Spanish Studies B.A.

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Department of World Languages and Cultures
Program Type
Bachelor of Arts
World Languages and Cultures
College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

About this Program

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and in the world. In the Spanish Studies major, you will gain proficiency in the language, and you will gain insight into cultures and communities where Spanish is spoken. Take a wide array of courses in Spanish in areas like culture, sustainability, history, art, Business Spanish, film, and literature here at UMD and expand your horizons! 

Spanish Studies consists of two different sub-plans: Language and Culture Studies or Latin America. The Language and Culture Studies sub-plan fosters the development of cross-cultural competency and broader world perspectives through the study of history, cultural production, and texts of inherently diverse Spanish-speaking communities and cultures. This major guides students to the acquisition of the Spanish language in order to carry out coursework in the study, analysis, and understanding of literary texts and cultural products from Latin America, Spain, and United States Latino communities. Students in this sub-plan gain proficiency in the Spanish language and essential skills, like critical analysis, empathy, and cultural awareness. Because this major requires a second field of study, this sub-plan prepares students for a wide variety of careers, graduate programs, and professional school programs. Graduates might go on to work in the STEM fields; for non-profit organizations, for the government, or in education; companies with international ties and who value bilingualism and inclusivity; among many other career possibilities. 

Students interested in intensifying their study of Latin America are advised to consider the Latin America sub-plan. Students will apply their linguistic and interdisciplinary skills to a wide variety of local, regional, national, or international career choices. This sub-plan requires a study abroad or internship requirement, a requirement that gives students credit for an immersion in a Spanish-speaking community abroad or in a United States Latino community. If they choose a study abroad experience, students will cultivate the ability to articulate a keen understanding of the role of race, class, gender, sustainability, and human rights as they pertain to Spanish-speaking North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. If they select an internship, students will put their Spanish language skills to use and acquire direct experience in a local, state, or private entity.

Acquired Skills

Students will gain proficiency in Spanish for many different contexts and registers.
Students will learn about cultures and communities that speak Spanish.
Students will fine-tune essential skills based on communication and connection.
Students will gain knowledge about history and literary and filmic movements from Spain and Latin America.
Students will have the opportunity to use Spanish in innovative and creative ways.
Spanish will open doors for students in ways they might not imagine.

Program Learning Outcomes

Career Possibilities

An undergraduate degree in Spanish at UMD prepares students for a variety of careers and/or graduate or professional programs because students have a second field of study. Our students go on to careers in community organizations in the US and internationally, engineering, teaching, non-profit administration, human resources, the creative economy, law and government, marketing and business administration, health and sciences, and much more.

Recent UMD Graduates Job Placement Data

Admissions and Scholarships

CAHSS is proud to be able to offer over 90 alumni and donor-funded scholarships to our students each year.  In total over $190,000 is awarded out to CAHSS majors and some minors as well. Each department facilitates the process for their specific scholarships and students are also encouraged to apply for CAHSS-wide scholarships offered to students in any field. The World Languages and Cultures Department offers several scholarships for students to study abroad and for students who excel academically (annually, each up to to $2000). 

Student Clubs

The UMD Club de Español (Spanish Club) is a student-run organization that plans events where students (and faculty) can connect and celebrate their love of the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures. Recent events include a bonfire in Bagley Nature Area, a holiday goodie decorating party, yoga in Spanish, among others. The club has also hosted fundraisers such as Mock-arita miércoles. The club’s leadership team organizes student volunteering with the Spanish immersion program at Lowell Elementary School.

Faculty Highlights

Our faculty are nationally and internationally known scholars who publish on the literature, cinema, social realities and diversity of the Spanish-speaking world.

Recent publications pertain to identity and intersectionality as they relate to race, gender and language use; female exile in Europe; representation and identity formation in 21st-century Spain; recovery of historical memory in the wake of the Spanish Civil War and dictatorship, social media and indigeneity, among others.

Our faculty secure prestigious grants to travel to conduct interviews, research in archives, and have first-hand contact with the subjects they investigate. The faculty have received recognition and awards for their teaching and research.

Our faculty are leaders, including holding elected positions in organizations such as the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. We connect with our community through events such as the World Languages and Cultures Film Series, in which we have shown and discussed cinematic works such as "Ixcanul," the first film every produced in the Kaqchikel language (which is in the Mayan family language group), and "14 kilómetros," on the perilous and deadly voyage of those who cross the Strait of Gibraltar into Spain in search of a better life.