The Spanish major develops expertise in language, literature, linguistics and culture in equal measure to prepare students for graduate study and a variety of careers in the workplace.
We boast a strong faculty—actively publishing and engaged in scholarly research—in both linguistics and literature. Through our linguistics courses, students develop detailed knowledge of the intricacies of Spanish. Our literature and culture courses provide them with essential cultural reference points while stressing the skills in reading, writing, argument, and analysis expected of liberal arts majors. The goal of our program is to equip students—both heritage and second-language learners—with a high level of trans-lingual and trans-cultural competence, preparing them to act as informed and capable interlocutors with educated native speakers. In short, we want our graduating seniors to be able to carry themselves well in professional situations in Spanish.
Graduates from our program pursue careers in education, business, national defense, and other fields, or they go on to graduate study in Spanish, translation/interpretation, education and so forth. Since the inception of the major in 2000, we have a strong record of placement in Spanish Ph.D. programs at campuses of the U.C. system. Our graduates are well prepared to pursue opportunities internationally, and some have done so in México, Spain, and elsewhere. The Spanish B.A. is especially suited for students wishing to teach Spanish in middle or high schools, since it provides the subject matter competency necessary to pursue a Single Subject Credential in Spanish (which is done as a fifth year of study in the School of Education at Cal Poly or at another institution). If you have questions about whether the Spanish major is right for you, see Careers in Languages or make an appointment with one of the Spanish advisors.
Program details and prerequisites: The major comprises 80 units of core coursework, 12 units of support coursework, and 20 units of unrestricted electives. Courses in the Spanish major are at the intermediate and advanced level (200, 300 and 400). As a pre-requisite, you must have taken SPN 151, 152 and 153 (or their equivalents at another institution) before beginning the major. However, if you already speak Spanish, please see an advisor to find out if you are eligible for placement directly in a second-year course. Consult the complete course list for details of the program.
Double majoring in Spanish: Students in Engineering, International Business, Sociology, Nutrition, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Education, and many other majors often choose to double major (or minor) in Spanish, because doing so gives them a distinct edge in the job market. In fact, nationwide the trend of double majoring in languages and literatures has accelerated in recent years for this reason (see study). We welcome double majors into the program, and would be happy to talk with you about your academic situation if this is something that interests you.
Heritage/native speakers: Our philosophy is non-prescriptive, and we seek in our linguistics courses to situate critically such notions as "correct" usage. However, we also recognize that mastering formal registers and written conventions is an integral part of language study. Indeed, many of our heritage- and native-speaker students are motivated by the desire to move with greater ease and confidence in professional or formal settings in Spanish. If you speak Spanish at home, and are interested in improving your knowledge of grammar and written conventions, please consider enrolling in SPN 154 (Spanish for Spanish Speakers I) or SPN 250 (Spanish for Spanish Speakers II). Taught at a pace appropriate to your level, these courses are designed for you, and will allow you to improve much more quickly than traditional language classes.
The minor in Spanish provides a flexible, six-course program of study ideal for majors in Business, Liberal Studies, Agriculture, Hospitality Management, and many other fields. Students choose three intermediate language courses, and three upper-division courses of which one must be in literature, one in culture, and one in an area of the student’s choosing. Consult the complete course list for details, and if you have questions, do not hesitate to contact a Spanish advisor.
The official working language (with English) of many international organizations, including the UN, French has a long history as the lingua franca of diplomacy, culture and the arts worldwide. Large parts of Africa and the Americas speak French today. French cultural and political influence has been dominant at certain periods in Russia, Latin America, Western Europe, North America, parts of Africa, and parts of Southeast Asia. French continues to be the second most studied foreign language in the U.S. after Spanish. The French minor offers balanced coursework in language, literature and culture. Consult the complete course list for details, and if you have questions do not hesitate to contact Liliane Fucaloro, Professor of French (email@example.com).
A selection of upper division courses are available online via the French Consortium, an organization of four CSU campuses that delivers upper division French courses to member campuses. An online French Consortium course may be substituted for any of the upper division courses listed above to satisfy requirements for the minor in French.
We offer certificates of language study in German and Chinese enabling students to develop spoken and written competencies in these languages, and documenting for future employers the cultural and linguistic competencies they have attained. Both certificates require four courses (16 units) of coursework beyond the first-year language sequence. Students may enter both certificate programs either by completion of the first-year sequence of language courses or with the instructor’s permission.
Study abroad builds proficiency in a language quickly, and on a personal level the experience can be profound. We encourage you to explore the possibilities by speaking with a language faculty member. In EFL we run summer language programs in Segovia and in Paris. Many other study-abroad opportunities exist through CSU International Programs.
The needs of heritage speakers are different from those of second-language learners, focusing more on the conventions of writing and on formal registers in the spoken language. We offer Spanish classes designed for native or heritage speakers (SPN 154 and 250) and encourage students to enroll in these when appropriate. Many of our students of Spanish and Chinese are heritage learners. For non-native students of these languages, our programs offer a superb, immersion-like environment which greatly accelerates the development of fluency.
If you have questions about which French, German or Spanish course you should take, please refer to our placement test guidelines. Currently we do not offer a placement exam in Chinese. If you have questions, please see an advisor.