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Main office:
416 Herter Hall


About the Department

Undergraduate Program

Graduate Program


About the Department


The Spanish and Portuguese programs are designed to enable students to attain the linguistic, cultural and literary knowledge necessary to understand the Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds. Acquaintance with the many forms of culture of these worlds and their languages has become essential in this age of global communications and the internationalization of economic, political, cultural and social life. Moreover, the study and appreciation of the diverse and dynamic cultural heritage of the hundreds of millions of Spanish and Portuguese speakers in the Americas, Europe and Africa, including the various Latino communities in the United States, have intrinsic value and are central to a comprehensive liberal arts education.

Undergraduate Program


Spanish and Portuguese combines strong academic programs with personalized advising to attract a rapidly growing number of majors and minors. Spanish is a particularly popular choice of today's students. Many also work toward dual degrees, combining a major in Spanish or Portuguese with majors in a wide variety of fields. With careful planning, most students find ample time to fulfill requirements for a double major. For majors with regional or global interests, additional certificate work in Latin American Studies or International Relations is an attractive option.

General information

Besides offering an array of language, literature, and culture courses, the department hosts numerous activities for its majors throughout the year. These include a beginning-of-year reception, career and study abroad nights, and an end-of-year reception and awards ceremony for graduating majors. The Spanish Club, open to all students, promotes movies, dinners, and other opportunities to hear and speak Spanish.

Study abroad is also an important component of undergraduate study, with most majors and minors arranging to participate in a semester- or year-long program. The department offers a summer program in Salamanca, Spain; a spring semester program in Oviedo, Spain; a fall semester program in Granada, Spain; and a January program in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Career Opportunities

Spanish and Portuguese majors develop foreign language skills that are increasingly in demand in today's global economy. University graduates hold a variety of positions in a wide range of fields but most have found employment in one of the following areas:

With Spanish now the foreign language of choice for the majority of U.S. schoolchildren, there is a growing demand for Spanish graduates certified to teach. Some graduates also find career opportunities in English as a Second Language (ESL) or Bilingual Education. Elementary teachers in schools with large concentrations of Hispanic/Latino students find their knowledge of Spanish helpful in teaching youngsters not yet proficient in English. Do you want to be a Spanish teacher? Apply to the Spanish Secondary Teaching Education Program.

Banking and Financial Services
The explosion of international business activity has led to a tremendous need for many banks to hire bi- or multilingual overseas representatives and international officers, and for domestic banks to hire similarly skilled staff to assist non-English-speaking customers.

Government Jobs
Many UMass graduates work for the local, state or federal government as administrators, teachers, counselors, and social workers. Foreign language skills are essential for a wide range of federal government positions, especially in the State Department, the International Communication Agency, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Naturalization Services, the Peace Corps, Head Start, the Office of Economic Opportunity, and VISTA.

Other Fields
Many graduates of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese bring skills gained from study and their experiences abroad to such fields as social work, international law and other areas of the legal profession, the print and broadcast media, health care services, advertising and sales, publishing, translating, travel and tourism, teaching and research at colleges and universities, and consulting firms.


Program Advisor:
Jose Ornelas
422 Herter Hall

Graduate Program


In the context of the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, the graduate programs in Spanish and Portuguese promote the study of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds, while upholding a deep commitment to fostering cultural and intellectual diversity. Within broad course offerings leading to M.A. and PhD degrees, students are encouraged to pursue their particular interests under the guidance of a diverse and dedicated faculty.


Graduate Program Director:
Barbara Zecchi
419 Herter Hall


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