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 Portuguese, see under Portuguese.

The major in Spanish is a liberal arts major that offers a wide range of courses in the language, literatures, and cultures of the twenty Spanish-speaking countries in Europe and Latin America. Today Spanish is the second language of the United States, one of the three most widely spoken languages in the world, and one of the five diplomatic languages of the United Nations. The program in Spanish provides students with the opportunity to acquire thorough linguistic proficiency as well as in-depth knowledge of cultural and literary topics. The Spanish major opens up a world of literature, history, philosophy, art, and culture, and offers excellent preparation for careers in law, diplomacy, medicine, business, the arts, academics, journalism, and education.

First-year students who are interested in the Spanish major and have met the prerequisite (SPAN 140, 142, 145, or equivalent) are encouraged to consider taking SPAN 060, SPAN 246, SPAN 247, or any of the literature survey courses at the 200 level, such as SPAN 261, SPAN 262, SPAN 266, or SPAN 267. Students may also select Spanish as one of two majors and, in that case, should consult with the director of undergraduate studies (DUS) about a specialized course of study.

Yale Summer Session (YSS) offers summer study abroad programs at the intermediate level (combined L3/L4) in Quito, Ecuador; Bilbao, Spain; and Lima, Peru. In addition, YSS offers a five-week summer course at the L5 level in Valencia, Spain.


The departmental placement examination in Spanish is offered online during the summer. The exam places students at the proper level of study, allowing them to get the most out of their academic experience in Spanish courses. Additional information is available on the departmental website.

First-years who have achieved a score of 5 on the AP test in Spanish or 6 or 7 on the International Baccalaureate examination are not required to take the departmental placement examination. They may enroll directly in courses designated L5 in Yale College Programs of Study (YCPS).

All other students, including native speakers, who have previously studied Spanish formally or informally must take the departmental placement examination in order to enroll in a Spanish course. Students who score L5 on the departmental placement examination may enroll in courses designated L5 in the YCPS. All other students begin with a course at the level indicated by the placement examination.