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Because of the need to compete successfully in our increasingly global environment, the study of Spanish is a popular choice for students considering a career in law, health sciences, political science, international business, economics, history or education.


Along with its American campus, Saint Louis University also has a campus in Madrid, Spain, and students are encouraged to spend a year there. Students graduate prepared for careers that make use of proficiency in Spanish or for graduate work in Spanish. Students in the graduate program can find more information in the graduate student handbook. 

Undergraduate Program Director:  Ana M. Montero, Ph.D.


Student Profile

Julia Griffin

Julia Griffin
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Majors: Spanish and Health Sciences
Minor: Biology
Favorite Spanish Class: Medical Spanish with Ms. Sarah Bauer
Career Interests: Primary Care Medicine, Global Health, Work with the Latino population
Favorite Part of the SLU Spanish Program: The abundance of opportunities to utilize my Spanish language skills outside of the classroom!

Read More About Julia

Hola! My name is Julia Griffin, and I am a senior with majors in Spanish and health sciences and a minor in biology. I am from Omaha, NE and can always be found frequenting the Latino bakeries near my grandmother’s house! Although I had studied Spanish for six years before coming to SLU, it was here that I was able to improve my proficiency, immerse myself in new cultures, increase my cultural competence, and combine my love of the language with service and medicine.

Over the past three years, I have tried to integrate Spanish into my daily life and use my skills outside of the classroom. In my first year, I volunteered at the Spanish Immersion school and served on an immersion trip in Belize addressing literacy issues. I participated on a medical and public health global brigade to Honduras where I had the opportunity to learn about the healthcare system, observe health disparities in the local villages, and work in a health clinic with Honduran physicians.

After my first year at SLU, my love of Spanish only intensified; I then lived in Spanish speaking countries for eight months of my sophomore year. I studied abroad at SLU-Madrid where I embraced the Spanish culture and traditions, made many new friends, and taught an ESL class to Spanish-speaking community members. I left Europe directly for South America as I spent the entire summer in Piura, Peru conducting an independent research project. Studying the cost, quality, and access to healthcare in Piura, I surveyed 105 medical providers and patients in eight city health centers. It was a great challenge, as all communication and research was entirely in Spanish. Upon my return to the United States, I have published my results and continue to study the Peru healthcare system. This past summer, I spent two weeks studying culture and liberation theology in Costa Rica as a Mev Puleo Scholar.

As a Jesuit-educated Billiken, I have not only strengthened my Spanish communication skills, but I have learned how to be a more culturally competent and aware student of the Spanish language and culture. The myriad of opportunities that SLU has presented me has allowed me to integrate my interests and discern my future.

Next year, I hope to be a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and be an English teaching assistant in Spain. In the future, I plan to attend medical school and utilize my Spanish skills to serve a large patient population as a primary care physician. Thanks to the SLU Spanish department and to all of the SLU international opportunities, I feel prepared to engage in foreign communities and address global health issues and disparities!

Read the Newslink Article about Julia's Experience in Peru



Spanish is one of the largest programs in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, offering courses on a wide range of topics including language, linguistics, literature and culture.

SPAN 1010: Communicating in Spanish I
Introduction to Spanish language and culture. Prepares student to operate within areas of immediate needs and simple situations.

SPAN 1020: Communicating in Spanish II
Continuation of SPAN 1010. Prepares the student to function in simple situations related to personal interests and daily life.

SPAN 2010: Intermediate Spanish: Language and Culture
Continued practice in all skills. Review of basic grammar patterns and extensive conversational practice. Introduction to Hispanic culture. Prerequisites: SPAN 1020 or equivalent.

SPAN 3010: Written Communication
Prerequisite: SPAN 2010 or equivalent
Reading and analysis of authentic language materials to develop written expression. Refining of communicative strategies for accurate expression of ideas. 

SPAN 3020: Oral Communication
Prerequisite: SPAN 2010 or equivalent
Development of fluent oral expression through communicative activities stressing listening comprehension, structural accuracy and systematic approach to vocabulary expansion. 

