Spanish Studies Major

Overview of Program

The World Languages and Cultures Department offers a major and a minor in Spanish Studies. 

Both major and minor provide a unique blend of the traditional strengths of language and literature departments with an interdisciplinary, cultural studies, and practical skills approach. The goal of this program is to prepare our students to become proficient in the Spanish language and the literatures and cultures of Spanish speaking countries so that they may lead empowered and productive lives as global citizens.

Students may also choose to focus on Spanish as part of the B.A. in International-Language Business or B.S. in Secondary Education. 

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Why Study Spanish?

  • 500 million people worldwide speak Spanish, including 57 million in the U.S.
  • It's the official language in 21 countries and the European Union, as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other international organizations. 
  • It will improve and broaden your employment potential in a global market.
  • Many career fields in the U.S. need Spanish speakers.
  • It offers cultural enrichment - in  the arts (literature, film, art, music) and in travel opportunities (the Andes, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, the Caribbean).


Requirements of the Major

The major consists of courses starting with the two-sequence Beginning Spanish (101/102), Intermediate Spanish (211/212), and Advanced Composition and Conversation (311/312) to seven 300- and 400-level upper-division courses that develop knowledge of Hispanic culture (e.g. Latin American Culture and Civilization, Hispanic Women Writers and Body Fictions in Latin American Literature) and skills in the practical and professional application of the language (e.g. Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Service and the Hispanic Community).

After SPAN 311, all courses are writing and conversation-based within the framework of cultural studies and/or literary analysis. Students who begin the Spanish major at the 311 level take six credits fewer in the major and six more credits in the cognate or free area.

In their second year, they will choose advanced language electives.

Students whose first language is Spanish will take Introduction to Hispanic Literature (320), Advanced Stylistics (321) and three of the following courses in their advance language electives area:

  • Spanish Culture and Civilization (313)
  • Latin-American Culture and Civilization (314)
  • History of Spanish Literature (330)
  • Survey of Spanish-American Literature (331) in their advance language electives area.

Independent Studies, Readers,and Honors Tutorials are offered on an as-needed basis.

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Senior language majors are also required to complete a senior portfolio prior to graduation.

Learn about the senior portfolio 

Study Abroad

Spanish Studies offers several faculty-led study abroad courses:

  • Intersession Study Abroad in Puebla, Mexico (six credits)
  • Summer Study Abroad in Pamplona, Spain (three credits)
  • Summer Study Abroad in Cusco, Peru (3-9 credits).

Our courses serve the general educational needs of many students, including those with a language requirement (e.g. International Business and International Studies).

Visit the Study Abroad page 

Spanish Courses

Language Skills:

  • Elementary Spanish I & II:
    • Fundamentals of grammar, pronunciation, conversation; suitable readings and written exercises.
  • Intermediate Spanish I & II:
    • Grammatical review, written and oral composition with selected cultural readings of intermediate difficulty.  
  • Spanish Conversation: 
    • Reading-based conversation stressing development of self-expression in Spanish.
  • Spanish Composition:
    •  Intensive writing practice stressing grammar, writing analysis, and composition.
  • Advanced Stylistics: 
    • Designed to achieve more sophisticated use of Spanish, both orally and in writing. Includes intensive examination of compositions and translation exercises, as well as discussion of areas of particular difficulty for the non-native speaker (e.g., false cognates and unfamiliar structures). 
  • The Craft of Translation:
    • Study of the techniques of translation with emphasis on accurate terminology and proper syntax when translating newspaper articles, legal documents, medical records, business records and correspondence, essays, poems, songs, and short fiction.


