulted should be submitted with the answers.


Upon completion of coursework, the student will identify a primary area of specialization (one that encompasses and is closely identified with, though not necessarily identical to, the topic of the dissertation), a secondary area (one separate from but complementary to the area of specialization), and a complementary area (one dealing with the Iberian Peninsula or the Americas, whichever is not represented by the area of specialization).  Any exceptions to the above must be justified and approved not only by the student’s advisor, but also by the Director of Graduate Study. The student will prepare a bibliography that addresses the current state of research in these areas, and will also include appropriate criticism and theory.  The student will justify, in no more than one page at the beginning of the list, how the areas are related.  An examination committee for the student will be composed of one representative for each of the areas chosen, and the committee’s responsibility will be to guide the student in his or her selections.  Once all members agree that the bibliography is ready they will indicate their approval by signing and dating the document.  The student shall then have a minimum of three months from that date to take the take-home written doctoral examination based on the bibliography.

The examination will consist of an oral part, during which the examination committee will test the candidate’s knowledge of the texts in the bibliography and, if completed satisfactorily, the student will be administered the written part to be completed at home.  For this part each member of the examination committee will write two questions based on the area of the bibliography he or she represents. The written examination will take place over a weekend (exam emailed to student by 3:00 pm on Friday and returned to Graduate Student Services Manager by 9:00 am on Monday) and the student will answer one question per area. The student is encouraged to spend one day on the question from the Area of Specialization, and one day divided between the questions from the Secondary Area and the Complementary Area.  Exams are not given over holiday weekends.

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Grading Guidelines

These guidelines are only intended for reference. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with each of the professors on their exam committees in advance of their exams to discuss expectations for exam responses.

For Second Year Qualifying Exams

H (High Pass) – In addition to meeting the minimal criteria for the grade of S, the answer shows superior analytical skill: no gaps in the argument, no unwarranted assumptions. Evidence in support of the answer is not only convincing but also plentiful. Answer does not contain factual errors or misreadings. High pass is only awarded in exceptional cases.

S (Satisfactory) – The answer shows a clear understanding of the question and focuses on it. The answer is well-organized. It demonstrates familiarity with the relevant literary texts, including both plot and form. If required by the question, the answer can situate the works discussed within a wider context, whether literary (i.e., the movement and genre the work exemplifies, etc.), intertextual, or historical. (It is not necessary to cite secondary criticism in qualifying exam responses.) The answer is coherent and provides convincing evidence in its support. The answer may contain some errors, but they are not serious enough to undermine the essay as a whole. In general, the answer demonstrates that the candidate has read and understood the relevant portion of the reading list.

U (Unsatisfactory) – The answer may be poorly organized essay or unfocused. Comments about the literary texts may be vague or overly general. The reader senses a limited understanding of the question or of the works discussed. Major factual errors or frequent irrelevant comments are present, or the answer is limited to plot-summary. Isolated comments may have some connection to the subject, but the answer as a whole may not fully address the question. Answer may omit references to specific texts, or refer to so few that it does not address the question satisfactorily.

For PhD Field Exams

H (High Pass) – In addition to meeting the criteria for a grade of S at the PhD level, the answer clearly demonstrates scholarly competence at, or very near, a professional level. The answer integrates analysis, reference to secondary criticism, and a theoretical framework into a coherent and possibly even original argument. High pass is only awarded in exceptional cases.

S (Satisfactory) – In addition to the minimal criteria required for the grade of S at the qualifying exam level, the answer shows clear evidence of critical insight and independent thought. It shows full awareness of the meaning and significance of the question and, when appropriate, of how it has been dealt with by other scholars. The answer makes a coherent argument and/or expresses a critical judgement about the works and contexts in question. The answer does not have to be “original”; originality, per se, is not an evaluation criterion. Criticism and/or theory based on pertinent bibliography on the subject is applied as appropriate.

