Spanish and Portuguese Studies at UMass Amherst is a diverse and inclusive community of teachers, scholars, and students. Our passion for the languages, literatures, and cultures of the Hispanic and Lusophone world is what brings us together. We believe that the study of the diverse cultural heritage of the Spanish and Portuguese speakers in the Americas, Europe, and Africa, including the Latino communities of the United States and Canada, opens an alternative path to a global view of the world that is a fundamental component of a well-rounded education.
Our Undergraduate Programs in Spanish and Portuguese Studies combine the study of language with literature, culture, and linguistics. We offer elementary, intermediate, and advanced language classes, Spanish and Portuguese for business as well as for the medical and service professions. Our undergraduate students can choose from different international programs, and complete their major and minor requirements by studying abroad. Over the course of the academic year we organize a wide array of activities, including conversation hours for students of Spanish, Portuguese, and Catalan, Film Festivals, and talks given by exciting guest speakers. We also offer an Undergraduate Research Program and other opportunities for professional development .
Our Graduate Programs lead towards M.A., M.A.T, and Ph.D. degrees. Our M.A. is geared towards recent graduates and professionals seeking to further their knowledge of, and enhance their professional opportunities in, the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world. The M.A.T. program aims to prepare future teachers to obtain a teaching licensure. Our Ph.D. is for those interested in becoming higher-education teachers and scholars. The doctoral program has five different concentrations, offering the opportunity to specialize in Iberian Studies, Hispanic Linguistics, Latin American and Latina/o Literatures and Cultures, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Translation in the Hispanic and Lusophone World.
About Spanish at UMass Amherst
A major in Spanish, one of the most widely spoken languages globally, provides the student not only with the communication skills, but also with an integrative and cross-disciplinary exposure to a wide variety of literatures and cultures within the Spanish-speaking world: the regions of Spain influenced by Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions, the many countries of Latin America where European, African and Amerindian peoples interacted to form rich and complex cultures, and the Latino communities in the United States and Canada with their rapidly growing populations and increasing prominence.
The faculty is fully committed to passing on to students the intellectual benefits to be gained from comprehensive knowledge of these diverse cultures, which have contributed greatly to the ideas, values and accomplishments that have profoundly shaped the global community.
About Portuguese at UMass Amherst
Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world. It is the language of over 200 million people in many different countries, such as Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor, and parts of India and China. Portuguese is the language of Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago and of Machado de Assis, the most famous Brazilian writer. It's also the language of world-famous Brazilian musicians, sports figures, and film-makers.
There are important communities of Portuguese speakers in various regions of the United States. Luso-Americans (Americans with Portuguese, Brazilian or Luso-African origin) can be found in all states and there are sizable Luso-American communities in Massachusetts (where Portuguese is the second most widely spoken language after English, by som 700,000 speakers), and also in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Delaware and Virginia.
About Catalan at UMass Amherst
Catalan is one of the four largest languages of Spain (together with Castilian, Euskera, and Galician). It's the national and official language of Andorra and co-official language of Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. It is also spoken without official recognition in Southern France, in Aragon (in La Franja) and in the Italian island of Sardinia (in the city of Alghero). About 10 million people speak Catalan.
Our Minor in Catalan Stduies offers an oportunity to reflect upon the multiculturalism of Spain. Spain is not one, but multiple, and Catalan is an important aspect of its culture. Even for students who focus exclusively on improving their competence in Spanish, a first-hand encounter with a non-Castilian culture enhances their understanding of Spanish society and history.
Furthermore, Catalan is an important tool for students who are specializing in Romance literatures. In the Middle Ages, Catalan was a closely related to Occitan; the vehicle for the poetry of the troubadours. To students of Hispanic linguistics the knowledge of another Iberian language allows them to undertake research projects that compare and contrast different structures of those languages.