SPAN 3030: Advanced Written Communication
Prerequisite: SPAN 3010 and SPAN 3020 or equivalent
Continuation of SPAN 3010. Description, narration and exposition in topics of particular interest and special fields of competence. 

SPAN 3040: Advanced Oral Communication
Prerequisite: SPAN 3010 and SPAN 3020 or equivalent
Continuation of SPAN 3020. Accuracy and fluency in oral expression in topics of particular interest and special fields of competence. 

SPAN 4000: Advanced Spanish Grammar
Prerequisite: SPAN 3030 and SPAN 3040 or equivalent
The objectives of the course are to identify and describe intuitive knowledge that a native speaker of Spanish possesses and to perfect the student's knowledge of various topics of Spanish grammar by means of theoretical explanation and solving practical exercises. Assignments emphasize inductive reasoning as well as original language use.

SPAN 4050: Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
Theoretical and practical approach to Spanish phonetics and phonology from the dual perspective of the underlying representation of sound units and their pronunciation within syllables, words and phrases. Auditory comprehension and sound discrimination practice, with transcription exercises and attention to correct pronunciation.

SPAN 4090: Spanish Sociolinguistics
Prerequisites are SPAN 3030 and 3040
This course aims to develop students' abilities to notice, investigate and interpret sociolinguistic phenomena in the world around them. Topics include pragmatics, historical changes in Spanish, and dialectical variation. Discussions will center primarily but not exclusively around sociolinguistics of the Spanish-speaking world.

SPAN 4110: Language and Linguistics
An introduction to the basic concepts and application of linguistic studies, presentation and discussion of three main aspects of language: linguistic structures, language as a social dimension and language as a mirror of cognitive processes. Taught in English. 

SPAN 4130: Second Language Acquisition
This course reviews major theories about how second or foreign languages are learned and what factors influence the process. We will discuss what these theories mean to the teacher, the learner and the policy maker, and what the theories tell us about psychology and linguistics. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4160: Business and Professional Spanish
Application of language skills and cultural awareness to specific business and professional practices. This course counts toward credit in the minor and major field.

SPAN 4180: Spanish Culture and Civilization
Presentation and discussion of significant cultural, social, economic and political events and issues that have shaped Spain: its institutions, its cultural and artistic developments.

SPAN 4190: Three in One: The Hispanic Experience
This course provides an understanding of the language variation, value systems, religious beliefs and assumptions about reality of Hispanic culture in its three manifestations: modern day Spain, Latin America and the Hispanic groups in the United States.

SPAN 4200: Introduction to Spanish Literature
Prerequisite: SPAN 3030 and SPAN 3040
This introduction to Hispanic literature will examine the different genres and representative texts to enable the students to acquire a working knowledge both of the literary history of the genres and the analysis of literary texts in Spanish.

SPAN 4240: Short Stories: History, Histories
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course explores the most recent Latin American societies through the lens of short stories, short narrations and cultural production. This class’s approach works to bridge literary texts with cultural production in order to allow for a comprehensive view of the contemporary historical life. The authors’ work is explored in their complexity to see how historical development and culture transform and affect people’s lives. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4250: Early Latin American Short Story
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This is a survey course that examines a generous selection of classic Latin American short stories (1839-1945). The texts are considered in the context of the complex cultural transformations that swept Latin American society from Independence to the Second World War. Literary texts are also discussed in relation to other cultural materials (movies, art, music). Texts and materials are organized around five different topics: Between tradition and politics; the violence of history; the many faces of modernity; critical realisms; and founders of the present.

SPAN 4260: Latin American “Modernism”
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Survey course that examines the literary expressions of the debate on Modernity and Modernization in Latin America in the period 1820-1920. Topics such as national identity, the creation of modern cities, the education of women and the role of minorities will be examined through an anthology of short stories, articles, poems, essays and comics.

SPAN 4270: Contemporary Latin American Poetry
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Survey course that analyzes a representative group of Latin American poets. Main themes and formal characteristics of these authors will be discussed.

SPAN 4280: Early Latin American Novel
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course discusses crucial cultural concerns of nineteenth-century Latin America through a socio-historical examination of novels written after Independence. Special attention will be given to the construction of social norms, the creation of cultural institutions, and the role of identity within the formation of new national cultures.

