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Spanish Studies

Academic Departments and Programs


Spanish is a language that has more native speakers than any other except Chinese. Belonging to the Romance language family which also includes French, Italian and Portuguese, Spanish derived from Latin but was heavily influenced by Arabic during the occupation of Spain which lasted from 711 to 1492. As Spanish spread throughout the New World starting in the fifteenth century, it underwent numerous changes through contact with indigenous peoples and developed various regional varieties and dialects. Today, it is spoken in many parts of the world including Spain, Latin America (Mexico, Argentina, Chile...), the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico) and north Africa (Ceuta, Melilla). The majority of Spanish speakers are found outside of Spain and many make their home in the United States or Canada.

As the number of Spanish speakers continues to increase, so do the career opportunities in Spanish as a language for international business, trade and law, tourism, immigration and the foreign service, global, national and community development with both governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as journalism, translation and teaching. In all of these fields, learning Spanish gives you a competitive edge.

Along with the language, you will gain the cultural awareness and understanding that is needed in today’s global community. The courses that we offer, through the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, will help you to develop your communication skills and your critical thinking skills - a must in order to grasp the subtleties of interacting with different cultures. In our courses, you will deepen your understanding of Hispanic culture through the analysis of texts from the Internet and the media as well as through the study of films and literature.

Whether Spanish is your first or second language or one of several that you speak, studying Spanish at the UW will be a rewarding and enriching experience that will give you an edge, whatever career path you choose.