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Guide to Studying Hispanic Studies

By Dr Nicholas, Senior Lecturer; Head of the Department of Hispanic Studies at Durham University.

La Paz © aarstudio
© aarstudio - Fotolia
                                  La Paz, Bolivia

What is Hispanic Studies?

  • Spanish is the official language of 20 countries across Europe, the Americas, and Africa, and is the world’s second most widely spoken first language, with almost 500 million native speakers, including 13% of the population of the USA.
  • It is also one of the six official languages of the UN.
  • Studying Spanish is not simply about studying Spain. Far from it. Hispanic Studies opens up a world community whose place in both history and the future, in cultural, political, and linguistic terms, cannot be underestimated.

Specific or general skills developed

  • During a Hispanic Studies degree you will gain not only an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the incredible variety of the Hispanic world, in both linguistic and cultural terms, but also skills of research, analysis, critical thinking, and the redaction of often complex ideas.
  • The teaching typically comes in the form of lectures and seminars, and assessment usually consists of coursework essays and timed examinations.

Why study Hispanic Studies

  • When you study Hispanic Studies you are entering into a rich and varied world of language and culture. You will learn to express yourself convincingly in written and oral forms, gaining a firm understanding of how the language works, its idioms, and its variety, being exposed to the Spanish spoken in many different countries.
  • You will also engage in depth with the cultural production of the many countries where Spanish is spoken, from Spanish Golden Age Theatre to twenty-first century Venezuelan poetry, to take two examples from Durham University’s range of options.
  • In departments across the UK you will have the chance to study areas such as literature, cinema, visual culture, translation, and linguistics, all of which are typically located in their historical, social, and political contexts.
  • In addition, you will also spend the third year of your degree living and working/studying in a Spanish-speaking country.
Streets and river of Petrópolis, Brazil © jantima
© jantima – Fotolia
Streets and river of Petrópolis, Brazil

What degree can I get? 

Degrees involving Hispanic Studies include:

  • BA in Modern Languages and Cultures
  • BA in European Languages and History (specialising in Spanish as a single language)
  • BA in Combined Honours

What qualifications do I need?

  • Always check the specific entry requirements for the university/course you are interested in, as it varies depending on the institution.

Use our Course Chooser to search through Hispanic Studies courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Durham University, for example, offers MAs in Medieval & Early Modern Studies, Translation Studies, and Culture and Difference.

Graduate job prospects

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*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities

  • Modern languages and cultures graduates embark on a wide range of rewarding careers in translating, interpreting, teaching, publishing, business, banking, law, and many other areas.
  • Hispanic Studies in particular opens up job opportunities with the many organisations that work in Latin America, and is an advantage for those wishing to work in the USA.
Ceramic mosaic Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain. © Vladitto
© Vladitto – Fotolia
Ceramic mosaic Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain