Director of undergraduate studies: Leslie Harkema, Rm. 207, 82–90 Wall St., 432-1157,; language program director: Ame Cividanes, Rm. 210, 82–90 Wall St., 432-1159,;

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese provides instruction in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian worlds. Courses in Portuguese and the requirements of the major are described under Portuguese; the names of faculty teaching Portuguese courses are included in the faculty roster.

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, Latin America, and the Caribbean. 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 offers students the opportunity to acquire thorough linguistic proficiency as well as in-depth knowledge of both cultural and literary topics. The major explores literature, history, philosophy, art, and cultural studies, and provides excellent preparation for careers in law, diplomacy, medicine, business, the arts, academics, journalism, and education.

Course Numbering

Courses numbered SPAN 110–199 include beginning and intermediate language courses designed to help students develop fluency in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Spanish. Courses numbered SPAN 200–299 seek to provide students with a broad but solid introduction to the fields of Hispanic literatures and cultures while strengthening their linguistic competence. Courses numbered 300–499 allow students to perfect their linguistic and critical skills through study of a specific problem or issue, e.g., a literary genre, a type of literary or cultural representation, or a specific writer or text. Students desiring more information about either language or literature offerings should consult the DUS.


Prerequisite to the major is SPAN 140142, or 145, or the equivalent through advanced placement or study abroad. Equivalent preparation to SPAN 140142, or 145 may be demonstrated by the test scores indicated below under "Placement Procedures."

Placement Procedures

Students whose test scores demonstrate advanced ability in Spanish may enroll directly in any L5 course; scores that demonstrate advanced ability include a placement of L5 on the departmental placement examination, a score of 5 on either of the Spanish Advanced Placement tests, a score of 6 or 7 on the Advanced-Level International Baccalaureate examination, or a proficiency level of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. 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.

Information about the departmental placement examination and about preregistration procedures for Spanish L1–L4 language courses is available on the departmental website.

Requirements of the Major

Beyond the prerequisite, ten term courses numbered SPAN 200 or higher are required, five of which must be numbered SPAN 300 or higher. SPAN 491, The Senior Essay, counts as one of the ten required courses. A maximum of one course may be numbered SPAN 200–230. Freshman seminars taught in Spanish count toward the major in the SPAN 231–299 range.

Language courses Students with no previous formal or informal Spanish study ordinarily enroll in SPAN 110. Students who take SPAN 110 must continue with 120 in the following term, and no credit is awarded for 110 until 120 has been successfully completed. Students wishing to take intensive beginning Spanish may, with the instructor's permission, enroll in SPAN 125, which covers the same material as SPAN 110 and 120, but in one term. SPAN 132 and 142 are designed for heritage speakers and are available only to them. Admission to SPAN 132 and 142 is based on results of the departmental placement examination; interested students should contact the instructor.

Intensive major Students in the intensive major fulfill the requirements for the standard major, and take an additional two courses numbered SPAN 300 or higher. 

Senior Requirement 

Seniors write the senior essay in SPAN 491 in the spring of their senior year under the individual direction of a faculty adviser. Students expecting to complete their degree requirements in December write the senior essay in SPAN 491 in the fall of their senior year. Seniors in SPAN 491 are expected to submit their completed essay to the DUS at 82–90 Wall Street by 4 p.m. on April 27 in the spring term, or by 4 p.m. on December 8 in the fall term. If the essay is submitted late without an excuse from the student's residential college dean, the penalty is one letter grade, though no essay that would otherwise pass will be failed because it is late.


Two majors Students electing Spanish as one of two majors should consult the DUS about a specialized course of study.

Courses in the Graduate School Juniors and seniors majoring in Spanish may, with permission of the instructor and the director of graduate studies, enroll in graduate literature courses in Spanish. A list of pertinent graduate courses is available at the office of the DUS.

Study Abroad 

Students at the intermediate level of language study are encouraged to apply to the eight-week summer language courses offered by Yale Summer Session in New Haven and Bilbao, Spain. Advanced students may apply for the five-week Yale Summer Session course offered in Valencia, Spain. More information about these programs is available on the Yale Summer Session Website. For information about the Year or Term Abroad program, see under Special Arrangements in the Academic Regulations. Students who wish to count courses taken abroad toward the major should consult with the DUS before going abroad.


