Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

Hispanic Studies

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Adriana Soto-Corominas, PhD candidate in Hispanic Studies

“At the time of applying for my Master’s degree, I was very interested in language acquisition. Two renowned professors in the field were at Western, Dr. Bruhn de Garavito and Dr. Perpiñán, and I thought this university would be a great opportunity.”

Supervisor: Dr. Silvia Perpiñán

Where did you complete your undergraduate degree?
I did my BA in English Philology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. I completed my specialization in Linguistics at University of California, Los Angeles.

Describe your research in 100 words or less.
For my thesis I am currently working on bilingual language acquisition, specifically of Catalan and Spanish. I am investigating how a certain linguistic structure that exists in Catalan (but not in Spanish) is acquired by three different groups of children: Catalan dominant, Spanish dominant, and balanced bilinguals. At the same time, I am researching whether the divergent acquisition of this structure by the three groups may lead to language change.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive and be successful?
One quality that I really love of Hispanic Studies is how multidisciplinary it is. Because of this, we can work on a wide range of topics and on projects that intersect with other fields, such as Psychology, Anthropology, or Computer Science. I think this is very beneficial for us as students because we are not becoming experts in just one very specific thing, but very competent in different areas.

What is your “dream” career?
An intellectually challenging career that would allow me to work on different things at the same time would be ideal.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Some graduate students know what they want to work on starting on day one, which is great, but I would still encourage them to explore different areas of Linguistics.

What idea, suggestion, or comment would you like to share with the Western graduate community?
As an international student, one of the aspects I admire the most of the Western University (or perhaps Canadian) culture is how willing everyone is to help you out. My suggestion, then, is to ask for help/clarification/advice as often as it is necessary.

Where is “home” for you?
Barcelona, Spain, although I must admit that when I arrive to London after a trip, it does feel like home, too.

What one thing would you like people to know about you?
The more snow, the better; you won’t hear me complain in the winter.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Sylvia Kontra (skontra@uwo.ca)
Graduate Affairs Assistant

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Western University
Arts & Humanities Building, Room 3R02
London, Ontario N6A 3K7

t. 519-661-2111 ext. 85846
f. 519-661-4093

Welcome to the Graduate Program in Hispanic Studies at Western. This program distinguishes itself from others because of our innovative approaches to Hispanic Studies. In our Literature and Culture programs we focus on connections in time, geography and medium. Our strengths lie in Transatlantic studies, Visual arts, text and music, Digital Humanities and their place in Hispanic Culture. The Linguistic stream focuses on an experimental approach to language acquisition, language loss, heritage speakers and language change due to contact.

Among other opportunities offered in our programs, students may be able to participate in the ground breaking research that takes place in the CulturePlex, the Digital Humanities lab which is unique in Canada.

Times to Completion

  • 12 Terms (4 years)

Curriculum Options

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Details

Applicants (domestic and international) are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships:

Admission Requirements

  • A minimum of 80% overall average in the Master's degree.
  • Project Proposal (5-7 pages double spaced and references).

Additional Requirements

  • Students are expected to pass a test of reading knowledge in a language other than Spanish and English before graduation.

Test Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language:

Application Deadline(s)

  • February 1 - Acceptance notification at the beginning of April