Program Requirements and Opportunities

Published annually, the Course Catalog sets out the requirements of the academic programs--the majors, minors, and concentrations. Each Bryn Mawr student must declare a major before the end of the sophomore year. Students may also declare a minor or a concentration, but neither is required for the A.B. degree. Students must comply with the requirements published in the Course Catalog at the time when they declare the major, minor and/or concentration.

The Course Catalog also sets out the College requirements. Students must comply with the College requirements published at the time they enter Bryn Mawr College.

For more information, visit the Catalog Homepage to view the current content. To view Catalogs from previous academic years, visit the Catalog Archives page.

The major in Spanish offers a program of study in the language, literature, and culture of Spain, Latin America, and U.S. Latino communities. The program is designed to develop linguistic competence and critical skills, as well as a profound appreciation of the culture and civilization of the Hispanic world.

Our graduates have gone on to pursue successful careers in law, business, medicine, and translation, among others. This major program prepares students appropriately for graduate study in Spanish.

The language courses provide solid preparation and practice in spoken and written Spanish, including a thorough review of grammar and vocabulary contextualized by cultural readings and activities. SPAN 120 prepares students for advanced work in literature and cultural studies while improving competence in the language. Courses at the 200 level courses deal with a variety of topics including a consideration of major  manifestations of Spanish and Spanish-American, and U.S. Latino literature and culture, in various periods and genres, within a socio-historical context. Advanced 300-level courses engage intensively with individual authors, topics, or periods of special significance.

All students who have taken Spanish at other institutions and plan to enroll in Spanish courses at Bryn Mawr must take a placement examination. The exam is offered online by the department and is available on our website.

Students in all courses are encouraged to supplement their coursework with study in Spain or Spanish America either in the summer or during their junior year.

The Department of Spanish works in cooperation with the Departments of French and Italian in the Romance Languages major. It also collaborates with the Latin American, Iberian, and Latina/o Studies (LAILS).

College Foreign Language Requirement

Before the start of the senior year, each student must complete, with a grade of 2.0 or higher, two units of foreign language. Students may fulfill the requirement by completing two sequential semester-long courses in one language, beginning at the level determined by their language placement. A student who is prepared for advanced work may complete the requirement instead with two advanced free-standing semester-long courses in the foreign language(s) in which she is proficient.

Major Requirements

Requirements for the Spanish major are:

  • SPAN 120 (Introducción al análisis literario),
  • four 200-level courses,
  • three 300-level courses,
  • and SPAN 398 (Senior Seminar).

The prerequisite for 200-level Spanish courses is the completion of SPAN 120, which is offered every semester. The prerequisite for 300-level courses is the completion of a 200-level course in Spanish. At least two courses for the major must be in Peninsular literature (Spain) and at least two in Latin American literature; one of the major courses should focus on pre-1700 literature. Two courses must be writing intensive (WI). Students can satisfy the writing requirement by taking SPAN 120, SPAN 243, and other 200-level courses designated as WI in any given semester. Students whose training includes advanced work may, with the permission of the department, be exempted from taking SPAN 120. SPAN 400 Senior Essay is optional for majors with a grade point average of 3.7 who seek to graduate with honors. It may not be counted as one of the 300-level requirements. Students wishing to enroll in SPAN 400 Senior Essay must submit a proposal to the department and identify a faculty member who will direct the project.

Please note: the department offers some courses taught in English and, with permission from major advisor, we occasionally accept courses related to the Hispanic world offered in other departments. We recommend that at least some of the work (readings or written assignments) be done in Spanish. No more than two courses taught in English may be applied toward a major, and only one toward a minor.

Independent research (SPAN 403) is offered to students recommended by the department. The work consists of independent reading, conferences, and a long paper.


Departmental honors are awarded on the basis of a minimum grade point average of 3.7 in the major, SPAN 400 Senior Essay, and the recommendation of the department.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for a minor in Spanish are six courses in Spanish beyond SPAN 101, at least one of which must be at the 300 level. At least one course should be in Peninsular literature (Spain).

Minor in Latin American, Iberian, and Latina/o Studies (LAILS)

The Department of Spanish participates with other departments in offering a minor in Latin American, Iberian, and Latina/o Studies (LAILS).

Teacher Certification

The department also participates in a teacher-certification program. For more information see the description of the Education Program.

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Contact Us

Department of Spanish

Old Library 103
Bryn Mawr College
101 N. Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: 610-526-5198
Fax: 610-526-7479

Martín Gaspar, Chair
Phone: 610-526-5681

Oliva Cardona, Program Assistant
Phone: 610-526-5198