Spanish: Major or Minor

Student explains painting in Age of Lorca class, spring 2018.

Student describes paintings in SPA 409/539, "The Age of Lorca,"  Spring 2018

Why Study Spanish?

Learn about the language, literature and culture of Spanish-speaking world regions: Spain, but also Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Mexico,  the United States and more. The undergraduate program will develop your research and analytical skills, enhance your capacity for aesthetic appreciation, strengthen your powers of observation and self-expression, and prepare you for cross-cultural, global interaction.

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Degree Requirements

The Spanish undergraduate tracks cover a wide range of disciplines and historical periods while providing linguistic proficiency and cultural fluency. Students gain breadth and depth of knowledge in Spanish and Latin American Studies as they earn credits necessary for fulfilling a major, a joint major or a minor.

Academic Advisement (SPA 200+)

Spanish concentration requirements and options

The Spanish major, joint major, and minor all have the same lower-division requirements:

  • 6 credits of lower-division coursework: any two 200-level courses (e.g. SPA 207, SPA 208, SPA 210, or SPA 215, taken in any order or concurrently, followed by one of these three paths:

The major (BA) - 36 credits (regular or double majors; for double degrees, see below):

  • 30 credits of upper-division coursework: 10 courses, of which 4 must meet breadth requirement.**

The Joint Major (BA) - 27 credits (coordinated with a joint major in a related BA program):

  • 21 credits of upper-division coursework: 7 courses, of which 3 must meet  breadth requirement.**

tHE Minor - 18 CREDITS (may be combined with all BA programs and most others such as BS, BArch):

  • 12 credits of upper-division coursework:  4 courses, of which 2 must meet breadth requirement.**

**Spanish majors must complete four breadth requirements, joint majors must complete any three of the four, and minors any two. The breadth requirements are:

·         Earlier literature (e.g., SPA 301, 304, 305, 317, 405)

·         Linguistic focus (e.g., SPA 313, 314, 325, 382, 413)

·         Non-European literature and culture (e.g., SPA 304, 311, 312, 320, 350)

·         Non-literary cultural production (e.g., SPA 323, 324, 327, 328, 408, 435)

NB: In all courses taken for a Spanish concentration, letter grades are required (not S/U).


Students pursuing a BS degree in Engineering, Management, or Biology, for example, or a professional degree such as the BArch in Architecture or BFA in Fine Arts, may simultaneously pursue a second major in Spanish. Since Spanish leads to a BA degree, students who choose this option are technically earning a double degree, not a double major. The double degree option requires a minimum of 150 total credit hours, and the precise number for the proposed combination must be carefully confirmed in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Residency Requirement

The department requires that at least 50% of credits necessary for a major, joint major or minor degree in Spanish be completed on a local UB campus. The remaining 50% may be fulfilled through any combination of study abroad coursework, transfer courses, placement exams or other pre-approved credit-earning opportunities.


Acceptance into the major, joint major, or minor degree in Spanish requires satisfactory completion of prerequisites through SPA 152 or equivalent work, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Acceptance also requires a minimum overall GPA of 2.0.

If prerequisites are not fulfilled through departmental coursework, or if UB credit has not been articulated for qualified non-UB prerequisite work, an RLL faculty advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies may advise and, when necessary, determine satisfaction as well as coursework levels suited to the students’ linguistic abilities.

Students who are heritage or first speakers of Spanish must meet with an RLL faculty advisor before enrolling in any Spanish courses to determine an appropriate level of study.

The following is a guide for completing prerequisites in the department, and how previous instruction may help fulfill them. RLL faculty advisors or the Director of Undergraduate Studies can assist with any questions.

No Prior Spanish Instruction Average Preparation
(~ 2 years)
Intermediate Preparation
(~ 4 years)
Advanced Preparation
(~ 6+ years)
SPA 101 (5 credits) SPA 104 (5 credits) SPA 151 (3 credits) No courses required
SPA 102 (5 credits) SPA 151 (3 credits) SPA 152 (3 credits)  
SPA 151 (3 credits) SPA 152 (3 credits)    
SPA 152 (3 credits)      

Completing Required Credits

There are several ways for students to fulfill required credits for the major, joint major or minor: 

Departmental Coursework (as detailed above)

  • Course levels should be completed in sequence: Foundational 200-level courses must be successfully completed before advanced courses at the 300- and 400-levels, (unless an RLL faculty advisor or the Director of Undergraduate Studies advises otherwise). It is also possible to take one lower 300-level course simultaneously with the last 200-level course.
  • Occasionally (and by prior written permission from the Director of Undergraduate Studies), students may obtain exceptions, such as substitution of advanced courses for foundational courses, or credit for an internship or a course taken in another department toward one elective advanced course.
Study Abroad

AP or Similar Credit

  • Advanced standing and university credit may be awarded to students who complete college-level work in high school. UB awards credit based on AP exam scores, IB exam scores for certificates and diplomas, GCE exam scores and CLEP exam scores. Visit University Admissions for more information.

Transfer Coursework

  • Some course articulations are available on the TAURUS website. Spanish faculty advisors will review syllabi upon request.

Other Opportunities

  • Including internships, guided creative or research activity, or independent study, all of which require approval by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. 

For all study abroad, transfer courses and/or AP or similar credit, the department’s residency requirement (see above) always applies.

How to Apply

Once prerequisites are complete, acceptance into the major, joint major or minor requires an application to the major or minor. Interested students must complete a brief application form and submit a current Academic Advisement Report (AAR), available through HUB

Please Note: Application is also possible during the semester of the last prerequisite, in which case the department office will hold all paperwork until final grades are posted for the semester.

For students who do not wish to submit an online application, paper copies are available from the department office. Completed paper applications and AARs may be submitted by mail or in person (between 8:30am and 5pm) to:

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
910 Clemens Hall
University at Buffalo, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Contact Us

Language Advisement (SPA 101-SPA 152)
Language Advisement (SPA 200+)
  • Henry Berlin.

    911 Clemens Hall

    Office Hours

    Monday 3:30-4:30 p.m;

    Tuesday and Thursday 2:30-3:20 p.m.

    Link to schedule appointment is:

    Phone: (716) 645-2243

    Director of Undergraduate Studies
    Associate Professor
    Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
    College of Arts and Sciences

    Scholarly Interests: History and theory of the emotions; Medieval rhetoric and poetics; Literature, philosophy and theology; Iberian Studies

    911 Clemens Hall

    Office Hours

    Monday 3:30-4:30 p.m;

    Tuesday and Thursday 2:30-3:20 p.m.

    Link to schedule appointment is:

    Phone: (716) 645-2243