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, and business professions
  • Journalism
  • Travel industry
  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • Non-governmental/nonprofit 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.  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

Introductory Literature & Culture
Both required. Concurrent enrollment is permitted. These courses are prerequisites to advanced major courses.
SPANISH 223 Introduction to Hispanic Cultures3
SPANISH 224 Introduction to Hispanic Literatures3
Language Practice3
Advanced Language Practice
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:
Survey of Early Hispanic Literature
Survey of Modern Spanish Literature
Survey of Spanish American Literature
Additional Literatue, 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 Electives
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 Credits33

Advanced coursework

At least 3 credits in SPANISH numbered 400 or higher are required.

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 residence2
  • 15 credits in SPANISH, taken on the UW–Madison campus

SPANISH Literature, Culture/Civilization, and Linguistics courses

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 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.

Honors in the Spanish Major: Requriements

To earn 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 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 and SPANISH 682 for at least 6 credits.1

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 Spanish and integrate these skills to exchange and assess ideas effectively and with level-appropriate accuracy in written and spoken Spanish.

2. 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. Demonstrate knowledge of Hispanic cultures across historical epochs, including awareness of the social, cultural, and linguistic diversity that characterizes the Spanish-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