Spanish Major Requirements

The major in Spanish requires 36 semester hours (12 courses) above the level of SPAN:1000-SPAN:1999.  The major level courses (SPAN:2000 to SPAN:4998) are grouped in two ways, by content area and by level.  By content area, there are courses which focus on literature and literary analysis, on cultural topics, on creative writing, on linguistics and on language skills.  By level, there are three main levels, according to how much previous study the student has had in Spanish: courses numbered SPAN:2000 - SPAN:2999, courses numbered SPAN:3000 - SPAN:3999, and courses numbered SPAN:4000 - SPAN:4998.  The distributional requirements for the major are based on the content area and the level.

Content area distributional requirement

Core courses (5 courses):  At least 1 course in each of the following areas: 15 s.h.

  • Writing (3 s.h.)
  • Hispanic linguistics (3 s.h.)
  • Spanish peninsular literature (3 s.h.)
  • Spanish American literature (3 s.h.)
  • Culture (peninsular or Spanish American)  (3 s.h.)

(Lists of courses in each of these areas are given below.)

Major elective courses (7 courses): 21 s.h.

Elective courses of the major may be additional courses in the five areas above, as well as Introduction to Reading Literature (SPAN:2300) and coursework in Spanish language skills, including language courses which focus on specialized language functions and purposes.  Elective courses may also include up to two courses in Portuguese and/or two courses in related areas from other departments, such as History, Linguistics, or Anthropology.

Level distributional requirement

  • Of the twelve total courses above, at least one course (the first course taken at the major level) must be in the range SPAN:2000 - SPAN:2999 (035:102 - 035:114).  No more than four courses in this range can be included in the twelve courses for the Spanish major.  Courses in this range have the prerequisite of Intermediate Spanish II (SPAN:1502/035:012) or Accelerated Intermediate Spanish (SPAN:1503/035:013), or placement into this level by the Foreign Language Placement Test.
  • Of the twelve total courses above, at least three must be in the range SPAN:4000 - SPAN:4998 (035:170 to 035:198).  Courses in this range have varied requirements, but typically require previous coursework in the range SPAN:3000 - SPAN:3999.  SPAN:4999 and courses from study abroad programs cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.

Restrictions on Spanish major elective courses:

  • No credit from PORT:3010 / 038:100 (Accelerated Elementary Portuguese) may be applied toward the Spanish major. Of the 6 s.h. earned in PORT:3020 / 038:101 (Accelerated Intermediate Portuguese), 3 s.h. may be applied toward the Spanish major. No more than 6 s.h. total of coursework in Portuguese may be applied toward the Spanish major.
  • No more than 6 s.h. from related courses outside the department may be applied toward the Spanish major. Related courses must be approved by the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Department of Spanish & Portuguese.  For a list of currently approved related courses, see below.  Note that some study abroad courses, because of their content, fall into this category.
  • No more than 6 s.h. in courses taught in English (in this department, in other departments, or in study abroad programs) may be applied toward the Spanish major.
  • At least 21 s.h. of courses for the major must be University of Iowa credit (including credit earned in study abroad programs for which resident (UI) credit is awarded).

Course progression through the Spanish major levels:

Students who are just beginning a Spanish major (or minor) should start with the courses numbered SPAN:2000 - SPAN:2999 (035:102 - 035:114).  These are the courses which introduce students to work in the Spanish major and minor.  Any of these courses can be taken as a first course after completing the General Education Program sequence in Spanish language, or equivalent.  These are "5th semester" courses, that is, courses which students may earn FLIP credits.  Students must take at least one course in this range before progressing to the next level.  In the usual case, students take two or three courses in this range.

The great majority of Spanish major level courses are in the range SPAN:3000 - SPAN:3999 (035:115 to 035:169).  The general prerequisite for courses in this range is at least one course in Spanish in the range SPAN:2000 - SPAN:2999.  Of the 12 courses required for the Spanish major, probably six to seven of the courses will be at this level.

  • The best time to do study abroad is when you are at this level.  Study abroad programs which require the equivalent of 5 to 6 previous college semesters of Spanish are at this level, and this will give you a solid foundation for completing the courses at the most advanced level when you return to campus.

The most advanced undergraduate courses are those numbered SPAN:4000 - SPAN:4998 (035:170 - 035:198).  These are courses which students should plan on taking in their last two semesters of registration.  These courses generally require a research paper, and they are also open to graduate students in Spanish at the M.A. level.  In general, literature courses at this level have as a prerequisite at least two previous Spanish literature courses, one of which should be SPAN:3300 or higher; linguistics courses at this level generally have as a prerequisite Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (SPAN:3100/035:121) or equivalent.  Some courses may have more specific prerequisites.