SPAN 4290: Boom, Mass Media and Utopia
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course discusses the Latin American narratives and essays and the birth of media culture in Latin America. The cultural production discussed is implied in the political context of the so-called cold war. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4300: Latin American Thinkers
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Systematic analysis of predominant themes among current Latin American thinkers.

SPAN 4310: Contemporary Latin American Drama
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Survey course that analyzes the development of Latin American theater through the Twentieth Century. Different schools and trends will be discussed. Occasionally this course will focus on specific issues or group authors (i.e. women playwrights, etc.).

SPAN 4320: Afro-Hispanic Literature
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course examines the literary contributions of Afro-Hispanic writers from Spanish America and Equatorial Guinea in order to discuss the complexity of the African experience in the Spanish-speaking world from the colonial period to the 21st Century. In addition to the discussion of race and class issues, the class focuses on the subject of Canon formation and Canon exclusion in order to bridge the real and imagined gaps between Afro-Hispanic literature and that written by canonized writers in Spanish America and Spain.

SPAN 4330: Narratives on the End of Utopias
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course examines recent Latin American trends that broke up the traditional canon of novel and literary conceptions based on Modernist culture. Categories based on hegemonic discourse and hierarchies are debated. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4350: Latin American Testimony
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course examines the diverse strategies used by Latin American testimonial literature to interpret today’s realities. Through the analysis of testimonials, the students will develop an understanding of the complexity of Latin American culture and society.

SPAN 4350/5350: Counter Hegemony Discourses
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course bridges Latin American literary and cultural productions that confront the use and abuse of local and international power. Voiceless people speak about their disenchanted life.

SPAN 4360: Women’s Literature in Latin America
This course introduces the students to the work of Latin American women writers from the Colonial period to the Twentieth-Century. The discussion will focus on the history of women’s education, concepts of beauty, the role of women in the society and the construction of women’s identity. Prerequisite: SPAN 4200.

SPAN 4370: Latin American Literature and Film
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Survey course that examines the relationship between some masterpieces of contemporary Spanish American Literature and their adaptations into film by some of the major directors of Latin American cinema.

SPAN 4380: Cultural Stereotypes: Latin America
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
This course is an interdisciplinary approach which confronts stereotypes about Latin American cultures. It involves a vast array of experiences that has established differences, stigmas, and marginalization of Latin Americans. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4390: Contemporary Spanish Women Writers
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
On the edges of the canon. Introduction to a century of women’s writings from the “Generation of ‘27” to present day authors. Analysis of novels and short stories by contemporary women writers of Spain.

SPAN 4400: Strangers in a Familiar Land: Displacements in Latin America
This class discusses literature, films, documentaries and paintings that portray Latin American displacement after 1950. The approach offers a multidisciplinary view of the diverse participants in Latin American realities. We debate the dynamic of border crossing in the global era, specifically with respect to refugees, exiles, excluded and missing people.

SPAN 4410: Spanish Literary Culture
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
History of the merger of Christian, Arabic and Jewish influences on Spanish literary culture.

SPAN 4420 The Short Story in Medieval Spain: Fear, Education and Humor
Required: SPAN 4200
This course explores short narrative types and their functions during the thirteenth century up to the sixteenth century in Spain. Topics to cover are: the interplay of different cultures, gender roles, ideological uses, and differences between medieval and contemporary short narratives. All texts are provided in modern Spanish.

SPAN 4430: Cantar De Mio Cid, Libro de Buen Amor and La Celestina
Close reading and discussion of three medieval Spanish masterpieces, which have remained modern throughout the ages. Insight into social, historical, literary and creative issues.

SPAN 4440: Towards the Sentimental Novel: The Mystic, The Individual and The Lover in Medieval Spain
Required: SPAN 4200
This course explores different ways of conceptualizing and talking of and through love by means of a selection of texts inherited from medieval Spain. The student will be exposed to mystic love, passionate love, anti-feminist discourses, medical notions, etc.

SPAN 4540: Golden Age Drama
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
The Spanish theatre of the 16th and 17th centuries. Analysis of the works of Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and Pedro Calderón de la Barca.