U (Unsatisfactory) – The answer may show some understanding of the question but is not well-focused. Though the topic may be addressed, plot summary, enumeration, and description predominate over analysis. Comments tend to be very general; few examples are given. Factual errors or misreadings may be present.

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Applying for Pre-doctoral Fellowships and Dissertation Awards

The Department encourages students to seek out external funding in the form of competitive Graduate School and national fellowships, during the dissertation years. Resources for finding appropriate funding include, the UNC Graduate School, the UNC Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, Graduate Funding Information Center (GFIC), the Carolina Internal Funding Database, the Funding Information Portal and the COS Pivot. Graduate students are also encouraged to seek feedback on their fellowship applications to make them more competitive. Dissertation advisors, graduate advisors, peers (in GRA Working Groups), and departmental fellowship workshops are all excellent sources of advice. Other resources students could use for feedback on includes the UNC Successful Proposals Collection and the UNC Writing Center.

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Thesis Substitute Requirements

The thesis substitute is comprised of a research paper that can be tailored for publication that should be completed at the end of the students 2nd year. The Department recommends that students complete their thesis substitute research paper once they have passed their 2nd qualifying exams, however, this is not a requirement.

Thesis Substitute Credit

To receive a master’s degree, an approved thesis substitute is required. Students musts register for a minimum of three credit hours of thesis substitute (992). Also, students are required to be registered for at least 3 hours of either FREN, ITAL or SPAN 992 during the semester in which they take their 2nd year qualifying exams and complete their thesis substitute research paper.

Thesis Substitute Committee

At the beginning of the student’s second year, he or she should approach a member of the faculty to serve as the research paper advisor. In consultation with the advisor, the student selects two additional members of the Romance Studies faculty to serve on the Research Paper Committee. Once they have agreed, the candidate should submit all three names to the Director of Graduate Studies, who will officially appoint the committee and notify those involved, including the Graduate Student Services Manager. The advisor and the two readers will approve the research paper once they deem it ready. The research paper is normally finished in the Spring semester of the second year. Once a student completes the approved substitute, the research paper advisor must submit the Master’s Comprehensive Exam Report and the Report of Approved Substitute for a Master’s Thesis Form to the Graduate Student Services Specialists. The student should submit electronically the approved version of the research paper to the Graduate Student Services Manager in accordance with the deadlines posted on the Graduate School website.

Thesis Substitute Format

The research paper should be 5,000-7,000 words of text exclusive of endnotes and works cited. All research papers must follow MLA style and conform to the Graduate School’s “Guide to Theses and Dissertations”. The student should also consult the Graduate School Handbook to ensure that he or she has met all of the requirements for the degree prior to working on and submitting the research paper.

Once graduate students have completed all of their second-year requirements, they can apply for graduation to receive an MA if they choose not to continue to the PhD or if they just wish to have the diploma. To apply for graduation students submit an Application for Graduation no later than the deadline shown in the University Registrar’s Calendar for the semester in which they expect to graduate.

Students should complete the Graduation check-out page in ConnectCarolina’s Self Service area:

Log in to ConnectCarolina and in the Student Center, under the “Academic” tab, choose “Apply for Graduation” in the drop-down box, and then click the double arrows.

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Dissertation Requirements

Upon completing the PhD written exam, students should begin writing their dissertation prospectus, which outlines the dissertation topic and proposed research.

Dissertation Credit

A minimum of six credit hours of dissertation (994) must be taken in order to complete the requirements for the PhD degree. After completing all coursework, students must register for 3 credits of FREN, ITAL or SPAN 994 to maintain full-time status. Students registering for dissertation credits through FREN, ITAL or SPAN 994 are expected to work in consultation with their dissertation advisor to determine certain goals at the beginning of each semester in which dissertation credits are registered for. Course grades will be assigned at the end of the semester based on whether or not the goals set were achieved. Failure to accomplish dissertation objectives within the semester will result in a grade of low pass or fail. Also, students are required to be registered for at least 3 hours of either FREN, ITAL or SPAN 994 during the semester in which they defend their dissertation.

