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Overview In 1787 Thomas Jefferson wrote: “Spanish. Bestow great attention on this and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connection with Spain and Spanish American will render that language a valuable acquisition.” Jefferson’s words have never rung more true than they do today.
The major in Spanish is designed to assure that the student receives a background in language/linguistics, literature, and culture, or a combination of these areas.
Faculty The Spanish department is made up of fourteen faculty members who offer expertise in a wide range of areas: peninsular literature from the medieval to the modern periods; Latin American literature from Colonial times to the present; Portuguese and Brazilian literature; Spanish cinema; Hispanic women's writing; Spanish and Latin-American culture; and Hispanic linguistics. In addition to these specialists, the department regularly invites for a semester a distinguished visiting professor or Hispanic author (recent visitors have included Isabel Allende, Mempo Giardinelli, Rosa Montero, and Antonio Cisneros).
Independent study with a faculty advisor is available to advanced students who wish to pursue specific areas in depth that are not included in the regular curriculum. All of these courses are taught in Spanish.
Students There are currently more than 150 students majoring in Spanish. More than half of these are double majors. The most popular combinations with the Spanish major include Latin American studies or other languages such as French or Italian. Class sizes vary depending on the level and type of course. Introductory courses have between fifteen and twenty-five students, conversation courses have fifteen students, and more advanced courses normally have no more than twenty-five students. While some Spanish majors become teachers of Spanish, others find the major useful for careers in business, medicine, law, the government, and international agencies.
Study Abroad A study abroad program to Valencia, Spain is available through the Spanish department and is strongly encouraged. Students may spend a summer term, a semester, or an entire year with a Spanish family, becoming totally immersed in the language and culture.
Requirements for Major in Spanish The Spanish major consists of a wide variety of language, literature, and culture courses designed to provide the student with a thorough background suitable for various employment or graduate opportunities.
The major in Spanish has two options or tracks from which the student may choose his or her preferred curriculum: the literature and culture option or the general option. In order to provide basic skills or knowledge necessary for the two options, certain core courses are common to both.
A total of 30 credits above SPAN 201, 202, as indicated in the outlines of each option, constitutes a major. (Note: SPAN 301 does not count toward a major. Native and bilingual Spanish speakers may not take conversational courses.) Only grades of C or better count for the major program.
Course requirements vary according to the option selected, but all Spanish majors must take SPAN 311, 330, a survey of literature course, and 427 or 428.
The department has a Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Spanish for those students who excel and want to graduate with a title of distinction, high distinction, or highest distinction. Several prizes are awarded each year to outstanding students.
Major in Latin-American Studies For major and minor requirements see section on Latin American Studies.
Requirements for Minor in Spanish The Spanish minor consists of 18 credits beyond the 202 level. Only grades of C or better count for the minor program.
Five-year Teacher Education Program Students wishing to enroll in the five-year B.A.-M.T. Teacher Education Program should contact Professor Alicia Belozerco in the Curry School of Education or the program advisors in Spanish (Professors David T. Gies or Carmen García Fernández). The five-year program leads toward teaching certification and has special requirements, including a mandatory study abroad and diagnostic and evaluative proficiency exams in Spanish.
Language Requirement The SPAN 101, 102 courses in this department are reserved for students who present no entrance credits in the language. Students who enter with two or more entrance credits and who wish to continue that language will be placed according to scores obtained on College Entrance Examination Board achievement tests in the language. The sequence of courses, depending on the level at which the student begins, is as follows: SPAN 101, 102, 201, 202; or SPAN 106, 201, 202; or SPAN 106, 202; or SPAN 201, 202; or SPAN 202. The sequence must be followed to complete the language requirement. Students who place themselves incorrectly will not receive credit.
Additional Information For more information, contact the Department of Spanish, 115 Wilson Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924-7159.
Continue to: Spanish Course Descriptions
Return to: Chapter 6 Index