Did you know that by 2050 the United States could have more Spanish speakers than any other country?

Spanish continues to gain ground as a widely-spoken national and international language, making the ability to communicate effectively in both written and spoken Spanish an invaluable intellectual, social, cultural, and professional resource. Spanish is the official or co-official language of 21 countries, and with more than 400 million speakers worldwide (projected increase to about 530 million by 2050), it is the third most widely spoken language on the planet after Mandarin and English.

What can you do with a Spanish major?

The following are just a few of the many career paths for which proficiency in spoken and written Spanish can be a valuable asset:

  • Bilingual and Second Language Education
  • Medical, Legal & Business Professions
  • Journalism
  • Travel Industry
  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • Non-governmental/non-profit work
  • Library Science
  • Foreign Service

Students may declare at any time prior to attaining senior standing (86 credits) in consultation with the Spanish undergraduate advisor.

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 Arts (B.A.)

Students pursuing a bachelor of arts 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.

Bachelor of Arts degree requirements

Mathematics Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.
Foreign Language
  • Complete the fourth unit of a foreign language; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a foreign language and the second unit of an additional 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 one 3+ credit course in the biological sciences; must include one 3+ credit course in the physical sciences
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 pursuing an L&S major

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.

Requirements for the Major

Following are the Spanish major requirements for all students declaring the Spanish major on or after August 26, 2013.

Spanish Major Prerequisites

Concurrent enrollment is permitted. These prerequisites must be completed before studying more advanced levels of literature or culture/civilization. Please note that though these courses do not count toward the 27 credits required for the Spanish major, all Spanish majors must complete both of these courses. Students can declare the Spanish major at any time; completion of these courses is not a prerequisite to Spanish major declaration.

SPANISH 223 Introduction to Hispanic Cultures3
SPANISH 224 Introduction to Hispanic Literatures3

Spanish Major Requirements

Language Practice
SPANISH 311 Advanced Language Practice3
Select one of the following:3
Spanish Phonetics
The Structure of Modern Spanish
Spanish Applied Linguistics
Select one of the following:3
Spanish Civilization
Spanish American Civilization
Topics in Hispanic Culture
Topics in Hispanic Cultures in the U.S.
Study Abroad in Hispanic Cultures
Select one of the following:3
Survey of Early Hispanic Literature
Survey of Modern Spanish Literature
Survey of Spanish American Literature
Additional Literature and/or Culture/Civilization and/or Linguistics
Select 9 additional credits in literature and/or culture/civilization and/or linguistics. (See below for courses that fulfill this requirement.)9
Required Elective Credits
Select 6 additional credits in SPANISH courses at or above the 300 level.6
Students may also choose to take up to 4 credits in LATIN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, or PORTUG, beginning with:
Elementary Latin
French for Speakers of Other Romance Languages
Italian for Speakers of Other Romance Languages
Intensive Portuguese
and/or more advanced offerings 1
Total Credits27

Advanced Coursework

At least 3 credits in SPANISH courses at or above the 400 level must be taken.

Faculty Engagement

At least 6 credits in SPANISH courses at or above the 300 level must be taken while physically present on the UW–Madison campus.


2.000 GPA in SPANISH and major courses

2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, taken in residence: SPANISH 220 to 699

15 credits in SPANISH, taken while physically present on the UW–Madison campus.


 Coursework in Portuguese is recommended.


SPANISH 320 Spanish Phonetics3
SPANISH 321 The Structure of Modern Spanish3
SPANISH 322 Survey of Early Hispanic Literature3
SPANISH 324 Survey of Modern Spanish Literature3
SPANISH 326 Survey of Spanish American Literature3
SPANISH 327 Introduction to Spanish Linguistics3
SPANISH 331 Spanish Applied Linguistics3
SPANISH 361 Spanish Civilization3
SPANISH 363 Spanish American Civilization3
SPANISH/​MEDIEVAL  414 Literatura de la Edad Media Castellana (ss. XII-XV)3
SPANISH 417 Literatura del Siglo de Oro3-4
SPANISH/​FRENCH/​ITALIAN/​PORTUG  429 Introduction to the Romance Languages3
SPANISH 435 Cervantes3
SPANISH 446 Topics in Spanish Linguistics3
SPANISH 451 Literature of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries3
SPANISH 453 Literature of the Twentieth Century3
SPANISH/​CHICLA  459 Mexico in the Chicano and Chicana Literary Imagination3
SPANISH 460 Literatura Hispanoamericana3
SPANISH 461 The Spanish American Short Story3
SPANISH 462 Spanish American Theater and Drama3
SPANISH 463 The Spanish American Novel3
SPANISH 464 Spanish American Poetry and Essay3
SPANISH 465 Literature and Film in Spanish America3
SPANISH 466 Topics in Spanish American Literature1
SPANISH 468 Topics in Hispanic Culture3
SPANISH/​CHICLA  469 Topics in Hispanic Cultures in the U.S.3
SPANISH 470 Undergraduate Seminars in Hispanic Literature/Culture/Linguistics3
SPANISH 471 Topics in Hispanic Literature3
SPANISH 472 Hispanic Screen Studies3
SPANISH 474 Study Abroad in Spanish Linguistics1-4
SPANISH 475 Study Abroad in Hispanic Literatures1-4
SPANISH 476 Study Abroad in Hispanic Cultures1-4

Honors in the Major

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


To earn a B.A. or B.S. with Honors in the Major in Spanish students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:

  • Earn a 3.300 overall university GPA
  • Earn a 3.500 GPA for all SPANISH courses 300 level and higher
  • Complete the following coursework, taken for Honors, with individual grades of B or better:
    • 6 credits, SPANISH 327 to SPANISH 680
    • 3 credits, SPANISH 300 to SPANISH 680
    • A two-semester Senior Honors Thesis in SPANISH 681 Senior Honors Thesis and SPANISH 682 Senior Honors Thesis, for a total of 6 credits.1

In certain circumstances (particularly when the student is an Honors candidate in two or more departments), 6 credits in literature, linguistics, or cultural studies at the 500 or 600 level, excluding SPANISH 681, SPANISH 682, SPANISH 691, SPANISH 692, and SPANISH 699, may be substituted for the Honors Thesis, upon recommendation by the Spanish undergraduate advisor.

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. Students will develop communication skills in Spanish and integrate these skills to exchange and assess ideas effectively and with level-appropriate accuracy in written and spoken Spanish.
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of linguistic, pragmatic, sociolinguistic, and stylistic features of written and spoken Spanish, understand how they influence meaning, and apply these features in level-appropriate ways in writing and speech.
  3. Students will demonstrate knowledge of Hispanic cultures across historical epochs, including awareness of the social, cultural, and linguistic diversity that characterizes the Spanish-speaking world.
  4. Students will 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 Thompson, Undergraduate Advisor
702 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive


Michael Kruse, International Directions Advisor
1322 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive

Letters & Science Career Services

Professors Albuquerque, 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

Lecturer Rodríguez-Guridi

Associate Lecturer Fondow

Faculty Associates Gemrich, Harrington

Associate Faculty Associates Kaaikiola Strohbusch, Neumayer, Pujol

Department Administrator Simpson

Program Associate Tanner

Graduate Coordinator Fanis

Undergraduate Advisor Thompson