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Spanish and Portuguese

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers majors in both Spanish, and Spanish and Portuguese. Interdisciplinary majors are available in Spanish and European Studies and in Spanish, Portuguese, and European Studies.

The major in Spanish is one of the most popular majors at Vanderbilt. Few universities in North America offer students such a wide range of courses at the undergraduate level, and Vanderbilt students take full advantage of the extensive course offerings in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian studies. Students in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese often double-major and combine interests in other areas with their linguistic and cultural studies.

Recently Offered Courses

The Vanderbilt University Department of Spanish and Portuguese offers a wide range of courses in the language, literature, and culture of Spain and Spanish America, as well as Portuguese and Catalan.

Sample Spanish classes from the 2017-2018 year include: Advanced Conversation, Spanish for Business and Economics, Phonology, Morphology and Syntax, Translation and Interpretation, Spanish Civilization, Literature of the Spanish Golden Age, Spanish Realism, Spanish Literature from the Enlightenment to 1900, Film and Recent Cultural Trends in Spain, Spanish American Literature from 1900 to the Present, Development of the Short Story, Literature and Medicine, and Spanish American Literature of the Boom.

Sample Portuguese offerings include: Intensive Elementary Portuguese, Intermediate Portuguese, Brazilian Pop Culture, Introduction to Luso-Brazilian Literature, and Modern Brazilian Literature.

Honors Program

In addition to traditional majors and minors, the Department provides opportunities for pursuing independent study and research through the Honors Program in Spanish, which culminates in the writing of a Senior Honors Thesis under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Other Special Opportunities

One of the most exciting aspects of studying a foreign language involves the chance to use those linguistic skills. For this reason, a high percentage of all majors and minors spend some time abroad. Students may choose from Vanderbilt-approved semester-long programs in Sevilla (Spain) and Habana (Cuba) through CASA, and Barcelona (Spain), Santiago (Chile), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Brazil through CIEE. A spring program is available in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. There are also a variety of both on-campus and off-campus Maymesters available, including The Way of Saint James (Northern Spain), Conversation and Culture in Alicante (Spain), and Cultural Studies in the Andes (Cuzco and Machu Picchu, Peru).

Another unique initiative includes a service-learning component within several of the classes in the department: Spanish for the Medical Profession and Latino Immigration Experience. Not only does this component give students a chance to develop linguistic and cultural expertise, but it allows them to reach out to Nashville’s Hispanic community as well. The department has a chapter of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi. Students are encouraged to apply to live in the Spanish Hall of McTyeire International House. Finally, students have abundant opportunities to attend public lectures, film series, and cultural activities related to their studies. Each of these opportunities lends diversity to the students’ learning experiences.

After Vanderbilt

While a language major provides many opportunities for employment on its own, many students in this department combine Spanish or Portuguese with another area of interest. Spanish majors are most often double majors, combining diverse disciplines with their skills and expertise in Spanish. Students interested in Pre-Law, Pre-Med, Medicine, Health and Society, English, Economics, Political Science, Communication Studies, Human and Organizational Development, Education, and other areas frequently find that courses in Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan complement other areas of work and help them, upon graduating, to begin careers and to find desirable positions.


For complete descriptions of individual faculty members and their teaching and research interests, please consult the department website.


Maria Paz Pintané
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Furman Hall 305
Nashville, TN 37240
Phone: (615) 343-2480

Spanish and Portuguese Website