Why study Spanish and Portuguese?

Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world with approximately 559 million speakers, is the official language in 21 countries. Moreover, according to the Instituto Cervantes, the United States ranks second behind Mexico in the number of Spanish speakers. Similarly, Portuguese, the official language in 9 nations, is spoken by approximately 210 million people over the world (the sixth most spoken language). Fluency in more than one language and an understanding of literary and cultural texts create educated citizens who can contribute to the betterment of our society.

A major or minor in Spanish or Portuguese demonstrates to future employers and/or graduate schools that you have achieved a certain level of linguistic ability and understanding of Hispanic cultures. Our curriculum is designed to help students hone their oral and written language skills and to learn more about Spanish, Spanish American, and Luso-Brazilian cultures through literature and cultural studies. This knowledge is highly beneficial if you plan a career path with an international component or with an orientation toward the predominantly Hispanic populations in the United States. The major is useful in such diverse careers as advertising, marketing, journalism, health services, government, social welfare, and public administration (to name a few). For a list of possible career paths in Spanish and Portuguese, visit the University Career Center website at  https://career.ku.edu/.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the International Support Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission requirements.

First- and Second-Year Preparation

Spanish Major Prerequisite or Co-Requisite Knowledge
Majors must complete the following 2 courses. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major. Majors must complete SPAN 323 or 324, and SPAN 328, with a grade of B- or higher, in order to go on to advanced-level Spanish classes.
Intermediate Composition and Grammar. Satisfied by:
Spanish Composition and Cultural Analysis
Grammar and Composition
Intermediate Conversation. Satisfied by:
Intermediate Spanish Conversation
Spanish Major Introductory Knowledge. Majors must complete the following 2 courses:
Textual Analysis and Critical Reading. Satisfied by:
SPAN 340Textual Analysis and Critical Reading3
Transatlantic Hispanic Cultures. Satisfied by:
SPAN 346Transatlantic Hispanic Cultures3

Requirements for the B.A. Major

Spanish Major Core Knowledge and Skills
Majors must complete at least 1 course (3 hours) in each of following areas:
Literature: Peninsular Spanish Literary and Cultural Studies. Satisfied by 1 of the following:3
Hispanic Studies: _____
Special Topics in Spanish Literature and Culture: _____
Medieval Spanish Studies: _____
Early Modern Spanish Studies: _____
Nineteenth Century Spanish Studies: _____
Twentieth Century Spanish Studies: _____
Literature: Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies. Satisfied by 1 of the following:3
Hispanic Studies: _____
Special Topics Latin American Literature and Cultures: _____
Colonial Spanish-American Studies: _____
Nineteenth Century Spanish-American Studies: _____
Twentieth Century Spanish-American Studies: _____
National Traditions in Spanish America: _____
Language: Advanced Spanish Composition and Grammar. Satisfied by:
SPAN 424Advanced Spanish Composition and Grammar3
Language: Advanced Spanish language or linguistics. Satisfied by 1 of the following: 3
Spanish Phonetics
Spanish Language and Culture for Business
Structure of Spanish
Advanced Studies in Spanish Language: _____
Studies in Hispanic Linguistics: _____
Language: Advanced language, linguistics, or Portuguese. Satisfied by 1 of the following: 3
Structure of Spanish
Advanced Studies in Spanish Language: _____
Studies in Hispanic Linguistics: _____
Intermediate Brazilian Portuguese I
Intermediate Brazilian Portuguese II
Intensive Intermediate Brazilian Portuguese
Introduction to Portuguese and Brazilian Literatures
Textual Analysis and Critical Reading
Brazilian Studies: _____
Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture for Business
Studies in Brazilian Film: _____
Intermediate Brazilian Portuguese Conversation
Special Readings in Brazilian Studies
Studies in Brazilian Culture and Civilization: _____
Studies in Brazilian Literature: _____
Advanced Brazilian Portuguese Conversation
Intensive Advanced Portuguese
Portuguese Phonetics and Phonology
Textual Analysis and Critical Reading
Brazilian Studies: _____
Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture for Business
Survey of Portuguese Literature
Studies in Brazilian Film: _____
Advanced Conversation. Satisfied by:
SPAN 428Advanced Spanish Conversation2
Spanish Major Required Electives. Majors must complete 2 additional courses (6 hours) from the following courses: any Spanish 400+ or 500-level course (literature, language or culture), or PORT 212 or higher (except PORT 300 and PORT 611).6
Spanish Major Capstone: Literature Colloquium. Majors must complete 1 (3 hour) capstone course in literature. Satisfied by 1 of the following:3
Colloquium on Hispanic Studies: _____
Colloquium on Spanish Film
Colloquium on Latin American Film

Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. Please see your advisor about this opportunity.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 32 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Below is a sample 4-year plan for students pursuing the BA in Spanish. To view the list of courses approved to fulfill KU Core Goals, please visit the KU Core website.

