About the Major

Department/Program Description

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (RL&L) is a cornerstone of the humanities at Wesleyan and the University’s gateway to the French-, Italian-, and Spanish-speaking worlds. We represent literary and cultural traditions that extend from the Middle Ages to the present. We teach languages, literatures, and cultures that span Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Our students develop and apply their knowledge and skills through the extracurricular activities and study-abroad opportunities that we promote. Through a network of collaborations across departments and divisions, we support a wide array of majors, academic programs, and initiatives.

Additional Information

Students interested in enrolling in French, Italian, or Spanish at the elementary or intermediate levels are urged to do so during their first-year and sophomore years. Department policy gives priority to first-year and sophomore students in our language classes (numbered 101112) to allow students to study abroad and to meet the requirements of those programs requiring language study. Juniors and seniors who wish to take elementary and intermediate language courses should submit an online enrollment request and attend the first class. They may be accepted during the drop/add period if seats become available. Should a junior or senior enroll in the first course of an ampersand sequence (such as 101102), he or she will have priority for the second course, just like first-year and sophomore students.

Major Description


The major in Hispanic literatures and cultures is designed for students committed to achieving fluency in Spanish and a knowledge of the literatures and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. The major emphasizes both the history and cultural diversity of a world whose geographic reach is vast and whose heritage extends from the Middle Ages to the present. The major focuses primarily on literary and related modes of representation (such as performance, film, and the visual arts) yet recognizes course work outside the department in related fields, as described below. Students majoring in Hispanic literatures and cultures have the flexibility to tailor the major to their intellectual interests as long as they meet our expectations for coherence.

Student Learning Goals

Students who complete the major in Hispanic literatures and cultures gain the knowledge and skills needed to successfully pursue their academic and professional interests:

  • the language proficiency to live, study, and work in a Spanish-speaking environment, in the United States or abroad;
  • strong communicative skills, in both Spanish and their native language;
  • the capacity to understand diverse points of view; and
  • the ability to draw on a wide range of sources to stimulate their own creative and critical capacities
Admission to the Major

Students qualify for this major with a grade of B or better in SPAN221 or the equivalent. Exceptions require the approval of the Spanish section.

Major Requirements
  • Nine (9) courses minimum numbered 203 and above. Students who count SPAN 203 must also take SPAN 221.
  • Five (5) courses minimum in SPAN at Wesleyan numbered 221 or above. At least one in each of the following categories:
    • Before 1700 (Medieval, Spanish Golden Age or colonial Latin America, normally SPAN230-249);
    • Post-1700 Spain (normally SPAN250-269);
    • Post-1800 Latin America (normally SPAN270-299).
  • One (1) course in SPAN at Wesleyan during their senior year.
  • A grade of B or better in courses taken for the major. Exceptions require the approval of the Spanish section.

Tutorials (for course assistants, essays, or honors) do not count toward the major.

Languages courses taken abroad do not count toward the major.

Courses in Related Fields.

Courses taken in Spanish on selected programs abroad may count toward the major if they have a strong interpretive dimension, with a focus on reading, writing, discussion, representation, or form (e.g., how genre, rhetoric, and/or style shape meaning). Such courses may also treat the subject’s history or the debates within it. Courses that meet these criteria are ordinarily found in anthropology, art history, history, music, philosophy, and sociology. They can also be found in economics, government, and psychology when the course focuses primarily on how the field is represented, conceived, or used in public debates or contexts.

Courses offered through the medium of English by other Wesleyan departments and programs primarily on the Hispanophone (including the U.S. Hispanic) world may count toward the major. These courses must be approved by the student’s major advisor.

With the advisor’s approval, majors may count courses in related fields as follows:

  • For students who do not study abroad, up to two (2) courses through the medium of English.
  • For students who study abroad, four (4) courses maximum on selected programs abroad and one (1) course through the medium of English at Wesleyan.
Important Additional Information.

Courses must be taken for a letter grade, unless the student is also majoring in COL.

Students majoring in both HISP and LAST may count no more than four (4) courses toward satisfying requirements of both majors concurrently.

Advising. Upon acceptance into the major, students will meet with their assigned HISP advisor in order to review their plan for completing the major. Advisees will meet with the advisor at least once each semester for the purpose of revising their progress and discussing any other matters related to their interest and goals in Spanish.

Study Abroad

The following programs abroad are recommended for majors in Hispanic literatures and cultures:

  • Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid (Spain)
  • Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá (Colombia)
  • CIEE in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • Middlebury in Chile (Various cities)
  • CIEE in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
  • IFSA Butler at the Universidad Autónoma (Mérida, Mexico)

Students may petition for ad hoc approval of other programs abroad. For more information concerning study-abroad opportunities, visit the Office of Study Abroad, 201 Fisk Hall.

Capstone Experience

Students are encouraged to present a substantial piece of work during their senior year that is comparative and transnational in nature, either within the framework of a single course (a term paper, for instance) or as their senior essay or thesis.


See wesleyan.edu/romance/spanish/honors for more information.

Advanced Placement

See wesleyan.edu/romance/spanish/aptransferofcredit for more information.

Transfer Credit

See wesleyan.edu/romance/spanish/aptransferofcredit for more information.