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 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 86th 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

Introductory Courses (complete all):
Survey Literature (complete one):3
Linguistics (complete one):3
Additional Culture/Civilization OR Targeted Language Skills3
Targeted Language Skills courses:
Electives to reach 36 credits in the major, chosen from:12
SPANISH courses numbered 400-699
Or one (and only one) course from:
Total Credits36

Faculty Engagement

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


  • 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 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.

Sample Four-Year Plan

This Sample Four-Year Plan is a tool to assist students and their advisor(s). Students should use it—along with their DARS report, the Degree Planner, and Course Search & Enroll tools—to make their own four-year plan based on their placement scores, credit for transferred courses and approved examinations, and individual interests. As students become involved in athletics, honors, research, student organizations, study abroad, volunteer experiences, and/or work, they might adjust the order of their courses to accommodate these experiences. Students will likely revise their own four-year plan several times during college.

First Year
Communication A3Quantatative Reasoning A or Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if B.S.)3
Social Science Breadth3Science Breadth3
 15 15
Second Year
Communication BDo not take in same semester as SPANISH 311.3Ethnic Studies3
Physical Science Breadth3Social Science Breadth3
 15 15
Third Year
SPANISH 311Do not take in same semester as Communication B.3300 level Spanish Literature course3
300-400 level Spanish Linguistics course3300-400 level Spanish Culture course3
Quantatative Reasoning B or Intermediate/Advanced COMP SCI/MATH/STAT (if B.S.)3Biological Science Breadth3
Social Science Breadth3Electives6
 15 15
Fourth Year
300-400 level in Spanish Culture course or Optional Language Practice course3400 level Spanish Elective3
400 level Spanish Elective3400 level Spanish Elective3
400 level Spanish Elective3Social Science Breadth3
Science Breadth3Electives6
 15 15
Total Credits 120


Karen Francis, Undergraduate Advisor
1008 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive
Spanish & Portuguese Undergraduate Advising


International Directions Advisor
1322 Van Hise Hall
1220 Linden Drive

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). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.

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. 

Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.

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

Associate Professors Alcalá-Galán, Ancos-García, Armstrong, Cerezo Paredes, Goldgel-Carballo, Pellegrini, Rao, Stafford, Tejedo Herrera

Senior Lecturer Mercado

Faculty Associate Pujol

Associate Faculty Associates Fondow, Neumayer, Rodríguez-Guridi

Department Administrator Simpson

Graduate Coordinator Zimmer

Program Associate Tanner

Financial Specialist McLimans

Undergraduate Advisor Francis