Spanish is one of the three Latin-based languages known as Romance languages. The study of French and Italian are also taught in the Department of Romance Languages.

Undergraduate degree: BA

Language, Culture, and Travel  

There’s something wonderful about studying another language–knowing that you can think and express yourself in a new way. Using that skill to communicate with people whose culture and life experiences are vastly different from yours is exciting, and brings a sense of accomplishment that is incomparable.

Spanish is the official language of over twenty countries in the world, and it is the de facto second language of the United States. In the Spanish sector of Romance Languages, professors help students develop linguistic abilities in the language, with an emphasis on real-world proficiency, as well as introduce students to the major historical and cultural phenomena that characterize the Spanish-speaking world.

You might want to study Spanish language and culture to get in touch with your family’s history. Or maybe you’re looking forward to travel in a foreign country, and you want to take some language speaking skills with you. Perhaps you’re interested in a global business career that involves multinational companies. Whatever the basis of your interest, the University of Oregon’s Spanish major (within the Department of Romance Languages) will help you to expand your knowledge and horizons.

The UO’s major in Spanish is a diverse, multicultural and multilingual educational expereince that offers a first-rate faculty of various national origins. As a major, you will gain an extensive knowledge of languages and cultures, as well as intellectual growth. You’ll discover a wide variety of ways to engage in the curriculum, from lectures and film festivals, to study abroad programs and international conferences.

Points of Interest

  • Immerse yourself in culture—experience the magic of a study abroad program in Europe, Africa, or Latin America.
  • Earn credit for a Participatory Learning Experience, a bilingual internship program that allows students to use Spanish language skills as volunteers in their community.
  • Practice your new language skills during casual weekly gatherings of native and non-native speakers.
  • Take part in Spanish Heritage courses, a new program for native Spanish speaking students.

Spanish Heritage Courses

The Spanish Heritage Language Program (SHL) is an initiative of the UO Department of Romance Languages to meet the needs of the changing population of our university. The SHL Program is designed specifically for Spanish heritage language learners, students who have a personal, familial, or community connection to Spanish. It is comprised of a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels taught by a diverse cross-section of UO faculty.

Sample Courses

  • Survey of Spanish American Literature is an introduction to basic currents and movements in contemporary Spanish American literature from a historical perspective. Critical readings of selected poems, short fiction, and plays enrich students' learning experience.
  • Hispanic Literature in the United States provides an introduction to Hispanic literature written in the United States. Close reading and discussion of selected texts by Hispanic authors. Emphasis on literary trends and themes.
  • 20th-Century Latin American Literature explores major literary trends, authors, and works. Recent topics include the avante-garde in the Mexican Revolution, Latin American theater, and testimonial literature.
  • Learn more about courses in Spanish.

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

While studying other cultures, you will learn from experts across the disciplines. A student majoring in Spanish can work in a cross-disciplinary fashion, taking elective courses in Latin American studies, European studies, comparative literature, women’s and gender studies, ethnic studies or African studies. You might also consider adding courses in history, art history, music, or linguistics to your academic plan.

Hands-on Learning

You already know the clear benefits to gaining intercultural experience and language skills. Taking advantage of a study abroad program is one of the best ways to expand your second language abilities, and might be exactly what you're seeking to add an extra dimension to your undergraduate career. The University of Oregon sponsors study abroad programs in nearly 90 countries around the globe. You may be able to study abroad even during your first year at the university, so talk with your advisor as soon as you choose a focus.

The Student Experience

Ryan Tarbet’s commitment to playing the trumpet brought him to the UO but it wasn’t long before he found an interest in studying Spanish. While reading the original version of Don Quixote’s fantastic adventures, working with enthusiastic like-minded individuals, and building strong relationships with locals while studying abroad in Oviedo, Spain, his passion for the language flowered. With guidance from supportive professors like Robert Davis and Luis Verano, he completed a SLAT certification and decided to pursue teaching Spanish at the high school level.

Although Beatriz Tafolla grew up speaking Spanish, she felt she would benefit from a formal education in the language. With the help of professors like Amalia Gladhardt and Cecilia Enjuto Rangel, she was able to develop a newfound perspective on Spanish while completing a degree in psychology. In her limited spare time, she volunteered at the Oregon Social Learning Center as a translator for Spanish-speaking families. After obtaining a gratifying 4.0 GPA, Tafolla was accepted into a mental health–counseling program in Portland.
When she isn’t playing the violin, Abigail Young is studying how to read, write, speak, and think in Spanish. Her challenging major has taken her across the globe and broadened her understanding of theater, history, art, critique, and more. The more essays she writes in Spanish, the more she realizes how learning another language has lessened her writer’s block and improved her confidence in the classroom. Young is looking forward to continuing her education at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music where she will have many more opportunities to put her Spanish skills to good use.

Featured Faculty

Robert Davis is an associate professor of Spanish. His work in second-language teaching focuses on the use of authentic materials (content-based instruction) and teaching culture. His courses include second-language teaching methods, the cultures of Spain, and Spanish and Romance linguistics, including Spanish phonetics, history of the Spanish language, Spanish dialects, advanced grammar, and comparative Romance linguistics.

Tania Triana is assistant professor of Spanish. Her teaching and research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century Cuban literature and culture, Caribbean studies, theories of race and mestizaje, feminist studies, and African diaspora literature in the Americas.

Career Opportunities

You can use your bachelor’s degree in any of the Romance language majors to pursue a career in college or secondary teaching, or in any field that requires fluency in your specialty language. You might go into international business, diplomacy, government, or foreign service. Translation and editorial work are also good options. You may decide to go on to graduate school in Romance languages, or in another discipline such as international law.

Department of Romance Languages

Contact Information
541-346-4030 fax