Spanish Major

Revised: 04/2019

The undergraduate program in Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh is designed to be flexible and diverse in order to meet the needs of students with varying interests and career goals. The major offers a balanced combination of courses designed to strengthen oral and written Spanish 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 Culture, 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 an interest in Latin American languages and cultures can chose to minor in Spanish. In all cases, we encourage students to include at least one semester of study abroad in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country. Students interested in going to graduate school should consider the honors major; those who want to teach Spanish can obtain a teacher certification through the School of Education. The department offers courses taught in English for non-majors interested in Hispanic, Latin American, Luso-Brazilian, or U.S. Latino cultures. Finally, students can take advantage of the non-curricular activities organized by the department, which include conversation clubs and films series.

Required courses for the Spanish major

The Spanish major requires the completion of a minimum of 36 credits, distributed as follows. Before declaring the major students must complete four courses of Spanish to gain the indispensable skills to effectively read, write and discuss in a foreign language. To enroll in a Spanish language course for the first time, students must take a placement test or request a permission number (see Please note that a grade of B+ or higher in SPAN 0104 is required to declare the major.

Basic level courses

SPAN 0120 Conversation

SPAN 0125 Grammar and Composition

Mid-level courses

SPAN 1055 Introduction to Hispanic Literature 1 *

SPAN 1250 Hispanic Civilizations

SPAN 1260 Overview of Spanish Literature **

SPAN 1280 Overview of Latin American Literature **

SPAN 1300-level course

PORT 0101 Elementary Portuguese 1 +

* SPAN 1055 fulfills the Writing requirement

** SPAN 1260 and SPAN 1280 fulfill the Literature General Education Requirement

+ PORT 0101 cannot be used to meet requirements both the Spanish major and the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian minor.

Upper level courses

SPAN 1806 Capstone Seminar

And three courses in the 1400, 1600, 1700, and/or 1800 series, or PORT 0102





PORT 0102 Elementary Portuguese 2 *

* PORT 0102 may only fulfill this requirement if the student is pursuing the Portuguese minor.

These courses include, for example, Colonial Literatures and Cultures, Latin American Novel, U.S. Latino Literature and Film, African Presence in Hispanic Literature and Culture, Queer Mexico, the Incas, etc.

Grade requirements: Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher in departmental courses. No course with a grade below C will count toward the major requirements.

Writing (W) requirement: SPAN 1055 satisfies the W-course requirement for the major.

Related area: A minimum of 12 credits is required in any one Dietrich School department to fulfill graduation requirements. The completion of a Dietrich School minor or a Dietrich School or UCIS certificate also satisfies this requirement.

Honors major requirement: Honors in Spanish is granted if in addition to fulfilling all requirements for the major, the student:

• maintained a GPA of 3.5 or above in departmental courses;

• maintained an overall GPA of 3.0 or above; and

• completed a senior thesis of 25-30 pages written under the supervision of a faculty member whose research is related to the topic of the thesis.


At least one semester of study abroad is recommended.

Students should declare their intention to pursue the Honors major no later than at the beginning of their senior year. The thesis will be evaluated by the advisor and two other faculty members in the department. Students may take an independent study with their supervisor that will fulfill the requirement of one upper level course. For further information, consult with the director of undergraduate studies.

Placement: If a student places out of a required course for the major or minor, the student will need to take the equivalent number of credits in additional mid- or upper-level Spanish courses in order to meet minimum credit requirements.


Satisfactory/No Credit option: Students may take one required course on an S/NC basis. The S/NC option is not available for Spanish minors.

Teacher certification: Students who plan to teach Spanish after completing the major should consult with their advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the department as well as with Michael Gunzenhauser the advisor for Pennsylvania Teaching Certification and Master of Arts in Teaching Programs, in the School of Education (, 5610 WWPH, 412-648-2119).

Double majors, dual degrees, and CLAS certificates: Students who have declared an additional major or pursue a dual degree need to take only three of the four upper-level courses. The same rule applies to students taking the CLAS Field Trip to Latin America. Only one course reduction applies if a student meets more than one of these criteria.

Study abroad: The department offers programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Alcalâ de Henares, Spain; Havana, Cuba; and Lisbon, Portugal. For more information please visit the Study Abroad Office website at or by phone 412-624-7413.

Spanish writing center: This center provides free, individual help to students enrolled in language, grammar and literature courses. Students may also stop by to practice their conversational skills. The Spanish Writing Center, located in CL 1302-B, is staffed by TAs and/or TFs from the department. The center will be open from September to May; schedules are announced at the beginning of each fall and spring term.

Spanish and Portuguese clubs: These two clubs will offer activities throughout the academic year. Check the department’s Web site for details about Mesas de conversación, Movie Nights, and Brazil Nuts events.

General Information

CL 1309



Students who declare a Spanish major will be assigned a faculty member as their advisor. Students pursuing the Spanish and/or Portuguese minors can schedule an appointment with an advisor on the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures’ Web site.



Daniel Balderston

Director of Undergraduate Studies

CL 1309-E


Teresa Clifton

Assistant Director of Undergraduate Studies

CL 1309-D


Dolores Lima

Spanish Language Coordinator

CL 1317-C



Undergraduate Studies Web site’s Majors, Minors, and Certificates landing page: