Skip to main content

Spanish, BA Major

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 Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Culture minor, 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 choose 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 film series.

If you are interested in our Spanish Major, you may email HLL Director of Undergraduate Studies Karen Goldman ( for more information.


For the most current course requirements, please refer to the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences Undergraduate Studies Department's program requirements sheet for the Spanish major. 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).


Before declaring the major, students must complete four Spanish language courses in order to gain the indispensable skills to effectively read, write and discuss in a second language. Students with any previous knowledge of Spanish must take a placement test. Please note that a grade of B+ or higher in SPAN 0104 is required to declare the major. The Spanish major requires students to complete 38 credits of coursework as detailed below.

Required Courses

Basic Level

Mid Level

All of the following courses are required. SPAN 1055 meets the writing requirement. PORT 0101 cannot be used to meet the requirements for the Spanish major and the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Culture minor.

Upper Level

Three Electives

Students must complete three upper-level elective courses from the 1400, 1600, and/or 1700 series. These courses address topics such as colonial literatures and cultures; the Latin American novel; U.S.-Latino literature and film; the African presence in Hispanic literature and culture; Queer Mexico; the Incas.

PORT 0102 - ELEMENTARY PORTUGUESE 2 may be used to meet this requirement only if the student is pursuing the Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian Culture minor.

Additional Information and Requirements

  • W Requirement: Spanish majors must complete one writing-intensive (W) course in the major. The following courses satisfy this requirement.
  • Grade Requirements: Students must maintain an average GPA of 2.0 or above in all department courses. No courses with a grade of C- or lower will count toward the major.
  • Satisfactory/No-Credit Option: Majors may take one required course on an S/NC basis.
  • Language of Instruction: Spanish majors can take up to one curse offered by the department that is taught in English. In order to have it count toward minor requirements, written assignments must be submitted in Spanish.
  • Study Abroad: At least one term of study abroad is recommended.
  • Credits in Residence: To complete the Spanish major, students are required to take at least half of the credits required for the major while in residence in the Dietrich School.
  • Placement Into Language Courses: For the Spanish placement test, please contact the Spanish Language Coordinator, Dolores Lima. For the Portuguese placement test, please contact the Portuguese Language Coordinator, Ana Paula Carvalho.
  • Credit by Examination: Students may receive credit by examination for some Spanish language courses. Similar credits may be earned in Portuguese.
  • Advising appointments can be scheduled through our department scheduling page.

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.