If you’re interested in languages and the people who speak them, consider a major in Spanish. You will become skilled at understanding one of the world’s most widely spoken languages as well as reading, writing, and speaking it. You’ll also learn about Hispanic or Luso-Brazilian literature and culture.

Why Study at Iowa

Iowa’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese has a highly flexible undergraduate program. You'll be encouraged to combine your major in Spanish with other University of Iowa majors, minors, or certificates in order to maximize your career options and other opportunities. You'll also have the option to participate in a wide range of study abroad programs.
The department’s faculty includes many native speakers. Faculty members have attracted wide support for their research, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays program, and the university’s Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.
The department also offers a BA in Portuguese and plays an important role in the Latin American Studies Program, an interdisciplinary undergraduate program focusing on the history, politics, social organization, economy, art, music, religion, and literature of Latin America.

Students in this major may also choose to supplement their degree program with a Certificate in International Business or Certificate in Latin American Studies.

Course Work

Students majoring in Spanish earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree, acquiring language skills through varied ways of communicating and developing grammar skills while speaking and writing. You’ll also enrich your vocabulary during an introduction to Hispanic culture.

Required course work includes Hispanic linguistics, Spanish peninsular literature, Spanish American literature, and peninsular or Spanish American culture. You’ll also take a number of elective courses, which may include creative writing and up to two courses in Portuguese as well as two courses in related areas from other departments, such as history, anthropology, or linguistics, subject to certain guidelines.

See Spanish & Portuguese in the UI General Catalog to learn more about the major and graduating with honors.

Teaching Licensure

Students who want to teach Spanish at the elementary and/or secondary level must complete the requirements for the Spanish major and the College of Education's Teacher Education Program.

Minor in Spanish

See Spanish and Portuguese in the UI General Catalog.

Spanish Courses for Nonmajors

Students majoring in other disciplines may fulfill the world language component of their college's General Education Program with approved sequences of either Spanish or Portuguese language courses. Additional Spanish and Portuguese courses are approved to satisfy other General Education requirements.

Admission Requirements

Spanish majors need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Admission Requirements Tabs

Student Opportunities

In addition to having nearly 600 Student Organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple Living-Learning Communities, Study Abroad Programs, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

Spanish students have numerous opportunities to learn outside the classroom. The department’s weekly conversation groups in Spanish and Portuguese are friendly, informal gatherings where students may practice with native speakers, meet professors and graduate students, and enjoy each other’s company.
Students have abundant opportunities to attend talks and lectures by guests who visit campus, including authors, filmmakers, and scholars. Recent and Upcoming Events are featured on the department's website.

The department also participates in Study Abroad Programs in Spain and Latin America, in locations such as Alicante, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Salvador, Santiago, Seville, Valladolid, and many others. Some take place during the academic year and others are offered during the summer.

Students in this major also might enjoy living in the Global Mosaic Living-Learning Community in the residence halls. You'll broaden your knowledge of international issues, languages, and cultures while living in a close-knit group.

Faculty, Facilities, and Resources

The Language Media Center in the Division of World Languages provides students and faculty members with a broad range of services and facilities, including a state-of-the-art audio language laboratory, individual audio-recording carrels, video-viewing rooms and stations for small groups and individuals, and networked microcomputer and interactive multimedia workstations. The center also maintains a number of instructional technology classrooms with special video, audio, and computer equipment for in-class presentations. Its extensive collection of international media resources serves learners at many levels and in many disciplines.

Faculty in Spanish and Portuguese work on and teach aspects of literature, culture, and linguistics. Our curriculum includes film and creative writing alongside courses in general topics of culture as well as theoretical, social, and applied linguistics.

Students can also receive support from the Spanish Writing Center.


Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.


The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


Spanish (BA)
Teaching Licensure
Honors Courses
Four-Year Graduation Plan


A Spanish Major
A Spanish Major