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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Spanish Major

The Spanish Major

The Spanish major is designed to provide students with a working proficiency in practical communicative skills in Spanish and familiarity with the cultures in which it is spoken. Spanish has become the second language of the United States. According to US census, the Hispanic population of the United States as of July 2014 is of 55 million, making people of  Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.  Hispanics constitute 17 percent of the nation’s total population (data from Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15, 2015). Spanish is spoken in the United States and also in twenty-one countries of Latin America, Spain, and some parts of Africa.

The Spanish major progresses from courses in basic language skills through intermediate and advanced courses in conversation, grammar, composition and linguistics to the study of the masterpieces of Spanish and Spanish American literature, representative Hispanic films and the historical and contemporary civilizations of Spain and Latin America. Applied Spanish courses in business Spanish and specialized Spanish vocabulary for various professions are also offered.

Approximately one-third of the Spanish faculty are native speakers from Spain and several Latin American countries, while the remaining faculty all have spent extensive periods of time in study, teaching or research in various Spanish-speaking countries. Their varied backgrounds include specializations in periods and genres of Latin American or peninsular (Spain) Spanish literature, Spanish for the professions, linguistics and foreign language pedagogy.

Download the Spanish Department Newsletter here.

Career Opportunities

A major in Spanish helps students prepare for a wide variety of careers in education, politics, foreign service, the helping professions, travel and tourism, and communication.


The Department of Languages, Literature, and Cultures is committed to quality advising. Each student who declares a major in Spanish is assigned a faculty adviser who makes certain that academic programs are completed in a timely manner. Advisers also discuss career options with students to assist them in making informed decisions. Although advisers must sign advisement forms, it is the responsibility of students to keep track of their courses and to make sure that their programs satisfy departmental and College graduation requirements.

South Carolina Honors College

Students who qualify for participation in the South Carolina Honors College program may choose to pursue a major in Spanish. Our curriculum allows students to take full advantage of academic opportunities in both the Honors College and the College of l Arts and Sciences. Some departmental faculty regularly teach honors courses.

The Curriculum

During the first two years, Spanish majors typically concentrate on taking general education courses and beginning and/or intermediate Spanish courses. Only courses numbered 300 and above count toward the major, and it is normally in the junior and senior years that students take advanced 300-400-500 courses that lead to the major. 500 level courses should be taken only by strong students who have completed several 400 level courses.

Courses required for the 27-33 hour major include:

     * Prerequisites for all these courses are listed in the Undergraduate Academic Bulletin

SPAN 302 Advanced Spanish Grammar I

SPAN 303 Advanced Spanish Composition

SPAN 312 Introduction to Spanish and Spanish American Literature

SPAN 400 or 500 Peninsular Culture courses

SPAN 401 or 501 Spanish American Culture courses

SPAN 404 or 405 or other literature course

Typically 401 and 405 are offered fall semester, 400 and 404 in the spring.

Major Electives include courses in conversation, Spanish for Business and other professions, study abroad, and other literature, film, culture and special topics courses:

SPAN 300 Cultural Readings for Conversation

SPAN 304 Cultural Readings and Advanced Conversation

SPAN 305 Working with Hispanic Clients

SPAN 307 Advanced Oral Practice (1 credit)

SPAN 316 Business Spanish

SPAN 317 Phonetics and Pronunciation

SPAN 350 Spanish Language Study Abroad*

SPAN 375 Topics in Hispanic Culture and Literatures

SPAN 380 Hispanic Film and Culture

SPAN 398 Selected Topics (Taught in English)

SPAN 409 Introduction to Stylistics in Spanish

SPAN 417 Adv. Spanish for Business and the Professions

SPAN 499 Senior Seminar

Majors are strongly encouraged to enroll in a study abroad program.

Summer USC courses are provided in a Spanish-speaking country. Year long programs can be arranged.

Students who come with advanced training in Spanish and enter quickly into 300 level courses may elect to follow the 33-credit “intensive” track in Spanish which may include advanced courses such as SPAN 409 Introduction to Stylistics, and SPAN 417 Adv. Spanish for Business and the Professions and additional 500-level courses together with the required senior seminar course, SPAN 499. Students wishing a career in teaching may enter the five year certification sequence which awards the B.A. degree in Spanish and an interdisciplinary M.T. (Master’s in Teaching) degree upon completion.

Back credit: If this is your first Spanish course at USC and you earn a final grade of B or higher, you may be eligible for up to 7 credits of 100-level Spanish, which count as elective credit toward graduation. To request these credits, wait until the grades are posted by the Registrar onto your transcript. Then, fill out the form in room 813-A Humanities Office Bldg. If your request is denied, you will receive notice via your USC email account. If the request is approved, you will see the credit on your transcript. Please note the following restrictions on back credit:

  1. If you have AP or IB credit for Spanish 121 and complete Spanish 122, you are not eligible to receive additional back credit.
  2. If you have AP or IB credit for Spanish 121 and Spanish 122, you are not eligible to receive additional back credit.
  3. If you have AP or IB credit for Spanish 121 and place into and complete a 200-level Spanish course, you are eligible for 3 back credits if you earn a B or higher in the 200-level course.
  4. If you have transferred college-level Spanish credit from another technical college or university, you cannot receive back credit

General Education Requirements

Same as College

Other Major Prerequisites

SPAN through the 210/211-level or exemption through the Placement Test

Major Requirements

General Major in Spanish

27 hours at the 300-level

SPAN 302, 303, 312, 400 or 500, 401 or 501, 404 or 405 or other literature course (18 hrs.)

Electives chosen from SPAN 300, 304, 305, 307, 316, 317, 350, 375, 398, 409, 417, 499, any 500-level (9 hrs)

Intensive Major in Spanish:

Thirty hours of courses numbered 300 level and above plus SPAN 499; attainment of an Advanced rating on an oral proficiency interview conducted by a departmentally approved tester (33 hours)

(Note: Intensive majors must earn a B or better in major courses)

PDF icon SpanishDeptNewsletter.pdf