By studying Spanish at St. Edward’s, you’ll develop language skills that build cultural understanding and a global mindset.
Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Use the Spanish Major Guide to find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future.
Spanish is spoken by 37 million people in the United States. It’s the third most widely spoken language in the world and is the official or primary language in 25 countries. And it’s spoken every day in classrooms and workplaces across Austin — home to Spanish-language news organizations, a Mexican Consulate, political organizations reaching out to Spanish speakers, and nonprofits helping immigrants.
You’ll have the chance to study abroad at partner universities in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Spain and develop fluency by immersing yourself in the language. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to make your mark in international business, work for the State Department or an NGO, or serve the community at a social-service agency that supports Spanish speakers. If you’re planning to pursue a field like journalism, medicine, law or social work, knowing Spanish will dramatically expand your job prospects.
What do our graduates do?
Spanish majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- Reporter for Searchlight New Mexico, a nonprofit investigative journalism outlet
- Graphic designer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York
- Account executive at NWN Corporation, a technology solutions company
- Vice president of Sales for Brazilian Blowout
54 Alumni Who Inspire
St. Edward’s University counts more than 25,000 alumni around the globe. Some are making their mark in the job they started right after graduation. Others have excelled in multiple careers. Read about how they’re all building on the education they received at St. Edward’s.
The Classroom and Beyond
As a Spanish major, you’ll have opportunities to immerse yourself in Spanish-speaking cultures through study abroad and to develop your language skills by volunteering and interning in Austin.
Several courses at St. Edward’s include projects that take you off campus to enrich your knowledge of Spanish. For example, in Spanish for Heritage Learners – designed for students who were exposed to Spanish as a child but mostly speak English – students conduct and analyze interviews with bilingual members of the community. And if you take the Senior Seminar on Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you’ll visit the Harry Ransom Center to see the Garcia Marquez archives, including the author’s manuscripts and correspondence.
SEU to You
In this class students, study Spanish grammar from a sociolinguistic perspective. They learn about dialect variation and why bilingual speakers often use Spanish differently than monolingual speakers.
En esta clase se estudia la gramática española desde una perspectiva sociolingüística. Aprendemos sobre la variación dialectal y por qué el habla de los hablantes bilingües suele diferenciarse del habla de los monolingües.
Studying abroad is the perfect way to immerse yourself in a Spanish-speaking environment and rely exclusively on your Spanish skills. These programs will help you understand another culture and how people in another country view the United States. They also offer tremendous opportunities for personal growth. St. Edward’s offers study-abroad opportunities in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Spain. You can choose a program in which a St. Edward’s professor leads students in classes and guided travels for several weeks, or you can study at an international university for a semester. When you study at an overseas university, you’ll live in campus housing with students from that country or with a host family, which immerses you in the rhythms of daily life.
In Spring 2020, Spanish majors worked on a special project to educate Spanish-speaking families about the 2020 U.S. Census. The St. Edward’s students discussed the census with parents of students at an Austin elementary school to address the parents’ concerns and provide factual information about the census.
Major Requirements: The BA in Spanish requires 36 hours of major coursework, which includes a combination of Spanish language, hispanic studies, linguistics, and cultural coursework. Our Majors are required to take SPAN 3330 (offered every fall), 3341 (offered every spring), 3322 and 4398. They must complete a total of 2 4000-level courses.
Electives: Students complete 3 additional hours of elective coursework from the following areas of study: cultures, communication, history, political science, religious studies, or history.
View and download the full degree plan for the Spanish major (PDF).
A few examples of courses students in this major take:
- Mexican American Cultural Experience – This course looks at the ways in which authors have expressed their hybrid identity through legends, corridos, and short stories.
- Women, Gender & Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Spain – In this course students explore how female identity has evolved since Early Modern Spain by reading about nuns, witches, and priests.
- Spanish in the United States – Students enrolled in this course will discover how U.S. Spanish differs from other dialects and learn about code switching, language discrimination, and bilingual language acquisition.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to apply your Spanish skills without leaving Austin. Being bilingual is a superpower that will make you more effective as a doctor, journalist, teacher, social worker, political campaign manager or lawyer. You can get a head start by interning or volunteering at organizations that serve Austin’s Spanish-speaking residents. Many of these settings are ones where knowing Spanish can help you work for social justice by assisting immigrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and other vulnerable members of the community. Spanish majors have interned as tutors and advocates for young students who are English learners. They have interned at El Buen Samaritano, which provides healthcare, education and basic needs for Latino families, many of whom speak limited English, and the Equal Justice Center, a nonprofit law firm.
"Learning new languages gives us the freedom to communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures. Come learn how Spanish can help you become a more compassionate, analytical, and effective communicator."
– Emily Bernate, Assistant Professor of Spanish
"Learning another language paves the way toward a deeper understanding of another culture, its history and unique ways of doing things. Command of another language also allows you to access otherwise closed professional opportunities. Whether to enhance your professional profile or for reasons having to do with travel and adventure, learning Spanish enriches your life by making Spain and nations across Central and South America accessible."
– Regina Faunes, Associate Professor of Spanish
"Ser bilingüe y poder viajar me abrió una ventana a otras culturas. Creo que es algo fantástico y me encanta compartir este interés en las culturas globales con amigos, colegas, estudiantes y todos los que tienen el deseo de ver el mundo."
– Georgia Seminet, Associate Professor of Spanish
The study of the Spanish language provides a valuable and high-demand skill for every area of work and life, and aligns with any field of study. Student pursuing this minor will complete 18 hours of coursework
- SPAN 3330 Spanish Grammar in Context
- SPAN 3341 Effective Written Communication
- Intermediate language courses or equivalent
- 6-12 credit hours of electives
Are you a current student? Contact your advisor for next steps on declaring your major or minor.
Fulfilling the Language Requirement
What if I already speak Spanish?
If you have studied Spanish formally and did not grow up hearing the language, you are probably a second-language learner. You can take a placement test or receive credit through CLEP or AP exams. For information on receiving credit for your prior knowledge in Spanish, contact Georgia Seminet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you grew up hearing Spanish spoken by your parents or grandparents, you are probably a heritage learner. We have special classes designed to help heritage learners improve their grammar, vocabulary, and cultural knowledge. You can also take a placement test or receive credit through CLEP or AP exams. For more information, contact Emily Bernate: email@example.com.