Dissertation Committee

The dissertation committee is required to consist of at least five members. A majority of the members of a doctoral committee (and a majority of the people grading the student on an examination or approving a doctoral dissertation) must be regular members of the UNC at Chapel Hill Graduate Faculty from Romance Studies. Other members may be special appointees to the Graduate Faculty from other academic programs or from other institutions where scholarly work is conducted.  Students should consult the Graduate School Handbook for requirements concerning committee composition.

The Director of Graduate Studies will formally appoint the student’s dissertation committee.  To have the committee appointed, the student should email the DGS the list of committee members’ names and email addresses. For any committee member(s) not currently on the UNC graduate faculty, the DGS will also need the individuals current CV. The committee is not officially formed until appointed by the DGS, who will notify the candidate, the committee members, and the Graduate Student Services Specialists of the composition of the dissertation committee.

Students will discuss the prospectus, which outlines the original research that they intend to conduct, in front of their entire dissertation committee, which either approves the project or recommends further research. Upon approval of the prospectus, students begin to work on their dissertation under the guidance of the dissertation director, who is responsible for answering questions and returning drafts in a timely fashion. Students are encouraged to consult with and seek advice from the other members of their dissertation committee, as well.

With the dissertation director’s approval, the student sends the complete dissertation to each committee member ahead of the scheduled dissertation defense. At the defense the dissertation may be approved as is or with minor modifications.

Dissertation Format

Format and submission guidelines for the final dissertation can be found in the Graduate School’s Guide to Theses and Dissertations. Students should also consult the Graduate School Handbook to be sure they have meet all degree requirements prior to working on and submitting the dissertation.

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Time Limits in the ROMS Graduate Program

By stipulation of the Graduate School, students, who enter the program with a Baccalaureate degree and are given formal permission to proceed to the doctoral degree after having successfully completed their second year of study, have up to eight years (dating from the time of their original admission) to complete the doctorate.

Financial Aid

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Applying for NC Residency

Out-of-state students who are US residents are strongly encouraged to apply for in-state residency. To be eligible for in-state residency you have to demonstrate that you have established a legal residence in North Carolina, maintained that residence for at least 12 months, have the intent to make North Carolina a permanent home indefinitely and be not solely in North Carolina to attend college. It is very important that everyone that meets this criteria attempts to apply, as the department needs as many people as possible to get instate residency. This is crucial to keep our program viable and recruitment strong.

For more information on how to establish North Carolina residency for tuition purposes, including the application process and deadlines, please go to the Graduate School’s website on in-state residency for tuition purposes page at

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Teaching Fellowships and Financial Support

With few exceptions, all Romance Studies graduate students receive some form of financial support. Financial assistance, if offered by the Department, consists of fellowship awards and teaching assistantships both of which are accompanied by a tuition award. Teaching assistantship stipends range from $15,700 to $20,200 per academic year (2016-2017), depending on how many courses the assistant teaches.  The stipend is subject to state and federal income tax.

Graduate students who are awarded teaching assistantships also receive health insurance benefits; the Department also recommends them to the Graduate School for tuition support. The Department may also offer other fellowships from its own trust fund, if available.

While language courses are normally capped at 19 students, the LPD may occasionally add a 20th student in extenuating circumstances.

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External Activities for Pay / Supplemental Employment

Students holding a teaching assistantship or receiving other forms of University funding are required to disclose any source of external employment to their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies.  External employment and involvement in excessive external activities has the potential to adversely affect student progression.  Non-university employment presents a potential conflict of commitment to both graduate education and the student’s university assistantship.  As such, requests will be approved given consideration of the student’s academic progression.

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Tuition Remission

The University of North Carolina makes a distinction between tuition waivers and tuition remissions. All graduate teaching fellow appointments include a tuition waiver that waives in-state tuition. Tuition remissions cover the out-of-state portion of the tuition for a maximum period of ten semesters. The Department has limited funding for tuition remissions available to students as financial aid for fall and spring semesters only.

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Travel Awards

Departmental grants, up to $500, are intended to help defray travel and subsistence expenses incurred in the presentation of a paper at a conference, or for students who have confirmed job interviews at the MLA convention.

To apply for departmental funds:

  1. Students should write a letter of application, addressed to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), co-signed by a faculty member.
    • The letters should include a brief explanation of the nature of the conference, a brief explanation of your paper or other reason for attending, as well as a budget for airfare, gas/rental expenses, hotel charges, etc.  Please also include the invitation to present or to attend an interview. Your PID must be included at the bottom of the letter.
  2. The letter should be emailed to the DGS, with cc to the Graduate Student Services Specialists. (No hard copy of the application is required)
  3. Upon approval by DGS, the Accounting Tech will ensure delivery of the approved amount to the student.

Priority will go to those student presenters who have not previously received this type of support from the Department.  Applications accepted and awards granted September through April, based on availability of funding.

The Graduate School also offers Graduate Transportation Grants to assist with travel to academic conferences and professional meetings. In 2015-2016, these grants offered up to $400 for domestic travel, $1000 for foreign travel. Application instructions can be found at Students are encouraged to apply for Graduate School grants before applying for departmental funds. Applications for departmental funds will be considered more competitive if they include proof of a prior application for the Graduate School Transportation Grant.

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Travel Abroad/Exchange Program

Romance Studies has Graduate Exchange programs with the University of Sevilla, the Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier, and the Lorenzo de Medici Institute (LdM).

Overview of Requirements for the Exchange Program

UNC Exchange students going to:

Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier (UM3)

Must have a Master’s degree
Must be willing to teach a maximum of 12 hours per week
Student selection will be subject to approval by UM3
Students are authorized to take courses at UM3
Students will receive the standard remuneration for Teaching Assistants at UM3.
UM3 will not be responsible for costs related to housing, health insurance and transport, passport, visa application, and all other personal and living expenses.

Universidad de Sevilla (UdS)

Must have a Master’s degree
UNC will select the student on academic criteria (The selection will be subject to approval by UdS)
Students are authorized to take courses at UdS
Students will receive the standard remuneration for Teaching Assistants at UdS.
UdS is not responsible for costs related to housing, health insurance, transport, passport, visa application, and all other personal and living expenses.

Lorenzo de Medici Institute (LdM)

Student selection will be subjected to approval by both UNC and LdM.
Students will teach a minimum of four courses per year.
Students will receive a minimum stipend of the equivalency of $12,250 in Euro per semester from LDM, a tuition waiver for one course, and standard Italian student health insurance.
Students will be responsible for locating and the cost of housing.

ROMS covers the cost of flights to and from the exchange location and HTH insurance.

HTH Worldwide

Mandated by the University of North Carolina General Administration, all faculty, staff, and students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) traveling abroad in affiliation with the University are required to purchase international health, evacuation, and repatriation insurance, provided by HTH Worldwide. For information on the HTH insurance contact Janet Hoernke in Risk Management Services at (919)962-6681 or


ROMS Graduate Student Grievance Procedures

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It is important to know where to go when you or someone you know have grievances, concerns or problems with those in the Department or in the university at large. There are several options for you, depending upon the type of issue you have and the kind of support you need.


Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office [*for issues of harassment and discrimination]

For those grievances that fall under the EOC definition of harassment and discrimination, there is a university-wide procedure for all Carolina staff, faculty, and students. The EOC is responsible for enforcing university policies related to discrimination, harassment and related misconduct, in order to ensure an equitable and inclusive campus community for all. If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination or harassment based on any protected status (i.e. age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran status), sexual assault or sexual violence, interpersonal violence, or stalking, you are encouraged to report the incident to the EOC office. Please visit the website (see above) for full details.

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The University Ombuds Office

The University Ombuds Office is a safe place where all graduate students (in addition to faculty and staff) can come and talk in confidence about any campus issue, problem, or dispute. This office offers its services as a supplement to the university’s formal channels, such as the grievance procedure outlined above. You may visit this office at any time, either before making a formal complaint, during, or afterwards. It is also a place to visit if your issue lies outside of the categories covered by the EOC policies related to discrimination, harassment and misconduct as outlined above.

