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.
Departmental Honors requirements
Especially for students interested in graduate work, the department offers honors in the major, which requires:
- a 3.5 average in departmental courses and 3.0 overall
- a senior thesis of 25-30 pages, written under the supervision of a faculty member close to the field of the thesis
- at least a semester of study abroad is strongly recommended but not required
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
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 the advisors for Pennsylvania Teaching Certification and Masters of Arts in Teaching Programs in the School of Education (Maggie Sikors, mjs firstname.lastname@example.org, 5504 Posvar Hall, 412-648-7413).
Study Abroad Options for Majors in the Hispanic Languages and Literatures Department
Students are strongly encouraged to add an international dimension to their undergraduate education through studying abroad. By participating in a study abroad program, students earn credits toward their degree. The department offer four programs that are matched directly with major and minor requirements. Information on some of the programs follow.
Study abroad is strongly encouraged. The department offers four programs that are matched directly with major and minor requirements. Information on some of the programs follows.
- Study abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain (30 minutes from Madrid) runs every odd-numbered year; for more information, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
- Study abroad in Santiago de Chile runs every even-numbered years; for more information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Study abroad in Porto Alegre, Brazil runs every year; for more information, send an e-mail to email@example.com.
- Study abroad in Havana, Cuba runs every year; for more information, contact the Study Abroad Office (www.abroad.pitt.edu) via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 412-648-7419.
CoursesHispanic Languages & Literatures