Courses meeting core requirements

for the undergraduate major in Spanish


SPAN:2000 (35:103)  Spanish Language Skills: Writing
SPAN:2005               Writing Global Spanish
SPAN:3000 (35:139)  Writing Skills for Heritage Speakers
SPAN:3020 (35:119)  Journalistic Writing in Spanish
SPAN:3060 (35:120)  Intro Workshop Creative Writing in Spanish

Hispanic Linguistics (*= does not have prerequisite of previous linguistics course)

SPAN:3100 (35:121)  *Structures of Spanish: Words & Sentences
SPAN:3110 (35:122)  *Spanish Sound Structure
SPAN:3120 (35:124)  *Introduction to Bilingualism
SPAN:3130 (35:123)  *Foundations in Sociolinguistics
SPAN:3150 (35:126)  *Spanish Applied Linguistics
SPAN:3170 (35:128)  *Introduction to Spanish Language Acquisition
SPAN:4100 (35:189)  Introduction to Spanish Phonology
SPAN:4120 (35:187)  Spanish Word Formation
SPAN:4140 (35:188)  History of the Spanish Language
SPAN:4150 (35:186)  Introduction to Spanish Syntax
SPAN:4170 (35:184)  Linguistic Aspects of Second Language Acquisition
SPAN:4190 (35:185)  Topics in Hispanic Linguistics

Peninsular Literature

SPAN:2400 (35:110)  Readings in Spanish Literature
SPAN:3700 (35:160)  The Cid in History and Legend
SPAN:3750 (35:151)  Literature in the Time of Cervantes
SPAN:3790 (35:155)  Hispanic Institute: Literature
SPAN:3820 (35:161)  Modern and Contemporary Spanish Literature
SPAN:3830 (35:156)  Spanish Literature of the Transition
SPAN:3840 (35:157)  Contemporary Spanish Short Story
SPAN:4620 (35:180)  Spanish Golden Age Fiction
SPAN:4630 (35:182)  Society and Poetry: Spanish Lyric
SPAN:4650 (35:183)  Don Quijote
SPAN:4690 (35:181)  Topics in Spanish Literature

Spanish-American Literature

SPAN:2500 (35:111)  Readings in Spanish American Literature
SPAN:3300 (35:131)  Contemporary Spanish American Fiction
SPAN:3310 (35:134)  Spanish American Short Story
SPAN:3320 (35:132)  Spanish American Poetry
SPAN:3350 (35:140)  Contemporary Spanish American Literature
SPAN:3360 (35:144)  Latin American Women Writers
SPAN:3370 (35:147)  Topics in Literatures and Cultures
SPAN:4310 (35:175)  Cultural Identity in Caribbean Literature
SPAN:4330 (35:173)  Colonial Spanish American Literature
SPAN:4350 (35:171)  20th-Century Spanish American Theater and Performance
SPAN:4360               "The Orient" in Contemporary Latin American Literature & Culture
SPAN:4370 (35:177)  Literature and Mass Culture in Latin America
SPAN:4380 (35:193)  Narratives of Underdevelopment
SPAN:4390 (35:178)  Topics in Spanish American Literature


SPAN:2200 (35:114)  Introduction to Spanish American Cultures
SPAN:2800 (35:113)  Screening Latin America
SPAN:2900 (35:107)  Music of the Hispanic World
SPAN:3200 (35:130)  Cultures of Spanish America
SPAN:3220 (35:149)  Visual Culture: Colonial Spanish America
SPAN:3230 (35:138)  Modern Mexico
SPAN:3290 (35:148)  Topics in Cinema and Society
SPAN:3400 (35:137)  Chicano Literature and Culture
SPAN:3500 (35:164)  Topics in Culture of the Hispanic World
SPAN:3520 (35:145)  Introduction to Film Studies
SPAN:3550               Doing Business in the Spanish-Speaking World
SPAN:3600 (35:150)  Cultures of Spain
SPAN:3610 (35:154)  Hispanic Institute: Culture
SPAN:3620 (35:153)  Madrid
SPAN:3630 (35:158)  Spanish Youth Culture
SPAN:4820 (35:174)  Latino/a Popular Culture
SPAN:4830 (35:197)  The Hispanic World in the Digital Era
SPAN:4850 (35:172)  Topics in Cultural Studies
SPAN:4860 (35:170)  The Spanish Civil War
SPAN:4870 (35:179)  Islamic Cultural Presence in Spain
SPAN:4880 (35:195)  Comic Books and Graphic Novels in the Hispanic World
SPAN:4920 (35:192)  Topics in Film Studies

Approved courses for undergraduate major

in related departments (subject to 6 s.h. limit on courses from other departments)


113:117  The Maya
113:130  Archaeology of the Iberian Peninsular
113:131  Latin American Economy and Society
113:163  Archaeology of Mesoamerica
113:166  The Aztecs, their Predecessors, and their Contemporaries


1H:105  Art of Pre-Columbian America

Communication Studies

36:152  Latin American Media


16A:113   Latino Immigration
16W:106  Society and Revolution in Cuba
16W 107  History of Mexico
16W:110  Topics in Latin American History
16W:111  Colonial Latin America
16W:112  Introduction to Modern Latin America
16W:114  Latin America and the U.S.: The Historical Perspective
16W:115  Latin American Revolution
16W:116  Dictatorships of Latin America

International Studies
187:142  Introduction to Caribbean Studies


25:104  Music of Latin America & the Caribbean


103:100  Introduction to Linguistics
103:110  Articulatory and Acoustic Phonetics
103:112  Phonological Analysis
103:150  Language and Gender

Political Science

30:144  Latin American Government
30:145  Latin American Political Parties

Teaching & Learning (College of Education)

07S:116  Learning to Teach Second Languages I