BA in Spanish

Broadly focused on the liberal arts, the major in Spanish encompasses courses in language, literature, linguistics, culture, the arts, and related fields. It features in-depth engagement with the language, literatures, and cultures of Spain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Spanish linguistics courses examine the structure of the language, its historical development, and variations in usage. Because Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, the study of US Spanish and Latin American literature and culture are integral parts of the program. Electives within the major enable students to tailor it to their individual interests and career goals in consultation with a faculty advisor. All students are strongly encouraged to incorporate study abroad in Spain or Spanish America in their course of study. The major develops the skills and knowledge needed for a wide spectrum of careers in education, business, academics, the arts, journalism, and communications.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a BA in Spanish will demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of major themes in Hispanic literature and culture in their historical contexts and familiarity with major literary genres.
  • Knowledge of events, periods, and people who have shaped the history of the Spanish-speaking world.
  • Advanced proficiency and accuracy in speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the Spanish language as used in different areas of the Spanish-speaking world, including the US, Spanish America, and Spain.
  • Knowledge of structural and other aspects of Spanish, and accurate and fluent use of advanced Spanish (tested by a variety of means) in a range of academic and everyday situations.
  • Ability to evaluate arguments about literary and cultural texts and topics.
  • Ability to live, study, and work in Spanish-speaking environments in the US and abroad (for example, through BU’s Study Abroad programs).
  • Skills needed for advanced study and for careers in a variety of fields: effective and accurate oral and written communication; close reading and analysis; writing and research skills appropriate for entry-level professional use and/or graduate study, including the ability to formulate a well-organized, clear, and persuasive argument; familiarity with traditional cultural norms and expectations of the Spanish-speaking world.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Spanish will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Historical Interpretation, as well as some requirements in Communication, Diversity, Civic Engagement, and Global Citizenship and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses.

Eleven 4-credit courses (all completed with a grade of C or higher) are required for the major, as detailed below.

Students entering with advanced standing in Spanish studies must complete a minimum of six courses for their Spanish major at Boston University. Students participating in the Boston University Madrid Study Abroad program must complete a minimum of five major courses on the Boston campus. Two of these five (a 300-level language course and CAS LS 350) are to be completed before going abroad. Three courses must be taken at the 400–500 level on students’ return from Madrid.

Required Courses

  • Two CAS LS language courses at the 300 level (native or heritage speakers of Spanish should enroll in LS 309 and a Hispanic literature course or in two Hispanic literature courses, after consultation with an advisor).
  • Six CAS LS courses, to include LS 350 (Introduction to Analysis of Hispanic Texts), three courses at the 400 level, and two courses at the 500 level.

Three electives, which may include any of the following, provided that no more than two of these electives are taken in a language other than Spanish:

  • CAS LS 400- or 500-level offerings in Hispanic literature, culture, or film
  • Courses numbered CAS LP 211 or higher in Portuguese language or Luso-Brazilian literature, culture, or film
  • Spanish linguistics courses*
  • Related courses approved for the major in African American Studies, Anthropology, Archaeology, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, the Core Curriculum, Editorial Studies, English, French Studies, History, History of Art & Architecture, International Relations, Italian Studies, General Linguistics (including CAS LX 250, which is a prerequisite for 400- and 500-level courses in Spanish linguistics), Philosophy, Religion, or Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

*As many as three courses for the major may be in linguistics. Students wishing to pursue a broader focus on linguistics may wish to consider double-majoring or declaring the joint major in Spanish & Linguistics.

Students may take courses to fulfill major requirements in the Boston University Madrid, Burgos, Quito, or Buenos Aires Study Abroad programs. Additional information on these programs is available in the Study Abroad and Internship Programs section of this Bulletin.

Placement Test

A placement test is required of all students whose most recent course in Spanish was taken in high school or at a college other than Boston University and who wish to continue their study of this language here. Information regarding online placement tests is available in the department or on the departmental website.

Honors in the Major


Graduation with Honors in Spanish requires three courses beyond the 11 courses required for the major. Those 14 courses must be completed with an overall GPA of at least 3.7. The three additional courses must include a substantial advanced research and writing component and are chosen in consultation with the advisor from a combination of the following:

  • One or two semesters of Senior Independent Work (CAS LS 401, CAS LS 402)
  • One other 400-level LS course
  • 500-level LS courses

Procedure for Applying

A student may apply to the Honors Program no sooner than the end of sophomore year and no later than the spring semester of junior year. For admission into the program, students must have completed at least four courses for the major. Qualifications for admission into the Honors Program include a GPA of at least 3.65 in all CAS courses and a minimum GPA of 3.7 in the set of LS courses satisfying requirements for the major. Both are calculated in courses completed at the time of application. Students should consult with their advisors about application procedures.