Welcome to the website of the Department of Hispanic Languages & Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. The study of a second language, literature, and culture like Spanish traditionally has been one of the central components of an undergraduate education in the humanities. Today there is an added practical dimension to this. With economic and cultural globalization, our links as a nation with Spain and Latin America, including Brazil, have become much closer. At the same time, Spanish is not only a second language for us; it has become much like French in Canada, a de facto second language in the United States, which now has a Spanish-speaking population of more than 30 million. As a result, there is a growing demand for persons trained in Spanish (and also Portuguese) in many fields, especially education, where there is a shortage of new teachers of Spanish language and culture.
The undergraduate major in Spanish at the University of Pittsburgh offers a balanced combination of courses designed to strengthen oral and written language skills, and courses that introduce students to the study of Spanish and Latin American literatures and cultures. Majors also have the opportunity to enroll in the minor in Portuguese Language and Luso-Brazilian cultures, thereby opening channels of communication with millions of people around the world, including Brazil, Latin America’s largest and most heavily populated country. Students with a more general interest in Latin American languages and cultures can choose to minor in Hispanic Languages and Literatures.
In all cases, we encourage students to include at least a semester of study abroad in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country and we offer study-abroad programs. Students interested in going on to graduate school should strongly consider the honors major; those who want to teach Spanish can obtain teacher certification through the School of Education. The department also offers courses taught in English for non-majors interested in Hispanic, Latin American, Luso-Brazilian, or U.S. Latino cultures. Students can also take advantage of the non-curricular activities organized by the department, which include conversation clubs and films series.