Spanish Language School: Overview of Courses and Degree Options

There are both degree and non-degree programs available in the Spanish language. Students can choose between schools based on their reasons for learning the language.

Students wishing to study Spanish can choose a Spanish language program that is geared toward those who want to learn the language for recreational or professional development purposes, or they can enroll in a program that leads to an undergraduate or graduate degree in Spanish. Learn about some schools that offer these programs and some considerations to help select the right school for your goals.

10 Spanish Language Schools

The following 4-year schools offer degree programs in the Spanish language:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)*
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 4-year, private not-for-profit Certificate,
University of California - Berkeley Berkeley, CA 4-year, public Bachelor's,
$13,431 (In-state)
$38,139 (Out-of-state)
Boston University Boston, MA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, public Bachelor's,
$10,002 (In-state)
$28,804 (Out-of-state)
Brown University Providence, RI 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's,
University of Washington Seattle, WA 4-year, public Bachelor's,
$11,839 (In-state)
$34,143 (Out-of-state)
George Washington University Washington, District of Columbia 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's $50,435
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, public Bachelor's,
$13,560 (In-state)
$36,360 (Out-of-state)
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX 4-year, public Bachelor's,
$7,259 (In-state)
$19,159 (Out-of-state)
Pacific Lutheran University Tacoma, WA 4-year, private not-for-profit Bachelor's $37,950

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when selecting a Spanish language school:

  • Students should make sure that the program provides an education consistent with their career goals. Non-degree programs are available for those who only want a working knowledge of the language for professional purposes, while full degree programs provide a more comprehensive education in the field.
  • Students looking at full degree programs may want to look into study abroad opportunities in Spain, Central America or South America offered through the school.
  • It may be helpful to find out whether the school provides students with access to language learning lab facilities and/or software programs.
  • Prospective graduate students may want to make sure that there are faculty members at the school with whom they share research interests.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

In Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Spanish programs, students take courses in Spanish language, literature, culture and history. They are also usually required to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country. For students who want to become Spanish teachers, there are some schools that provide Bachelor of Arts in Education (BAE) in Spanish programs, which include Spanish courses and teacher training that leads to an endorsement and/or teaching license.

Master's Degree Programs

Like bachelor's degree programs, Master of Arts (MA) in Spanish programs include coursework in the linguistic and cultural aspects of Spanish, but usually at a more advanced level. They may also include study abroad options, and some are available in alternative scheduling formats. Master of Science (MS) programs focus more heavily on academic research and culminate in a master's thesis.

Doctoral Degree Programs

PhD in Spanish programs are available for individuals who want to pursue positions as university professors. They give students the chance to focus their studies on either Spanish linguistics, literature or culture and produce a high-level dissertation in that interest area. At most schools, PhD students are also required to gain teaching experience.

Non-Degree Programs

For individuals who want to learn Spanish for work, travel or personal enrichment, many colleges and universities offer non-degree programs to community members. Depending on their experience, students can usually choose between beginning, intermediate and advanced courses, which generally cover basic reading, writing and conversational skills. Most classes are offered over the course of several months, but a few are provided in intensive immersion formats where the curriculum is packed into a one week period.

Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the Spanish language are available at public and private schools across the country for students interested in studying the language. Non-degree language-learning opportunities are also available.

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