Brigham Young University Homepage

Undergraduate Catalog

2012 - 2013

Spanish and Portuguese

David P. Laraway, Chair
3190 JFSB, (801) 422-3807

College of Humanities Advisement Center
1175 JFSB, (801) 422-4789

Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are open enrollment. However, special limitations apply for teaching and translation majors.

The Discipline

The Spanish and Portuguese languages and literatures dominate the Iberian Peninsula, major parts of Africa, and the southern portion of the New World from Mexico to the Magellan Straits. These languages, spoken by over 450 million people in twenty-one countries, provide a wide spectrum of cultural, linguistic, and literary variety. Spanish and Portuguese boast vibrant literatures that stand at the forefront of twentieth-century excellence and innovation, a linguist's paradise of dialects, rapid change, and development.

Such breadth—plus some 35 million speakers within the borders of the United States itself—gives multiple opportunities for developing skill in the spoken language, as well as in listening, reading, writing, and translation. Studying the Iberian roots of this large and important part of the population and learning about the people's perception of life also brings greater understanding of their values and their struggle for identity. A Spanish or Portuguese major makes for a demanding, intriguing, and pleasurable experience.

Career Opportunities

The field of teaching has always provided good employment opportunities for Spanish majors. In addition, opportunities for both Spanish and Portuguese have been found in government service (translation, U.S. State Department, CIA, FBI, Border Patrol, Peace Corps, NSA, USIA), business, social work, airlines, banking, etc. Many majors go on to professional schools (law, medicine, dentistry, business, etc.), where a liberal arts background is advised. For employment in fields other than teaching, a strong minor or a second major in the employment area is strongly encouraged. Teaching majors are required to complete a teaching minor.

General Information

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese strongly recommends that StDev 317, a 1-credit-hour course, be taken at the end of the sophomore year or the beginning of the junior year. Because liberal arts degrees provide preparation in a variety of useful fields rather than a single career track, this course is recommended to help liberal arts students focus on specific educational and occupational goals and to identify the career options or educational opportunities available to them. The course will introduce them to the resources needed for accessing information about graduate schools, internships, careers, and career development. Students will learn basic employment strategies, including the steps necessary for obtaining employment related to their own specialty.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The university core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (See University Core for details. For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see the current class schedule.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

Students should see their college advisement center for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.


Graduate Programs and Degrees

    MA in Portuguese
    MA in Spanish
    MA in Language Acquisition (Spanish and Portuguese)

For more information see the BYU 2012–2013 Graduate Catalog.

General Information

Spanish Resource Center

164 University Parkway Center, (801) 378-8107
E-mail: sp-rescenter@email.byu.edu

The Ministry of Education and Culture of Spain, in connection with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling (CITES), operates the Spanish Resource Center (Centro de Recursos). The purpose of the center is to provide an ample supply of books, computer programs, and didactic materials, both printed and audiovisual, related to the teaching of Spanish language and literature. Researchers, professors, students, educational institutions, coordinators, administrators, and in general all those who may be interested in the knowledge and promotion of Spanish are welcome. To increase the prestige of the Spanish language academically as well as socially, the Spanish Resource Center

  • sponsors workshops, seminars, and work groups on topics related to teaching Spanish and researching linguistics and literature;
  • organizes conferences, film series, recitals, and cultural activities in general that relate to the Spanish language and culture; and
  • promotes and participates in all initiatives that are deemed appropriate and that favor acquisition and use of the Spanish language by students at different educational levels.

Foreign Language Student Residence

The Foreign Language Student Residence provides live-in opportunities for students in Spanish and Portuguese. A twenty-four-hour-a-day Spanish or Portuguese rule assures participants intensive use of the language, under the direction of native speakers. See the department secretary at 3190 JFSB or Foreign Language Housing at 3086 JFSB for information.

Language Skills Development

A program to improve and monitor all language skills at each level of course work has been developed by the department, and a final oral proficiency examination is required of all graduating seniors. Writing skills in Spanish or Portuguese courses will advance from writing exercises and short messages in 100-level courses to original short themes in 200-level classes. Papers in the language at the 300-level and more extensive research and vocabulary and full control of structures at the 400-level will complete the program.

Minor, Double Major, or Approved Supporting Course Work Required for Spanish or Portuguese Majors

All Spanish and Portuguese majors are required to complete either a minor (from any department in the university), 15 hours of approved supporting course work, or a double major.

Nonteaching majors who do not wish to complete a formal minor may substitute at least 15 hours of courses from among the following related fields: a second modern foreign language (upper-division courses only), Latin, Greek, English (beyond the GE requirement), linguistics, classical civilization, Latin American history or geography, Spanish/Portuguese history or geography, humanities, archaeology of Spain/Portugal or Latin America, comparative literature, or other areas approved by the department chair.

Nonteaching and nontranslation majors also may meet their minor requirement by completing 15 additional hours consisting of elective Spanish/Portuguese courses or (strongly recommended) a combination of Spanish/Portuguese electives and interdisciplinary work. In all cases these courses must form a coherent program and must be preapproved by the department chair.

A double major is an acceptable alternative to a minor.

Foreign Residency

The department strongly recommends that all majors participate in an extended (at least two continuous months) and intensive language and culture experience in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country or area.

A student should complete this requirement by:

  1. Residency abroad (may include a Spanish or Portuguese LDS mission, attendance at a foreign university, an advanced exchange program, or similar intensive foreign residence).
  2. Participating in BYU Study Abroad Programs in Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.
  3. Participating in individual or group-arranged internship programs abroad as approved by the department.

Students unable to participate in one of these programs must spend at least one year (two semesters) in the Foreign Language Student Residence, pledging to use only Spanish or Portuguese within the residence. Prerequisite to this experience is Span 205 or Port 201 or its equivalent; any exceptions must be approved by the department. For further information contact the department secretary or the Foreign Language Student Residence Office, 3086 JFSB, (801) 422-3765.