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

How to Get in

Students may declare at any time in consultation with the Spanish undergraduate advisor.

Students declared in the Spanish major are not eligible to declare the Certificate in Spanish Studies for Business Students.

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 Science (BS)

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 the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree requirements.

Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements

Mathematics Complete two courses of 3+ credits at the Intermediate or Advanced level in MATH, COMP SCI, or STAT subjects. A maximum of one course in each of COMP SCI and STAT subjects counts toward this requirement.
Language Complete the third unit of a language other than English.
LS Breadth Complete:
• 12 credits of Humanities, which must include at least 6 credits of Literature; and
• 12 credits of Social Science; and
• 12 credits of Natural Science, which must include 6 credits of Biological Science and 6 credits of Physical Science.
Liberal Arts and Science Coursework Complete at least 108 credits.
Depth of Intermediate/Advanced Coursework 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 Complete both:
• 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

Introductory Culture (complete one):3
Introduction to Hispanic Cultures
Introduction to Latinx Cultures
Introductory Literature3
Introduction to Hispanic Literatures
Introductory Linguistics:3
Lying, Swearing, and Breaking the Rules: An Introduction to the Linguistic Study of Spanish
Advanced Language Practice:3
Advanced Language Practice
Survey Literature (complete one):3
Survey of Early Hispanic Literature
Survey of Modern Spanish Literature
Survey of Spanish American Literature
Linguistics (complete one):3
Spanish Phonetics
The Structure of Modern Spanish
Introduction to Spanish Linguistics
Spanish Applied Linguistics
Advanced Spanish Phonetics
Introduction to the Romance Languages
Spanish in the United States
Topics in Spanish Linguistics
Study Abroad in Spanish Linguistics
Culture (complete one):3
Spanish Civilization
Spanish American Civilization
Survey of Latino and Latina Popular Culture
Culture and the Environment in the Luso-Hispanic World
Topics in Hispanic Culture
Topics in Latinx Culture
Hispanic Screen Studies
Study Abroad in Hispanic Cultures
Latin American Rock Cultures
Border and Race Studies in Latin America
Topics in Latin American Performance/Visual Studies
Race, Religion and Ethnicity in the Age of Empire
Targeted Language Skills (complete one):3
Spanish for Nursing
Spanish for Pharmacy
Topics in Spanish Language Practice
Advanced Language Practice with Emphasis on Expository Writing
Advanced Conversation
Spanish for Business
Spanish Business Area Studies
Study Abroad in Spanish Language Practice
Student Option3
Complete one of the following:
3 additional SPANISH credits numbered 300 or above
Topics in Spanish American Literature in Translation
Intensive Portuguese
Spanish Electives:9
9 additional SPANISH credits numbered 400 or above
Total Credits36

Faculty Engagement

At least 6 credits of SPANISH numbered 400 or above must be taken while physically on the UW-Madison campus.

Residence and Quality of Work

  • 2.000 GPA in SPANISH and all major courses
  • 2.000 GPA on at least 15 credits of upper-level work in the major, taken in residence1
  • 15 credits in SPANISH, taken on the UW–Madison campus

Honors in the Major

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

Honors in the 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 a 3.500 GPA for all SPANISH courses numbered 300 and higher
  • Complete the following coursework, taken for Honors, with individual grades of B or better:



Courses numbered above SPANISH 311 Advanced Language Practice are considered upper-level in the major.


In certain circumstances (particularly when the student is an Honors candidate in two or more departments), 6 credits in literature, linguistics, or cultural studies in courses numbered 500-680 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.

Learning Outcomes

  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.

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 A3Quantatative Reasoning A or Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if BS)3
Social Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
 15 15
Second Year
Communication B (Do not take in same semester as SPANISH 311.)3Ethnic Studies3
Physical Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 15 15
Third Year
SPANISH 311 (Do not take in same semester as Communication B.)3Spanish Survey Literature course3
Spanish Targeted Language Skills course3Advanced Spanish Culture course3
Quantatative Reasoning B or Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if BS)3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3Electives6
 15 15
Fourth Year
Advanced Spanish Linguistics course3400 level Spanish Elective3
400 level Spanish Elective3400 level Spanish Elective3
Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 15 15
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