Hispanic Studies, BA

The demographic, economic and political realities of the United States, the articulation of a mainstream English culture with an ever-increasing diversity of Hispanic and Latino cultures, and the ongoing forging of strong cultural and economic ties throughout the Americas, have moved Spanish out of the bounds of the category of "foreign" language and culture in the United States. Culture is the controlling category in this field; the program is orientated to the knowledge generated by new disciplines such as cultural studies, new historicism, ethics and postcolonial studies. The major in Hispanic Studies orients itself to the types of knowledge generated by new disciplines such as cultural studies, new historicism, ethics, and postcolonial studies. In order to reflect these changing realities, the Department of Romance Languages has changed the name of its Spanish concentration from "Spanish" to "Hispanic Studies."

Hence, the knowledge of Spanish culture gives students much more than the ability to communicate in the third-most-spoken language of the world. It prepares them to account for an entirely different national, continental and global reality in all its complexity.

Majors in Hispanic Studies are overwhelmingly double majors. This means that they bring to their classes a dialogic perspective that engages in the study of Hispanic cultures informed by interest in other fields such as history, government, sociology, economics, medicine, and law. The richness and depth of these interests make for lively and intellectually rewarding classroom discussions.

The minimum total course units for graduation in this major is 32. Double majors may entail more course units.

All courses must be at or above the 2000 level.

For information about the General Education requirements, please visit the College of Arts & Sciences Curriculum page.

College General Education Requirements and Free Electives
Foundational Approaches + Sectors1 + Free Electives20
Major Requirements
Core Requirement 2
SPAN 1200Advanced Spanish II: Grammar and Composition1
SPAN 1800Contexts of Hispanic Culture and Civilization1
or SPAN 1900 Ways of Reading
2000 or 3000 Level Courses
Select three 2000 or 3000 Level courses3
3000 Level Courses
Select seven 3000 Level courses 37
Research Requirement
Research Requirement must be completed in the Department at Penn
Total Course Units32

You may count no more than one course toward both a Major and a Sector requirement. For Exceptions, check the Policy Statement.


Must be taken in the Department at Penn.


At least 3 course units must be taken in the Department at Penn.


Must have minimum 3.5 GPA in the major and a GPA of 3.3 overall.

SPAN 4000Honors Thesis 11.0

Must be completed in the Department at Penn.


The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2024 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.