Prerequisite 1 from SPAN 140, 142, 145, or equivalent

Number of courses 10 term courses (incl senior req)

Distribution of courses 10 term courses numbered SPAN 200 or higher, 5 of which are numbered SPAN 300 or higher; max of one course numbered SPAN 200–230

Senior requirement Senior essay (SPAN 491)

Intensive major 2 addtl courses numbered SPAN 300 or higher, totaling 12 term courses


Professors Rolena Adorno, Howard Bloch (Chair), Roberto González Echevarría, Aníbal González, K. David Jackson, Noël Valis

Assistant Professor Leslie Harkema

Senior Lectors II Sybil Alexandrov, Margherita Tortora, Sonia Valle

Senior Lectors I Marta Almeida, Maria Pilar Asensio-Manrique, Mercedes Carreras, Ame Cividanes, Sebastián Díaz, María de la Paz García, María Jordán, Rosamaría León, Juliana Ramos-Ruano, Lissette Reymundi, Lourdes Sabé-Colom, Terry Seymour, María M. Vázquez


* SPAN 100b, Spanish for ReadingMaria Pilar Asensio-Manrique

Overview of fundamental grammar structures and basic vocabulary through comprehensive reading and translation of texts in various fields (primarily humanities and social sciences, and others as determined by student interest). No previous knowledge of Spanish needed. Conducted in English. No preregistration required. Does not satisfy the Yale College language requirement.
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* SPAN 110a or b, Elementary Spanish IStaff

For students who wish to begin study of the Spanish language. Development of basic skills in understanding, speaking, reading, and writing through a functional approach to the teaching of Spanish grammar. Includes an introduction to the cultures (traditions, art, literature, music) of the Spanish-speaking world. Audiovisual materials are incorporated into class sessions. Conducted in Spanish. To be followed immediately by SPAN 120. Credit only on completion of SPAN 120.   L1RP1½ Course cr

SPAN 120a or b, Elementary Spanish IIStaff

Further development of understanding, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Class sessions incorporate short authentic texts in Spanish, audiovisual materials, and film. Cultural topics of the Spanish-speaking world (traditions, art, literature, music) are included. Conducted in Spanish. After SPAN 110 or in accordance with placement results. Admits to SPAN 130 or 145.  L2RP1½ Course cr

* SPAN 125a, Intensive Elementary SpanishMaria Lourdes Sabé

An intensive beginning course in spoken and written Spanish that covers the material of SPAN 110 and 120 in one term. Conducted in Spanish. Admits to SPAN 130 or 145. Not open to students who have completed SPAN 110 or 120.  L1, L2RP2 Course cr
MTWThF 9:25am-11:15am

SPAN 130a or b, Intermediate Spanish IStaff

Development of language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing through communicative activities rather than a sequence of linguistic units. Authentic Spanish language texts, films, and videos serve as the basis for the functional study of grammar and the acquisition of a broader vocabulary. Cultural topics are presented throughout the term. Conducted in Spanish. Admits to SPAN 140.  L3RP1½ Course cr

* SPAN 132a, Spanish for Heritage Speakers ISybil Alexandrov

A language course designed for students who have been exposed to Spanish—either at home or by living in a Spanish-speaking country—but who have little or no formal training in the language. Practice in all four communicative skills (comprehension, speaking, reading, writing), with special attention to basic grammar concepts, vocabulary building, and issues particular to heritage speakers. Admission in accordance with placement results.  L3
MWF 11:35am-12:25pm

SPAN 140a or b, Intermediate Spanish IIStaff

Continuation of SPAN 130. Development of increased proficiency in the four language skills. Greater precision in grammar usage, vocabulary enrichment, and expanded cultural awareness are achieved through communicative activities based on authentic Spanish-language texts, including a short novel. Conducted in Spanish. Admits to L5 courses.  L4RP1½ Course cr

* SPAN 142b, Spanish for Heritage Speakers IISybil Alexandrov

Continuation of SPAN 132. Examination of complex grammar structures; consideration of problems particular to heritage speakers through the reading of both literary and journalistic texts. Practice in all communicative skills (comprehension, speaking, reading, writing). After SPAN 132 or in accordance with placement results.  L4
MWF 11:35am-12:25pm

* SPAN 145b, Intensive Intermediate SpanishSonia Valle

An intensive intermediate course in spoken and written Spanish that covers the material of SPAN 130 and 140 in one term. Conducted in Spanish. Admits to L5 courses. Not open to students who have completed SPAN 130 or 140.  L3, L4RP2 Course cr
MTWThF 9:25am-11:20am

SPAN 150a or b, Advanced Oral and Written Communication in SpanishStaff

Instruction in refining reading, writing, aural, and oral skills. Students reach proficiency at the advanced high level (according to ACTFL guidelines) in the four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Conducted in Spanish. Open to heritage speakers placed at the L5 level. Can count toward the major at the discretion of the DUS. Prerequisite: SPAN 140 or 145, or in accordance with placement results.   L5RP

* SPAN 222a / LAST 222a, Legal SpanishMercedes Carreras

An introduction to Spanish and Latin American legal culture with a focus on the specific traits of legal language and on the development of advanced language competence. Issues such as human rights, the death penalty, the jury, contracts, statutory instruments, and rulings by the constitutional courts are explored through law journal articles, newspapers, the media, and mock trials. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5

* SPAN 223b / LAST 223b, Spanish in Film: An Introduction to the New Latin American CinemaMargherita Tortora

Development of proficiency in Spanish through analysis of critically acclaimed Latin American films. Includes basic vocabulary of film criticism in Spanish as well as discussion and language exercises. Enrollment limited to 18.  L5
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 225b / LAST 225b / SPAN S225E, Spanish for the Medical ProfessionsMercedes Carreras

Topics in health and welfare. Conversation, reading, and writing about medical issues for advanced Spanish-language students, including those considering careers in medical professions. Enrollment limited to 18.  L5

* SPAN 227a / LAST 227a, Creative WritingMaría Jordán

An introduction to the craft and practice of creative writing (fiction, poetry, and essays). Focus on the development of writing skills and awareness of a variety of genres and techniques through reading of exemplary works and critical assessment of student work. Emphasis on the ability to write about abstract ideas, sentiments, dreams, and the imaginary world. Enrollment limited to 18. A maximum of one course in the 200-230 range may count as an elective toward the Spanish major.  L5
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 243a or b / LAST 243a or b, Advanced Spanish GrammarStaff

A comprehensive, in-depth study of grammar intended to improve students' spoken and written command of Spanish. Linguistic analysis of literary selections; some English-to-Spanish translation. Enrollment limited to 18.   L5

SPAN 247b / LAST 247b, Introduction to the Cultures of Latin AmericaRolena Adorno

A chronological study of Latin American cultures through their expressions in literature and the arts, beginning in the pre-Columbian period and focusing on the period from the nineteenth century to the present. Emphasis on crucial historical moments and on distinctive rituals such as fiestas. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the major in Spanish.  L5, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

SPAN 261a / LAST 261a, Studies in Spanish Literature IRolena Adorno

An introduction to Spanish prose, drama, and lyric poetry from their medieval multicultural origins through the Golden Age in the seventeenth century. Readings include El Cid, La Celestina, Conde Lucanor, and works by Miguel de Cervantes and Calderón de la Barca. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Counts toward the major in Spanish.  L5, HU
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

* SPAN 262b / LAST 262b, Studies in Spanish Literature IILeslie Harkema

An introduction to Spanish prose, drama, and lyric poetry from the eighteenth century to the present, centered on the conflict between modernity and tradition and on the quest for national identity. Texts by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Ramón Sender, and Ana María Matute, among others. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish.  L5, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

SPAN 302a, El Quijote en españolRoberto González Echevarría

A detailed and contextualized reading of Cervantes's masterpiece conducted entirely in Spanish. The study of this iconic text familiarizes students with its literary and cultural values and Cervantes' language. Prerequisites: SPAN 140, 142, 145, or equivalent.   L5, HU
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* SPAN 312b / HUMS 194b, Images of Technology in Latin American CultureMaria Baffi

Study of technology as represented in Latin American literature and visual art and political projects that have technology at their center, from early 19th century to present. Consideration of the singularity of Latin American thought on technology and modernization; how technology changed the way both art and politics were practiced; and how photography and film alter modes and meanings of representations. Readings by Sarmiento, Martí, Borges, Benjamin, Storni; films by Eisenstein, Andrade, and others.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

* SPAN 322a, The Many Faces of Miguel de UnamunoLeslie Harkema

The work of the prolific Spanish novelist, poet, essayist, and dramatist Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936). Questions relating to the various literary genres in which Unamuno wrote and to the philosophical problems that most preoccupied him. The author's place in twentieth-century Spanish history and the political and cultural contexts of his time. Prerequisite: SPAN 140 or equivalent. Recommended preparation: SPAN 246 or 262.  L5, HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* SPAN 323b / WGSS 403b, Women Writers of SpainNoël Valis

The development of women's writing in Spain, with a focus on the modern era. Equal attention to the sociohistorical and cultural contexts of women writers and to the narrative and poetic strategies the authors employed. Some readings from critical and theoretical works.  L5, HU
MW 11:35am-12:50pm

* SPAN 329a, Golden Age TheaterRoberto González Echevarría

The development and apogee of the Spanish comedia, as well as contemporary minor subgenres such as the auto sacramental and the entremés. Exploration of how the theater synthesizes post-Garcilaso lyric, the commedia dell’arte, renaissance epic, the romancero, Spanish history, and the European renaissance literary tradition. Works by Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Guillén de Castro, Mira de Amescua, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Luis Quiñones de Benavente, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Comparison with English and French theater is encouraged.  L5, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 343a / LAST 343a, Humor in Contemporary Spanish American NarrativeAníbal González Perez

With the use of theoretical and philosophical discussions of humor, examination of how contemporary Spanish American narrative deploys humor for a variety of purposes: from social satire and critical reflection to the promotion of harmony among individuals and social groups. Authors include Bryce Echenique, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Cabrera Infante, and Augusto Monterroso. Conducted in Spanish. Open to students who have placed into L5 courses or who have successfully completed an L4 course in Spanish. Unless otherwise noted, all courses in Group B are conducted in Spanish.  L5, HU
MW 2:30pm-3:45pm

* SPAN 352a, Ethics and Politics in the Spanish American Short StoryAníbal González Perez

Survey of the twentieth-century Spanish American short story, focused on the links among ethics, politics, and writing. Representation of ethics in narrative fiction; metaphorical links between writing and violence; tension between artistic integrity and political commitment.  L5, HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 358b, Contemporary Spanish Caribbean LiteratureAníbal González Perez

Introduction to contemporary literature from Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, through prose and poetry works by representative authors: Nicolás Guillén, Alejo Carpentier, José Lezama Lima, Antonio José Ponte, Ena Lucía Portela, Juan Bosch, José Alcántara Almánzar, Rita Indiana, Luis Palés Matos, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Mayra Santos-Febres, Luis Negrón. Topics include colonialism and postcoloniality; race, gender, and nation; Cuba’s Special Period; and the Puerto Rican debt crisis.  Prerequisites: SPAN 140, 142, 145, or equivalent.  L5, HU
TTh 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 370b, Poetics of the Mexican RevolutionRafael Rojas Gutierrez

An overview of responses to and interpretations of the Mexican Revolution by Mexican writers from the beginning of the revolution in 1910 to the 1950s. Attention to literary representation of the revolution as well as the public intervention of writers in the ideological debates on the post-revolutionary State. Readings include works by Alfonso Reyes, Mariano Azuela, Martín Luis Guzmán, Juan Rulfo, Rosario Castellanos, and others.  SPAN 140, 142, 145 or equivalent. SPAN 267 recommended, though not required.  L5
MW 4pm-5:15pm

* SPAN 390b / GMAN 370b / HUMS 333b / LITR 411b, Walter Benjamin and Critical Theory in Latin AmericaPaul North

European critical theory in a Latin American context, with focus on reception of Walter Benjamin in Chile. Central themes include violence and its relation to the image, the meaning of critique, history, art, and language. Emphasis on twentieth-century Chilean political history and the use of Benjaminian critique by Chilean writers.   HU
M 3:30pm-5:20pm

* SPAN 392b / LITR 289b, Literature of the Americas, North and SouthRolena Adorno

Readings of U.S. and Latin American short stories and novels to explore related themes and narrative structures. Topics include the literary dialogue between Anglo and Latin American writers and their comparative treatments of history, myth, memory, and war. Paired readings of Poe and Cortázar; Bierce and Fuentes; Crane and Borges; and Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and García Márquez“s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Conducted in English; a section in Spanish available depending on demand. Readings of Latin American texts in Spanish for Spanish and Literature majors. Prerequisite: SPAN 140, 142, 145, or equivalent.  HU
MW 1pm-2:15pm

* SPAN 393b / LITR 420b, The Jungle BooksRoberto González Echevarría

A study of novels, stories, and films about a journey to the jungle in search of personal fulfillment and the origins of history. Authors include Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad, André Malraux, Alejo Carpentier, W. H. Hudson, Claude Lévi-Strauss, José Eustasio Rivera, and Mario Vargas Llosa. Readings and discussion in English.  WR, HUTr
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

* SPAN 479b, Directed Readings and/or Individual ResearchLeslie Harkema

Individual study under faculty supervision. The student must submit a bibliography and a written plan of study approved by the faculty adviser to the director of undergraduate studies. No reading or research course credit is granted without prior approval from the director of undergraduate studies. The student must meet with the instructor at least one hour a week. A final examination or essay is required.

* SPAN 491a or b, The Senior EssayLeslie Harkema

A research project completed under faculty supervision and resulting in a paper of considerable length, in Spanish.