ENGL 101 (Goal 2.1 (2 crs req), BA Writing I)13ENGL 102 (Goal 2.1 (2 crs req), BA Writing II)3
MATH 101 (Goal 1.2 Quantitative Reasoning)3Quantitative Reasoning (Goal 1.2, BA Quantitative Reasoning)33
SPAN 104 or 111 (Major Pre-Requisite)25COMS 130 (Goal 2.2 Communication)3
First Year Seminar (Goal 1.1 Critical Thinking)3SPAN 212 (Major Pre-Requisite)3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
 17 15
SPAN 216 (Major Pre-Requisite)3SPAN 324 (Major Pre-Requisite)3
Goal 3 Humanities3SPAN 328 (Major Pre-Requisite)2
Goal 3 Social Science3Goal 3 Natural Science3
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Lab Science (BA Lab Requirement)1-2
Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)3
 Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
 15 15-16
SPAN 340 (Major Requirement)3Goal 4.2 Global Awareness3
SPAN 346 (Major Requirement)3Goal 5 Social Responsibility & Ethics 3
Goal 4.1 US Diversity3SPAN 440, 441, 450, 451, 452, or 453 (Choose one) Major Requirement3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3SPAN 428 (Major Requirement)2
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3SPAN 424 (Major Requirement)3
 Elective or possible minor course (Total Hours)1
 15 15
SPAN 429 (Major Requirement)3SPAN 540, 550, or 560 (Goal 6 Integration & Creativity, Major Requirement)43
SPAN 440, 442, 460, 461, 462, or 463 (Choose one) Major Requirement3SPAN Elective 400-500+ (Major Requirement)3
SPAN Advanced Language or Portuguese 300+ (Major Requirement)3SPAN Elective 400-500+ (Major Requirement)3
LA&S 490 (Recommended), or elective3Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3
Elective or possible minor course 300+ (Total Hours)3LA&S 492 (Job Search Strategies, (or elective))1
 15 13
Total Hours 120-121

Please note:

All students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to completed 120 total hours of which 45 hours must be at the Jr/Sr (300+) level.

The same course cannot be used to fulfill more than one KU Core Goal. However, overlap of a KU Core course with a major or degree-specific requirement is allowed. Overlapping is recommended to allow more opportunities to explore other majors and/or minors.

Departmental Honors

Undergraduates contemplating honors work should consult their advisers. A declaration of intent form must be submitted to the department. The department notifies students of acceptance to candidacy. At graduation, the student must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.25 overall and 3.5 in Spanish. 6 hours in SPAN 496 Honors in Spanish generally are required, which may be fulfilled in a variety of ways as described here: each 3-hour SPAN 496 course will include a major research paper. While enrolled in SPAN 496, the student completes 2 courses, one in Peninsular literature and the other in Spanish American literature, from the following options:

  1. Graduate courses at the 700 level;
  2. Upper-division literature courses at the 500 level, including SPAN 540, SPAN 550, and SPAN 560 (only available to students who have already completed the 500-level capstone course);
  3. An independent study course (may only be taken once for SPAN 496 credit).

The student attends 2 courses for SPAN 496 credit and writes 2 honors papers under the supervision of 1 or more faculty members. A committee of 3 faculty members evaluates these papers, and the student makes an oral summary of their content.

Study Abroad

The department offers summer programs in Barcelona, Spain; Buenos Aires, Argentina, Salvador (Bahia), Brazil. KU offers semester/academic year programs in San José, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Salamanca, Spain. More information is available from the Office of Study Abroad.

Graduate students have the opportunity to teach and conduct research during summer sessions in Buenos Aires, Argentina; or Barcelona, Spain. The department also has a graduate exchange agreement with the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain.