Laura Middlebrooks, Ph.D.
Instructor and program coordinator, Spanish

worldstudies.vcu.edu/spanish

The foreign language program offers a varied interdisciplinary humanities curriculum, global in scope and designed to increase students’ knowledge about the cultures and traditions, languages, literature and media, history, values, concerns, and aspirations of peoples in different countries and regions of the world. The goal of the program is ultimately also to both broaden students’ comparative intercultural perspectives and develop their cross-cultural communication abilities. Students have the option to pursue a focus or even combination of concentrations in foreign language(s), area studies and/or global issues (in either cinema and/or social justice), depending upon their interests and career plans. Within each chosen concentration or minor, the range of offerings allows for flexibility in configuring each individual’s course of study, which can be organized in a manner that best suits a student’s particular needs.

The Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language will qualify students to pursue any of a number of career paths, including international communications, business and marketing, aid and development, journalism, or education; government foreign service, international affairs, immigration service or the Peace Corps; nongovernmental organizations involved in development, relief programs, immigration or human rights advocacy; or public relations in a multicultural environment. Graduates of our program will also find opportunities in teaching at home or abroad, as well as in work with a variety of public-service organizations. In addition, an undergraduate degree in foreign language provides excellent background and qualifications for admittance to graduate degree programs in a number of humanities disciplines, including foreign languages and international studies, as well as in international law, business or journalism.

Learning outcomes

  • Development of written communication skills
  • Development of oral communication skills
  • Development of reading and analytical skills
  • Cultural competence

Upon completing this program, students will know and know how to do the following:

  • The goal of the program is ultimately to both broaden students’ comparative intercultural perspectives and develop their cross-cultural communication abilities.
  • Students gain proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing in Spanish.
  • Students gain knowledge and a set of cognitive, affective and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts. These range from Spain to the Spanish-speaking Americas to Hispanic U.S. populations.
 

Special requirements

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Language, students must complete 39 credits within the major, 36 credits of which must be upper-level (300-level or above), with a minimum GPA of 2.25 within the major.

Majors in foreign language are encouraged to choose a minor that will broaden their global and cultural perspectives. Foreign language majors are encouraged — but not limited — to complete the course requirements for a minor in one of the following fields: African studies, Arabic and Middle Eastern studies, anthropology, Chinese and Asian Studies, economics, business (general business minor), French, geography, German, history, Italian studies, Mediterranean studies, political science, religious studies, Russian studies, sociology, Spanish, or urban and regional studies. Students also may want to consider a double major. The School of World Studies Advising Office will work with students to explore the benefits of a double major and/or a minor.

All foreign language majors, students transferring credits from study abroad and transfer students who intend to major in a foreign language must take a minimum of two 400-level courses (in literature, civilization or cinema) at VCU in the chosen language area. Both credit and distribution requirements (minimum of 10 courses) for the concentration must be satisfied.

Degree requirements for Foreign Language, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) with a concentration in Spanish

General education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV 200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)
HUMS 202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Approved H&S general education electives6-8
Experiential fine arts 11-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23
1

Course offered by the School of the Arts

Collateral requirements

Experiential learning
Select one of the following:0-3
Major-specific service-learning course
Study abroad program
Approved internship: Select one of the following:
World Languages Internship
World Cultures Internship
International Studies Internship
Or other preapproved internship opportunities
Foreign language requirement
In order to begin upper-level course work in any foreign language, students must have consecutively completed the following courses or prove the equivalent proficiency level through placement testing:0-6
Intermediate Spanish
Intermediate Spanish Readings
Intermediate Spanish Conversation
World Passport
Students must complete the School of World Studies World Passport
Total Hours0-9

Major requirements

SPAN 300
SPAN 301
Advanced Grammar and Writing
and Advanced Grammar and Writing
6
Select one of the following advanced conversation courses: 13
Spanish Conversation
Spanish Conversation and Film
Spanish Through the Media (advanced conversation course)
SPAN 320Civilization of Spain I (civilization course)3
or SPAN 321 Latin American Civilization I
SPAN/INTL 331Survey of Latin American Literature (survey of literature course)3
or SPAN 330 Survey of Spanish Literature
WRLD/INTL 203Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____3
WRLD 302Communicating Across Cultures3
WRLD 490Seminar in World Cultures and Languages (capstone)3
Select two additional SPAN courses from the 300-level electives list below.6
Select three additional SPAN courses from the 400-level electives list below.9
Total Hours39
1

Among the three advanced conversation courses (SPAN 305, SPAN 307 and SPAN 311), students can take only one of the three to meet core major and minor requirements.

