Description of the Program

Few universities in the world offer the extraordinary range and diversity of programs and courses that undergraduate students enjoy at UCLA. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese contributes to UCLA’s rich intellectual environment through the study and teaching of the languages, literatures, and cultures of Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking peoples in all areas of the world, particularly the Americas and Europe.

The department offers majors in Spanish, Spanish and Community and Culture, Spanish and Portuguese, Portuguese, and Spanish and Linguistics, which are designed to give students a strong preparation in the languages, literatures, linguistics, and cultures of the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world. The department also offers minors in Portuguese, Spanish, Spanish Linguistics, and Mexican Studies.

The richness of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world is amply represented in the extensive range of courses in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Our language program offers courses primarily in Spanish and Portuguese at all levels of proficiency, and is enriched by the addition of courses in Catalan, and indigenous languages of Latin America such as Quechua. In addition to courses on the literatures and cultures of Spanish America, Spain, Brazil, and Portugal, the department also offers courses on Chicano literature and culture. Many of the department’s courses have an interdisciplinary orientation, and include the study of film, music and other forms of artistic expression. Courses in linguistics study the sound system, the sentence patterns, the historical evolution, the regional variants, and the sociolinguistics of Spanish and Portuguese, utilizing concepts of modern linguistic theory.

Courses offered by the department constitute the core for the majors and minors, and provide an excellent foundation for graduate or professional study. In addition, language skills in Spanish and Portuguese, combined with the training provided by a first-rate liberal arts education, constitute an invaluable preparation for careers in many walks of life, including business, international affairs, law, diplomacy, and government service. In an increasingly global community, government and industry often give preference to job applicants who are proficient in Spanish, the native language of many hundreds of millions in the Americas, and Portuguese, recognized by the U.S government as a critical foreign language, and spoken by hundreds of millions in Brazil, Portugal, and Africa, all regions that are of vital interest to the United States.

For non-majors, the department’s rich set of language, linguistics, literature and culture courses, ranging from introductory to advanced, serve also to support the undergraduate and graduate majors offered by other UCLA departments, and for the general intellectual enrichment of all UCLA students. Many of these courses are taught in English.