The Department of Spanish and Portuguese provides instruction in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian worlds. Courses are devoted to the language and literatures of Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, and to the Portuguese language and its literatures and cultures from Portugal, Brazil, Africa, and other Portuguese-speaking areas. For information about the major and language placement in Spanish, please visit the departmental website.

The major in Portuguese develops proficiency in the Portuguese language and provides comprehensive knowledge of Portuguese, Brazilian, and related literatures and cultures. Today Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, with 200 million speakers in Brazil, the world’s fifth largest country. It is an official language of the African Union (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Príncipe) and of East Timor, and it is spoken in parts of Asia, the United States, and Canada.

Majors in Portuguese may count up to four courses from complementary fields, including history, history of art, anthropology, area studies, and other languages and literatures, toward the major. Students may also select Portuguese as one of two majors and should consult with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) about a specialized course of study.

First-year students interested in Latin American literature courses with readings in translation should consider the following offerings planned for 2017-2018:

PORT 351, Pessoa, Lispector, Saramago

PORT 394, World Cities and Narratives

Yale Summer Session offers a summer study abroad program in Brazil with courses in intensive beginning or intermediate language and cultural history.


The departmental placement exam in Portuguese is offered prior to the beginning of the fall term. Information about the exam and how to preregister for courses can be found on the departmental website. All students who have not yet taken Portuguese at Yale are expected to take the departmental placement exam, with the exception of students who have no previous knowledge of Portuguese whatsoever.