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.

How to Get in

Students may declare at any time in consultation with the Portuguese 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 Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (BA)

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.

Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements

Mathematics Complete the University General Education Requirements for Quantitative Reasoning A (QR-A) and Quantitative Reasoning B (QR-B) coursework.
  • Complete the fourth unit of a language other than English; OR
  • Complete the third unit of a language and the second unit of an additional language other than English.
LS Breadth
  • 12 credits of Humanities, which must include 6 credits of literature; and
  • 12 credits of Social Science; and
  • 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include one 3+ credit Biological Science course and one 3+ credit Physical Science course.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work Complete at least 60 credits at the intermediate or advanced level.
Major Declare and complete at least one major.
Total Credits Complete at least 120 credits.
UW-Madison Experience
  • 30 credits in residence, overall; and
  • 30 credits in residence after the 86th credit.
Quality of Work
  • 2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison
  • 2.000 in Intermediate/Advanced level 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. They do not need to complete the L&S Degree Requirements above.

Requirements for the Major

25 credits from PORTUG 202-699, to include:

Portuguese Literature
PORTUG 221 Introduction to Luso-Brazilian Literatures4
And complete 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
Portuguese Culture/Civilization (complete one):3
Portuguese Civilization
Brazilian Civilization
Carmen Miranda
Topics in Luso-Brazilian Culture
Composition and Conversation (complete two):6
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Third Year Conversation and Composition
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
Fourth Year Composition and Conversation
Elective Courses from PORTUG 202-699 19
Total Credits25

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in PORTUG and all major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits in residence2
  • 15 credits in PORTUG, taken at UW–Madison

Honors in the Major

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

Honors in the Portuguese Major Requirements

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

  • Earn a 3.300 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:



May not include PORTUG 301 which is the equivalent of PORTUG 101 and PORTUG 102.


 PORTUG courses with the Advanced level designation are considered upper-level in the major.

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.

Learning Outcomes

  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.

Four-Year Plan

This Four-Year Plan is only one way a student may complete an L&S degree with this major. Many factors can affect student degree planning, including placement scores, credit for transferred courses, credits earned by examination, and individual scholarly interests. In addition, many students have commitments (e.g., athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, work and volunteer experiences) that necessitate they adjust their plans accordingly. Informed students engage in their own unique Wisconsin Experience by consulting their academic advisors, Guide, DARS, and Course Search & Enroll for assistance making and adjusting their plan.

First Year
Communication A3Ethnic Studies3
Quantitative Reasoning A3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 15 16
Second Year
First Semester of Another Romance Language4Second Semester of Another Romance Language4
Communication B (LITTRANS 226, a Communication-B course, often meets with PORTUG 221.)3-4Physical Science Breadth3
Elective3Social Science Breadth 3
INTER-LS 2101 
 15 14
Third Year
Quantatative Reasoning B / Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if needed for BS)3PORTUG 2214
Social Science Breadth3Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if needed for BS)3
 15 16
Fourth Year
Portuguese Culture/Civilization3Additional Portuguese Literature3
Portuguese Elective3Portuguese Elective3
Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
 15 14
Total Credits 120

Advising and Careers


Karen Francis, Undergraduate Advisor
1012 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Spanish & Portuguese Undergraduate Advising


International Directions Advisor
1322 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.


Professors Alcalá-Galán, Beilin, Bilbija, Close, De Ferrari, Egea, Goldgel-Carballo, Hernández, Hutchinson, Medina, Podestá, Rao, Sanchez, Sapega, Tejedo-Herrero

Associate Professors Ancos-García, Armstrong, Cerezo Paredes, Pellegrini, Stafford

Lecturer Mercado

Teaching Faculty Álvarez Oquendo, Fondow, Pujol, Rodríguez-Guridi

Editor Ríos Rodríguez

Department Administrator Deavers

Administrative Assistant Weeks

Financial Specialist Deavers

Graduate Program Manager Zimmer

Undergraduate Advisor Francis