Hispanic Studies

About the Department

The Department of Hispanic Studies offers a sound educational experience centered on the study of the language as well as the literary and cultural production of Iberian, Latin American, and U.S. Hispanic cultures, from their origins to the present time. We offer language instruction to serve all proficiency levels, from beginners to students with native or near-native language skills. In our upper-division courses, students hone their research, writing, and public speaking skills and explore key questions posed by literary and cultural studies about the Spanish-speaking world: the United States, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Spain.

We address the needs of traditional students of Spanish as a foreign language; of heritage speakers for whom Spanish is a part of their family history; and of bilingual and bicultural students whose first language is English but who enter the university as near-native speakers of Spanish.

In addition to our traditional mission preparing students to function in Spanish in a foreign setting, the Department of Hispanic Studies encourages students to become proficient in Spanish language and cultures within and outside the borders of the United States. Our curriculum embraces the rich variety of Spanish in the U.S., the centuries-old histories of Latino communities all over the nation, and their current demographic, cultural, and political relevance. Fostering the development of engaged citizens who are able to thrive in our increasingly bilingual nation is of central importance to our mission. In that way we assist students to prepare themselves to use Spanish as citizens and professionals on a daily basis and to understand the complexities and nuances of Hispanic cultures in the U.S. as well as abroad.

Majors in Hispanic Studies are well prepared for graduate studies in Spanish. They are also well qualified to pursue post-graduate degrees and entry-level work in fields such as law, business, education, journalism, and medicine. Frequently, our graduating majors have integrated their studies of Spanish language and cultures with coursework in other disciplines and pursue careers in fields such as international business, the non-profit sector, government, human and immigrant rights work, travel, and communications, all of which value their expertise in Hispanic Studies highly.

Students who graduate from the Hispanic Studies Department will be able to:

  • Communicate in Spanish personally and professionally on a daily basis
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical sophistication as readers of complex literary texts
  • Engage critically and deliberately with challenging theoretical questions on a wide variety of topics in the field
  • Prepare and execute effective oral presentations in Spanish and write solid research papers on Hispanic literary and cultural studies
  • Understand the complexities and nuances of Hispanic cultures in the U.S. and abroad
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the linguistic, cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of Spain, Latin America, and the U.S.
  • Act thoughtfully as engaged citizens in our increasingly bilingual communities