Open electives

Select 25-48 open elective credits25-48

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

SPAN electives

300-level courses 1
SPAN 320Civilization of Spain I3
SPAN 321Latin American Civilization I3
SPAN 322Hispanic Immigrants in the U.S.3
SPAN 330Survey of Spanish Literature3
SPAN 331Survey of Latin American Literature3
SPAN 332Latino Writers in the U.S.3
400-level courses 2
SPAN 402Language Issues in the Spanish-speaking World3
SPAN 403History of the Spanish Language1-3
SPAN 414Commercial Spanish1-3
SPAN 420Civilization of Spain II1-3
SPAN 421Civilization of Latin America II1-3
SPAN 422Spanish and Latin American Cinema1-3
SPAN 430Literary Genres1-3
SPAN 431Literary Periods1-3
SPAN 432Hispanic Culture Through Literature3
SPAN 433Don Quixote3
SPAN 485Spanish Study Abroad1-12
SPAN 491Topics in Spanish1-3
SPAN 492Independent Study1-3
1

SETI 400 may be selected to fulfill one 300-level SPAN elective.

2

One of SETI 400, SETI 410 or SETI 420 may be selected to fulfill one 400-level SPAN elective.

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
SPAN 101 Elementary Spanish 4
UNIV 101 Introduction to the University 1
UNIV 111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
WRLD 203 Cultural Texts and Contexts: ____ (fulfills approved literature and civilization) 3
Approved quantitative literacy 3-4
 Term Hours: 14-15
Spring semester
HUMS 202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
SPAN 102 Elementary Spanish 4
UNIV 112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved diverse and global communities 3
Approved human, social and political behavior 3
 Term Hours: 14
Sophomore year
Fall semester
SPAN 201 Intermediate Spanish 3
UNIV 200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved general education electives 6-7
Approved science and technology 3-4
 Term Hours: 15-17
Spring semester
SPAN 202 Intermediate Spanish Readings 3
WRLD 302 Communicating Across Cultures 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 16-18
Junior year
Fall semester
On-campus or study abroad semester:  
SPAN 300 Advanced Grammar and Writing 3
SPAN 305
Spanish Conversation
or Spanish Conversation and Film
or Spanish Through the Media
3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
On-campus or study abroad semester:  
SPAN 301 Advanced Grammar and Writing 3
SPAN 330
Survey of Spanish Literature
or Survey of Latin American Literature
or Survey of Latin American Literature
3
Open electives 9
 Term Hours: 15
Summer semester
Study abroad (recommended):  
SPAN elective (300-level) 0-3
Select one of the following: 0-3
SPAN 320
Civilization of Spain I
or Latin American Civilization I
-
 Term Hours: 0-6
Senior year
Fall semester
FRLG 493 World Languages Internship (or SPAN elective 400-level or above) 3
SPAN 320
Civilization of Spain I
or Latin American Civilization I
3
WRLD 490 Seminar in World Cultures and Languages (or open elective) 3
SPAN elective (300-level) (if not taken abroad) 3
SPAN elective (300-level) 3
Open elective 1-3
 Term Hours: 16-18
Spring semester
FRLG 493 World Languages Internshipor SPAN elective 400-level or above) (whichever not completed in Fall 3
SETI 400 Spanish-English Comparative Grammar (or SPAN elective 400-level or above) 3
WRLD 490 Seminar in World Cultures and Languagesif not already taken) (or open elective 3
SPAN elective (400-level or above) 3
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 15
 Total Hours: 120-133

SPAN 101. Elementary Spanish. 4 Hours.

Continuous courses; 5 lecture/recitation hours. 4-4 credits. Prerequisite: completion of SPAN 101 to enroll in SPAN 102. Elementary grammar, reading and oral drills.

SPAN 102. Elementary Spanish. 4 Hours.

Continuous courses; 5 lecture/recitation hours. 4-4 credits. Prerequisite: completion of SPAN 101 to enroll in SPAN 102. Elementary grammar, reading and oral drills.

SPAN 201. Intermediate Spanish. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 102. Continuation of the essentials of grammar, with emphasis on achieving proficiency in aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing skills.

SPAN 202. Intermediate Spanish Readings. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 201. Designed to increase the student's proficiency through the study of selected cultural and literary texts.

SPAN 205. Intermediate Spanish Conversation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 201. Designed to increase the student's proficiency in the spoken language through audio-oral exercises, dialogues and free conversation.

SPAN 300. Advanced Grammar and Writing. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 202 or 205. Prerequisite for SPAN 301: SPAN 300. A systematic review of Spanish grammar with emphasis on the elements of style and vocabulary building, translation and composition.

SPAN 301. Advanced Grammar and Writing. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 202 or 205. Prerequisite for SPAN 301: SPAN 300. A systematic review of Spanish grammar with emphasis on the elements of style and vocabulary building, translation and composition.

SPAN 305. Spanish Conversation. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 202, SPAN 205 or SPAN 300. Conducted in Spanish. Practice in the spoken language with emphasis on discussions relating to topics of current interest.

SPAN 307. Spanish Conversation and Film. 3 Hours.

Semester courses; 3 lecture hours. 3, 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 202, SPAN 205 or SPAN 300. Designed to develop the student's conversational skills, oral comprehension ability and knowledge of contemporary culture through discussion of selected Spanish and Latin American films. Emphasis is also placed on vocabulary development and writing practice.

SPAN 311. Spanish Through the Media. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 202, SPAN 205 or SPAN 300. Further development of listening, reading, writing, speaking and cultural skills through a focus on mass media in Latin America and Spain. Spanish language and current events will be taught through direct contact with newspapers, journals, television and radio programming, and online media. Students will view programs outside of class, participate actively in class discussions, create presentations and conduct research.