SPAN 4560: Don Quixote
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
A close reading and analysis of Cervantes’s masterpiece. Focus on its significance for modern fiction. The concept of the hero and the concept of the plot.

SPAN 4590: Spanish Jewry in Medieval Spain: Life under Islam and Christianity
Prerequisites: SPAN 3030 and SPAN 3040
Expulsion and diaspora from 1492 until 1700. Medieval Spanish Jewish life under Islam and Christianity. Cultural and literary exchanges among the three groups. The tragic events of 1391. Expulsion, 1492. Forced Baptisms of Portugal, 1497. Converso life in Iberia and the New World. Sephardi life in the Diaspora. Fulfills the cultural diversity requirement.

SPAN 4610: Spanish Romanticism
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Doctrinaire romanticism compared and contrasted with authentic Spanish romanticism.

SPAN 4620: 19th-Century Spanish Novel
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Costumbrism, naturalism and social revolution in Fernán Caballero, José María de Pereda, Emilia Pardo Bazán, Juan Valera, Benito Pérez Galdós, Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, and Leopoldo Alas.

SPAN 4660: Generation of  ‘98
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Modernism, politics, and language in major contemporary prose fiction writers: Miguel de Unamuno, Pío Baroja, Ramón del Valle-Inclán, Gabriel Miró, Ramón Pérez de Ayala, and Ramón Gómez de la Serna.

SPAN 4670: 20th-Century Spanish Thought
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Major contributors to contemporary Spanish social, philosophical, political and literary thought: Miguel de Unamuno, José Ortega y Gasset and F.X. Zubiri, P. Laín Entralgo.

SPAN 4680: Contemporary Spanish Short Stories
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
In-depth analysis of short stories by Bécquer, Alas, Pardo Bazán, Valle-Inclán, Salinas, and Benet, among others.

SPAN 4700: 20th-Century Spanish Poetry
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Antonio Machado, Juan Ramon Jiménez, Pedro Salinas, Aleixandre, Federico García Lorca, and Blas de Otero: Nuances of existential dilemmas.

SPAN 4710: 20th-Century Spanish Novel
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Ideology and literature in selected novels by Camilo José Cela, Carmen Laforet, Ramón J. Sender, Juan Goytisolo, Elena Quiroga, A.M. Matute, Miguel Delibes and Luis Martín-Santos.

SPAN 4720: 20th-Century Spanish Drama
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Themes and aesthetics of Alejandro Casona, Federico García Lorca, Alfonso Sastre, F. Arrabal, and Buero Vallejo.

SPAN 4730 16th and 17th-Century Spanish Prose
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
A Study of prose works from Spanish Golden Age (16th-17th centuries). Analysis of works by Jorge de Montemayor, Teresa de Avila, María de Zayas, Miguel de Cervantes and the anonymous author of Lazarillo de Tormes. Taught in Spanish.

SPAN 4740: Peninsular Spanish Poetry 1965-Present
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Study of a selection of the most representative poetic production in Spain from 1965 to present time: novísimos, postnovísimos, el boom femenino, poesía de la experiencia.

SPAN 4750: Spanish Novel after 1970
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Study of the most significant directions to the Spanish novel from 1970 to the present day. Change and continuity in society and the novel.

SPAN 4770: Spanish Women Poets
Prerequisite: SPAN 4200
Historical analysis and literary interpretation of a representative selection of modern and contemporary Spanish women poets. Authors: Carolina Coronado, Rosalía de Castro, Concha Zardoya, Gloria Fuertes, María Victoria Atencia.

SPAN 4800 From Barrios to Borderlands: Reading Contemporary Latino/a Literature
Prerequisite for Spanish majors: SPAN 4200
This course will provide students with an introduction to the major literary works and themes characterizing Latino/a literary production in the United States from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Course will be conducted in English. Spanish majors will do written work in Spanish.

SPAN 4880: Senior Inquiry: Research Project

SPAN 4890: Senior Inquiry: Comprehensive Examination

SPAN 4930: Special Topics

SPAN 4950: Senior Residency
Required for graduating seniors.

SPAN 4980: Advanced Independent Study