Spanish at Swarthmore

Spanish is the official language of 20 countries and is spoken by close to 500 million people around the world. With more than 50 million native speakers and second-language speakers, the United States now has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico.

Built on a solid competence in Spanish language, the major and minor develop students’ skills in critical analysis and provide an understanding of the literatures and cultures of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Latinos in the United States.

 The curriculum is organized in three tiers:

  • Spanish language sequence: Our intensive language courses give students ample opportunity for practice, encouraging the development of communicative proficiency and cultural competency. With two instructors per language class, we are able to expose students to different accents and teaching styles while fostering an active and rewarding learning experience.
  • Introductory courses: Our writing courses enable students to move toward writing proficiency in Spanish and provide a panoramic view of the literary and cultural histories of the Hispanic world. 
  • Advanced courses and seminars explore specific trends and topics pertaining to the literatures and cultures of Spain, Mexico and Central America, South America, and the Hispanic Caribbean as well as those of Latino/a communities in the United States.

With the goal of enabling students to communicate fluently in Spanish, we base our curriculum upon a linguistic and pedagogical continuum beginning at the elementary language level and culminating in the most advanced courses and Honors seminars.

One of the strengths of the Spanish Program lies in its scope, which is both geographical and chronological, offering courses on literatures of the 19th-, 20th- and 21st-centuries as well as that of Early Modern Spain and Colonial Latin America.

Given their interdisciplinary nature, our introductory and upper level courses are compatible with course studies in black studies, comparative literature, interpretation theory, gender and sexuality studies, and Latin American studies, among others.

The Spanish Program provides a strong foundation for graduate studies in Spanish and Latin American literatures. Our students have been highly successful in pursuing careers in a wide range of disciplines: education, medicine, law, business, and nonprofit sectors, to name a few.