Here are some of the many reasons to learn Portuguese.

  • Close to 250 million people speak Portuguese. Brazil alone has a population of 205 million.
  • Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, before German (10th), French (11th) and Italian (15th).
  • Portuguese is spoken in 11 countries on four continents. Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, East Timor, and is also widely spoken in Equatorial Guinea, Macau (China), and Goa (India).
  • Portuguese is a working and/or official language of important international organizations, such as the African Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, the European Union, Mercosul, the Organization of American States, and the Organization of Ibero-American States.
  • An estimated 1.3 million native Portuguese-speakers live in the United States.
  • To study Portuguese is an asset in today’s global economy. For example, Brazil’s economy is among the largest in the world.
  • The Portuguese novelist José Saramago won the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature. The music, festivities, culture, and art of the Portuguese-speaking countries are appreciated all over the world.
  • Portuguese shares some grammar rules, sentence structure, and similar vocabulary words with other Romance languages. If you already speak French, Spanish or Italian, Portuguese is an easy and fun language to learn.
  • You will certainly enjoy our Portuguese classes that are student-focused and culturally engaging!\. Our 101–102 textbook will soon be available as an interactive open-access e-book.
  • Last but not least, Brazil is the only country that has won the World Soccer Cup Championship five times.

Students may declare at any time prior to attaining senior standing (86 credits) in consultation with the Portuguese undergraduate advisor.  More information about declaring can be found at advising.

University General Education Requirements

All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.

General Education
  • Breadth—Humanities/Literature/Arts: 6 credits
  • Breadth—Natural Science: 4 to 6 credits, consisting of one 4- or 5-credit course with a laboratory component; or two courses providing a total of 6 credits
  • Breadth—Social Studies: 3 credits
  • Communication Part A & Part B *
  • Ethnic Studies *
  • Quantitative Reasoning Part A & Part B *

* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.

College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of science degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.


Mathematics Two (2) 3+ credits of intermediate/advanced level MATH, COMP SCI, STAT
Limit one each: COMP SCI, STAT
Foreign Language Complete the third unit of a foreign language
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
L&S Breadth
  • Humanities, 12 credits: 6 of the 12 credits must be in literature
  • Social Sciences, 12 credits
  • Natural Sciences, 12 credits: must include 6 credits in biological science; and must include 6 credits in physical science
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework 108 credits
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work 60 intermediate or advanced credits
Major Declare and complete at least one (1) major
Total Credits 120 credits
UW-Madison Experience 30 credits in residence, overall
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
Minimum GPAs 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison


Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above.  Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non-L&S-degree-seeking candidates:  

  • Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
  • Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
  • Music (Bachelor of Music)
  • Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)

Requirements for the Major

26 PORTUG credits beyond PORTUG 201 to include: 1
Survey of Portuguese Literature
Select one of the following:3
Survey of Portuguese Literature before 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature before 1890
Survey of Portuguese Literature since 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature since 1890
Additional Portuguese Literature
Select one of the following:3
Survey of Portuguese Literature before 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature before 1890
Brazillian Women Writers
Lusophone African Literature
Survey of Portuguese Literature since 1825
Survey of Brazilian Literature since 1890
Topics in Luso-Brazilian Literature
Portuguese Culture/Civilization
Select one of the following:3
Portuguese Civilization
Brazilian Civilization
Historical and Cultural Traditions of Brazil
Carmen Miranda
Topics in Luso-Brazilian Culture
Composition and Conversation
Select two of the following:6
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
Elective Courses in PORTUG
Select two additional PORTUG courses numbered 302 or higher.6
Select additional PORTUG courses beyond PORTUG 201 to bring total credits to 26. 15
Second Romance Language
Two units of another Romance language (French, Italian, or Spanish) taken either in high school or in college. 2
Total Credits26


2.000 GPA in PORTUG and major courses

2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits in residence3

15 credits in PORTUG, taken at UW–Madison

Honors in the Major

Students may declare Honors in the Portuguese Major in consultation with the Portuguese undergraduate advisor.


To earn Honors in the Major in Portuguese, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn 3.500 GPA for all PORTUG courses at or above PORTUG 302, and any course that counts for the major
  • Complete at least 16 credits, taken for Honors, with individual grades of B or better, to include:

University Degree Requirements 

Total Degree To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.
Residency Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.
Quality of Work Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.

1. Develop communication skills in Portuguese and integrate these skills to exchange and assess ideas effectively and with level-appropriate accuracy in written and spoken Portuguese.

2. Demonstrate understanding of linguistic, pragmatic, sociolinguistic, and stylistic features of written and spoken Portuguese, understand how they influence meaning, and apply these features in level-appropriate ways in writing and speech.

3. Demonstrate knowledge of Lusophone cultures across historical epochs, including awareness of the social, cultural, and linguistic diversity that characterizes the Portuguese-speaking world.

4. Demonstrate familiarity with and apply basic methods of literary and/or linguistic analysis, which for literary analysis includes interpretation of written texts and other forms of artistic/cultural creation, both in and of themselves and in the context of the particular social, cultural, and historical milieus in which they were created.


Karen Francis, Undergraduate Advisor
702 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive


International Directions Advisor
1322 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive

711 State Street, Suite 300
Madison, WI 53703

L&S career resources

SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers).

SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career. 

Professors Beilin, Bilbija, Close, Corfis, De Ferrari, Egea, Frantzen, Hildner, Hutchinson, Madureira, Medina, Podestá, Sanchez, Sapega

Associate Professors Alcalá-Galán, Ancos-García, Goldgel-Carballo, Hernández, Pellegrini, Rao, Stafford, Tejedo Herrera

Assistant Professors Armstrong, Cerezo Paredes, Comparone

Senior Lecturer Mercado

Lecturers Fondow, Rodríguez-Guridi

Faculty Associates Kaaikiola Strohbusch, Pujol

Associate Faculty Associate Neumayer

Assistant Faculty Associate Rengel

Department Administrator Simpson

Program Associate Tanner

Financial Specialist Tainter

Graduate Coordinator Fanis

Undergraduate Advisor Francis