  • Spanish Culture & Civilization:
    • An overview of the diverse historical, political, religious and artistic factors that have determined the cultural make-up of the peoples of the Iberian peninsula.  
  • Latin American Culture & Civilization:
    • The course examines the diverse cultural, historical, linguistic, religious, and political features of Latin America.  
  • Soccer is Passion (Latin America):
    • This course studies the cultural and social significance of soccer in Latin American societies through literature, films and other public discourse.
  • Migrations Across Americas:
    • What are borderlands? How have they been created? Why do people migrate? Who gets to tell the stories? What are the identities and communities that emerge from these liminal spaces?
    • This course focuses on the cultural production that explores US-Mexico-Central American borderlands and the diverse policies and practices that (re) create and (re)image these borders. In consideration of the transnational effects of extractivism, some of the dictatorships in Central America, the NAFTA agreement, as well as war zones and the drug war; we will explore the concepts of citizenship, migration, and nationalism in its intersection with gender, racial positioning, and social class.
    • Drawing upon cultural studies, feminist theory, queer theory, history, and sociology we will examine materials such as photography, installation art, journalism, literature, film, and music. This interdisciplinary approach aims to shed light on these causes and consequences of the political, cultural, and economic narratives involved in our current understanding of migration.


  • Introduction to Hispanic Literature: 
    • An introduction to the principal genres of literature (poetry, short story, essay, drama and novel) through analysis of representative works in the Hispanic tradition.
  • Fictions of Body in Latin America:
    • Students use a wide variety of materials that include short stories, art works, films, graphic novels, and reality shows to examine discourses of illness, monstrosity and contagion in Latin and Latinx America. This course explores creativity and artistic practices shaped by the experiences of disease and disability, while also discussing how these representations intersect with issues of gender, sexuality, migration, race and class.
  • History of Spanish Literature:
    • Study of Spanish literature from Cantar de Mio Cid to 20th century, with emphasis on main literary currents in each century.
  • Topics in Hispanic Prose:
    • Prose fiction of Spain and/or Spanish America.  Topics may focus on an author, a period, a movement, a country or region, or a theme.
  • Hispanic Women Writers:
    • This course examines writing by Hispanic women, including prose, poetry, drama and essays, and investigates the social, political, aesthetic, and feminist contexts of their writing.
  • Survey of Spanish American Literature: 
    • A survey of Spanish-American literature from the 16th century to the present, with representative readings from each of the principal cultural areas.  

Cinema & Drama:

  • Twentieth-Century Spanish Drama: 
    • Peninsular drama of the 20th century including dramatic forms after Buero Vallejo and new directions of Spanish theatre in the post-Franco era.
  • Spanish-American Drama: 
    • Spanish-American drama from the late 19th century to the present, with emphasis on contemporary trends.
  • Cinema of Marginalized Voices:
    • This course examines marginalized voices in a selection of films from Latin America and Spain.

The Professions:

  • Legal Spanish: 
    • Designed for the student who plans to work in any area of the legal system, this course focuses on the needs and problems of Spanish-speaking persons. Students learn specialized vocabulary and improved communicative ability through conversation.
  • Service and the Hispanic Community:
    • Focus on Hispanic cultures and traditions, the immigrant experience and cultural displacement.  Each student, with assistance from local social service agencies, the Center for Service & Social Justice, and the course professor, develops and carries out a service project to the local Hispanic community involving 40 to 45 hours of service work.
  • Spanish for the Health Professions:
    • Designed for the student who plans to work in any area of health care, this course focuses on the needs and problems of Spanish-speaking patients.  Students learn specialized vocabulary and improved communicative ability through conversation and composition and develop an increased awareness of health issues often of particular concern to Hispanics. 
  • Business Spanish:
    • Overview of the spoken and written language of the Spanish business world. Formalities and conventions of letter writing, banking, import/export, and other commercial transactions. Analysis of terminology from business-related areas such as finance, insurance and international commerce within a contemporary cultural setting. 

Contact Information


Yamile Silva, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish and WLC Department Chair
Habib Zanzana, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish and Arabic
Roxana Curiel, Ph.D., Professor of Spanish
Jaime Meilán del Rio, Faculty Specialist in Spanish

To learn more about the Spanish program, contact Dr. Yamile Silva.

Dr. Yamile Silva
316 O'Hara Hall

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