Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Why study Spanish and Portuguese?

In the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, we help students to hone their oral and wrtten skills in important global languages and enhance their critical understanding of the world today. According to the Ethnologue, as of 2022, Spanish is the 4th most widely spoken language in the world with approximately 548 million speakers, and 2nd in number of native speakers, with approximately 475 million native speakers. Spanish is an official language in 21 countries and territories, counting the United States where Spanish is 1 of the official languages in Puerto Rico.  In the United States, there are approximately 58 million Spanish speakers, including 42 million native speakers, 8 million Spanish learners, and 8 million undocumented Spanish speakers.

According to the same source, Portuguese is the 9th most widely spoken language with approximately 258 million speakers worldwide and is the official language in 9 countries. Portuguese is the 6th in number of native speakers, with approximately 232 million native speakers. In the U.S., Portuguese is spoken among the Portuguese, Brazilian, and Cape Verdean communities in a number of states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa, and Kansas.  

In the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, we look forward to helping you develop fluency in more than one language as well as an understanding of literary and cultural texts to prepare you to become a global citizen.  Our faculty, who are recognized experts in their fields, are committed to teaching and research at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Please visit the department's website for more information about our major (B.A.) in Spanish, minor in Spanish, minor in Brazilian Studies, M.A and Ph.D. programs, and Graduate Certificate in Brazilian Studies.  

If you have questions about studying Spanish and Portuguese at KU, please reach out to the department or relevant contact people listed on these pages.