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Portuguese Program

Rio De Janeiro Brazil

Celebrating Cultures From the Lusosphere at the University of Pittsburgh

Do you know that with only 15-credit (5 classes only!) you can get the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor? Here in the Hispanic Languages and Literatures Department at the University of Pittsburgh you have the opportunity and privilege to develop dual proficiency in both Spanish and Portuguese — two of the fastest-growing languages in the world. Though not commonly studied, Portuguese is a vital language to the world community. Portuguese fluency is a significant skill that will magnify your post-graduate opportunities and marketability, particularly in the sectors of business, science, education, international relations, and diplomacy. The department encourages students to include at least one semester of study abroad in a Portuguese-speaking country. The department offers courses taught in English for students interested in Hispanic, Latin American, Luso-Brazilian, or U.S. Latino cultures.

Students interested in studying the Portuguese language and the cultures of Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries can enroll in our Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor. This course of study opens channels of communication with millions of people around the world, including Brazil, Latin America’s largest and most heavily populated country. Although not traditionally taught in the US, Portuguese is the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world. With about 220 million native speakers and around 270 million total speakers, it is not only the most spoken language in South America but worldwide is also more widely spoken than French and German combined.  


For the most current course requirements, please refer to the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Studies Department's program requirements sheet for the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor. Please contact an HLL advisor regarding requirements for students with enrollment dates prior to recent course registration policy revisions (the revision date is noted on the program sheet).

Specific Opportunities for Spanish Majors: Classes Overlap

Portuguese is undoubtedly easier to learn if you already have some proficiency in Spanish and the added foundation in Portuguese will strengthen your ability to acquire fluency in other romance languages. I enthusiastically encourage you to take full advantage of this opportunity to supplement your Spanish major with the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor! In accordance with new policies at Pitt, two courses can count for both the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor and the Spanish major, making it easier for Spanish majors to pursue the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor. You need only three additional classes to complete the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor!

1. PORT 0101 is a requirement for the Spanish major and now counts as one of the 5 courses for the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor. 

2. Elementary PORT 0102 can replace an upper-level elective (usually the SPAN 14XX courses) for Spanish majors who are also pursuing our Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor.  

3. PORT 1010 (Portuguese for Spanish speakers), currently offered only during the fall semester, encompasses content from PORT 0101 and PORT 0102. While it only satisfies one class requirement for the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Cultures minor, successful completion of PORT 1010 allows students to progress directly to PORT 0103, which will count as an upper-level elective instead of PORT 0102 for Spanish majors.  

Why Portuguese?

A foundation in Portuguese strengthens your ability to acquire other romance languages such as Spanish. Since it is so important and so rarely studied, knowledge of Portuguese is a marketable skill, especially in business and international relations.

  • 1 out of every 3 Latin Americans (and 1 out of every 2 South Americans) speaks Portuguese
  • Brazil is the most industrialized and largest economy in Latin America.
  • Portuguese is the sixth most commonly spoken language in the world with 220 million native speakers and 260 million total speakers, making it more widely spoken than French and German combined, as well as the most spoken language in South America.
  • It’s the official language in ten countries, including Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Portugal, Guinea- Bissau, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Macau, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portuguese was also used by Roman Catholic missionaries in Asia, and today there is a cultural presence of Portuguese in parts of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Portuguese is one of the fastest-growing languages in Western Europe and is an “optional learning language in 11 European countries” - nine of them in the European Union.
  • It is also an official language of the EU, the African Union, and the South American Latin Union. The British Council listed Portuguese as one of the top ten most important languages for the UK’s future, citing potential opportunities in trade, science, education, and diplomacy.
  • It’s considered a preferred language by the National Security Education Program (NSEP).
  • Portuguese is part of the Critical Language Scholarship Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages identified as critical to the national security and economic prosperity of the US.

Advising and Placement

For any additional information or placement test, please contact the Portuguese Language Program Coordinator, Ana Paula Carvalho.

Luso-Brazilian Student Association

Brazil Nuts is an active student organization whose primary goal is student exposure to Luso-Brazilian culture and the Portuguese language through conversation tables, movie nights, poetry, music, and more. Whether you speak Portuguese or not, you are welcome to participate in the club! If you are interested in becoming a member or an officer, please email Julia O'Hara.

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Study Abroad Opportunities

The CLAS Seminar and Field Program to Riberão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil (6 Weeks, 6 Credits)

Selected students will examine important historical and cultural elements of modern-day society that distinguishes this region of Brazil.  This is an intensive, two-part program that begins with a seminar during the spring semester and culminates with a cross-cultural home stay and individualized field study. The program is open to undergraduates of any major at the University of Pittsburgh and welcomes applicants from any field with sufficient Portuguese language proficiency and an interest in Latin American culture. For more information please contact Luis Bravo.

Portugal Internship Program (8 Weeks)

The Portugal internship program in Lisbon gives you the opportunity to spend eight weeks in Lisbon in a full-time internship or part-time internship with two classes. This program is a collaboration with the Study in Portugal network and leverages their extensive resources to offer you placements in an incredibly wide range of fields, including scientific and medical research, business, engineering, social science, public policy, and more. For additional information please contact Tim Crawford.