SPAN 320. Civilization of Spain I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. A treatment of salient manifestations of Spanish culture and civilization from its origins to the present.

SPAN 321. Latin American Civilization I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. A treatment of salient manifestations of Latin American culture and civilization from pre-Columbian times to the present.

SPAN 322. Hispanic Immigrants in the U.S.. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. Analysis, research and discussion of the life and history of Hispanics in the U.S. Topics such as identity, assimilation, immigration laws, education, jobs, housing, health, religion and politics will be covered. Students will apply their course learning through 15 hours of community service for Hispanics.

SPAN 330. Survey of Spanish Literature. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. A survey of Spanish literature up to the present.

SPAN 331. Survey of Latin American Literature. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. An introduction to major authors and trends up to the present. Crosslisted as: INTL 331.

SPAN 332. Latino Writers in the U.S.. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 300; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; corequisite: SPAN 301. Conducted in Spanish. Explores Latino cultural identity and the Latino contribution to U.S. cultural life through a variety of works in the different literary genres produced by Latino writers, both immigrants and those raised in the U.S.

SPAN 402. Language Issues in the Spanish-speaking World. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in Spanish. Through a variety of topics this course explores the links between language and human behavior as exemplified by language phenomena in the Spanish-speaking world. Topics will be drawn mainly from sociolinguistics, language and culture, and education and applied linguistics. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester. Crosslisted as: LING 402.

SPAN 403. History of the Spanish Language. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in Spanish. A study of the evolution of Spanish from Latin through the Middle Ages to the Modern era. Historical phonology, etymology, morphology, orthography, semantics and syntax of standard Castilian. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SPAN 414. Commercial Spanish. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. Conducted in Spanish. This course will develop the student's ability to use the Spanish language as a means of oral and written communication in the business world. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SPAN 420. Civilization of Spain II. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: completion of 9 credits of Spanish at the 300 level including SPAN 300 or 301. This course explores the cultural diversity and differences of Spain. Topics focus on a particular interdisciplinary theme, such as the formation of cities, ethnicity and on a particular area of Spain. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SPAN 421. Civilization of Latin America II. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: completion of 9 credits of Spanish at the 300 level including SPAN 300 or 301. This course explores the cultural diversity of Latin America and the social and political forces behind cultural change. Topics will focus on a specific interdisciplinary theme, such as urban life, the politics of identity and on a specific area of Latin America. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester. Crosslisted as: INTL 421.

SPAN 422. Spanish and Latin American Cinema. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different themes, up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: completion of 9 credits of Spanish at the 300 level including SPAN 300 or 301. Conducted in Spanish. Spanish and/or Latin American cinema from the 1940s to the present, including the works of important directors, such as Bunuel, Saura, Almodovar, Emilio Fernandez, Glauber Rocha, Solanas or Gutierrez-Alea. The formal and aesthetic issues of cinematic texts and the historical, cultural and social contexts of their production. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific theme to be offered each semester.

SPAN 430. Literary Genres. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: completion of 9 credits of Spanish at the 300 level including SPAN 300 or 301. Conducted in Spanish. An in-depth look at the development and expression of varieties of literature in Spanish. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SPAN 431. Literary Periods. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. Course can be repeated with different topics up to a total of 6 credits. Prerequisites: completion of 9 credits of Spanish at the 300 level including SPAN 300 or 301. Conducted in Spanish. An in-depth synchronic look at movements and their context in literature in Spanish. See the Schedule of Classes for the specific topic to be offered each semester.

SPAN 432. Hispanic Culture Through Literature. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 320, SPAN 321 or SPAN 322; and SPAN 330, SPAN 331 or SPAN 332. Conducted in Spanish. An in-depth analysis of Hispanic texts dealing with cultural topics such as love relationships, death, family, religion, politics, gender and ethnicity, as well as their relationships to cultural values, behaviors, ideologies, beliefs and the histories of Spain and Spanish America.

SPAN 433. Don Quixote. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301, and SPAN 320 or SPAN 330. Conducted in Spanish. An in-depth analysis of Miguel de Cervantes’s masterpiece. Focuses on questions of the literary, linguistic and cultural complexity of “Don Quixote.” Examines the work in the social and historical context of Early Modern Spain.

SPAN 485. Spanish Study Abroad. 1-12 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Prerequisites: SPAN 301 and SPAN 321; SPAN 330 or 331 or 332. This course offers all students the opportunity to improve their oral and written proficiency in Spanish, to enhance their awareness of cultural diversity and to become independent learners of Spanish language and the cultures of its speakers.

SPAN 491. Topics in Spanish. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 9 credits. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. An in-depth study of selected topics in Spanish. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

SPAN 492. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 3 credits per semester; maximum total of 6 credits for all independent study courses in Spanish. Prerequisites: SPAN 301; SPAN 305 or 307 or 311; SPAN 320 or 321 or 330 or 331. A course designed to give students an opportunity to become involved in independent study in a literary or linguistic area or subject in which they have an interest.