Spanish Major and Minor

Students have the opportunity to explore the Spanish language and Spanish, Latin American, and Latino texts and cultures. Our strong language program coupled with an expansive curriculum covering literature, film and media, social history, the history of ideas, sociolinguistics, politics and popular culture, and fiction-writing situate students deep within the Spanish world and equip them to thrive in a global culture in which Spanish is playing an increasingly vital role.

Curriculum & Courses

We aim to give students a thorough knowledge of the Spanish language and the ability to understand and interpret Spanish and Spanish American texts and cultures. To accomplish this goal, we offer elementary and intermediate language courses; courses in literature, film, culture and civilization, and linguistics; advanced courses that explore a specific line of inquiry, literary or cultural issue, or theme; and courses taught in English which aim to bring a wider audience to important themes, issues, and accomplishments of the Spanish-speaking world.

  • Major Requirements

    • Six courses in Spanish and Spanish American literature or film, and
    • Two semesters of SPAN H490 (Senior Seminar), in which students write a senior essay.
      • Of the six required courses, three should be at the 200 level and three at the 300 level.
      • A minimum of three of the 200- and 300-level courses must be taken at Haverford or Bryn Mawr; of these, at least two must be at the 300 level.
      • Students who qualify by pre-college training or study abroad may substitute 300-level courses for the 200-level offerings.
      • The program must include at least two courses at the 200 or 300 level that focus substantially on literature prior to 1898.

    Students may not count Bryn Mawr courses SPAN B110 (Introducción al análisis cultural) and SPAN B120 (Introducción al análisis literario) toward major requirements.

    Senior Project

    The senior thesis research project in the Department of Spanish is a year-long process that serves as a capstone experience for our majors. To complete the project, all seniors enroll in the Spanish Senior Seminar (SPAN H490). In the fall, guided by a faculty member, students develop their thesis topic, compile critical bibliographies, and situate their writing in the context of scholarship in the appropriate field and subject, completing a prospectus. In the spring, students meet individually with a designated advisor on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, and submit sections of the work in accordance with a series of recommended due dates. The expectation is that the thesis will be about 25-30 pages in length.

    Senior Project Learning Goals

    Students will develop and hone the following abilities in writing their senior theses:

    • Conceptualizing a relevant research question.
    • Using bibliographic resources and research tools appropriately.
    • Analyzing literary and media products and/or certain language-related issues critically.
    • Expressing, orally and in writing, complex ideas in correct Spanish; writing in a clear and compelling manner.
    • Familiarizing themselves with and contributing to the relevant scholarship.
    • Making an original contribution to the intellectual conversation with the text(s) and/or scholarship related to the subject.

    Senior Project Assessment

    The grade for the thesis is assigned by consensus by the entire department, with special consideration of the input from the advisor. A rubric (based on the goals described above) is applied to assess the students’ work. Students also do an oral presentation of their work.

    Requirements for Honors

    The department invites students it considers qualified to become candidates for honors during the second semester of their senior year. Honors candidates are chosen from among students who do superior work in upper-level literature and culture courses (with a 3.7 average). The department awards honors and high honors on the basis of the quality of the senior thesis. It is expected that an honors thesis will be about 35-40 pages in length.

  • Minor Requirements

    • Six courses at the 200 or 300 level. 
    • A minimum of three of the six courses must be taken at Haverford or Bryn Mawr; of these, at least one must be at the 300 level.
    • One of the six courses should focus substantially on literature prior to 1898.

    Students may not count Bryn Mawr courses SPAN B110 (Introducción al análisis cultural) and SPAN B120 (Introducción al análisis literario) toward minor requirements.

Associated Programs and Concentrations

Research & Outreach

All majors produce a thesis over the course of their senior year. Working closely with a faculty advisor and through our two-semester Senior Departmental Studies Seminar, they develop, research, and write a piece of independent research. In addition to taking each student through the process of developing their own essay, the seminar is designed to foster collaboration and to hone general research, reading, and critical skills.

After Graduation

Our majors graduate with excellent language abilities, sharp critical analysis skills, a deep understanding of historical and cultural context, and a fresh new vantage point from which to see—and understand—the world. You will find them throughout the world and in a great range of professional areas, among them: government, law, business, international affairs, education, journalism, medicine, and the arts.

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