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ROMS Third-Party Facilitators

In some instances, you may wish to meet with a group of third-party facilitators within ROMS (if desired, from a different language section), whom you can consult with guaranteed safety, impartiality and confidentiality. This is a place to discuss your concerns, even if you do not know yet which channels to use to resolve your complaint or conflict. Like the Ombuds Office, it is a place to address issues that lie within or outside of the purview of the EOC. These facilitators are there above all to listen to you and then to recommend resources and channels for you to move forward towards a resolution of the issue.[1] Look here for the current team of ROMS facilitators. You are free to contact anyone on the list.[2]

To see a full description of the University Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct, look here. This site also contains an additional set of offices that provide confidential support services, including Counseling and Psychological Services and Sexual Assault Response – Campus Health.

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[1] The ROMS-designated facilitators participate in ongoing trainings with EOC, the Ombuds Office, & ARS, with additional trainings with diversity, unconscious bias, mental health, and Safe Zone.
[2] You are not limited to contacting these ROMS faculty. If you have other mentors you trust, you are welcome to share ideas with them as well.

Division Resources

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Offices, Computers, and Supplies

Each graduate student is assigned desk space in a shared office.  Depending on space availability students that are not currently teaching in Romance Studies desk space may be revoked and carrel space in the graduate library should be obtained.  Office space should be used by Teaching Fellows to meet with students during designated office hours.  Use of office space by unauthorized persons is prohibited.  It is a security hazard for those who share the office.

Every graduate student office is equipped with a shared desktop computer for access to the internet, etc.  All individuals in the office are responsible for the computer.  The office doors should be locked when all occupants are gone.

Some supplies such as chalk are available from the main office. Printers and copiers are available in Dey 211. Departmental stationery, envelopes and postage are provided upon request for departmental business.

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The department maintains three copiers for faculty and staff use.  Graduate teaching fellows may use the copiers as needed for the preparation of daily classroom materials. The department is responsible for the duplication of major exams.  For more information, please see our Departmental Printing & Copy policy.

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Fax Machine and Administrative Support

The Fax machine is located in the main Department office.

The Departmental Administrative Staff are excellent sources of information and advice for students. They are always available to answer questions regarding payroll, admissions requirements, etc.

Available Resources For Thesis/Dissertation Writing

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The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a valuable resource. You are advised to consult with the writing lab when working on your thesis. Appointments need to be scheduled in advance.

Phone: 962-7710

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Graduate School Professional Development Program

Provides a full range of training opportunities and resources to graduate students. Preparing students for career success by providing key skills that all graduate students need before completing their degree including fundamentals in: communication, academic development (scholarship, teaching & mentorship), leadership & professionalism, and career development.

Contact: Brian Rybarczyk, Ph.D.,
Phone: (919) 962-2505


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Mailboxes for faculty and graduate students are located in the main corridor of the second floor.  The Graduate Students Services Manager assigns graduate students mailboxes.  No mail of a personal nature should be sent to Dey Hall due to the large amount of mail received by the Romance Studies Department.  Students should check their mailboxes daily since most campus and departmental notices are placed there for their information.  Mailboxes should be cleared each day students are on campus to avoid a buildup of mail.

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Leave of Absence

A student in good academic standing may request one leave of absence from graduate study for a period of time (up to one year) during which the student does not plan to make academic progress. To be eligible for a leave of absence, a student should not have received an extension of the degree time limit and not have temporary grades of IN or AB on courses taken.

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Parental Leave

A graduate student who is currently receiving a stipend from UNC and is the primary child-care provider immediately following the birth or adoption of a child is eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave. A Parental Leave Application Form  must be completed and submitted to the Graduate School at least eight weeks prior to the anticipated birth or adoption of the child.

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APPENDIX A – Tracking Form for PhD Program