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J.F. Burke, MA, Ph D
Spanish is the most widely spoken language of the Americas, with 130 million speakers in North America alone, more than 400 million worldwide, and with growing numbers in Canada. It is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world, and it is the official language in 21 countries on three continents: Europe, Africa, and Latin America.
Spanish opens the door to the study of a rich range of cultural expressions in literature, film, and art, from medieval and early modern Transatlantic world, to the literary and cultural productions of contemporary Spanish and Spanish American societies. The department offers a wide selection of courses at the introductory (second year), intermediate (third year) and advanced (fourth year) level in literature, culture, and linguistics. Students are encouraged to complement and expand on the training they receive in these courses by taking courses in other academic units. By the time of their graduation, our students acquire skills to read analytically fictional and non-fictional, literary and visual texts. They thus gain a deep knowledge of Hispanic cultures, as well as the skills to reflect critically on the world in which they live.
Spanish also opens the door to the study of the Romance language family. The Department offers students the opportunity to advance their language skills through the systematic reflection on the language structure, from the sound system to the morphology and syntax. Through a variety of courses with a theoretical and experimental focus in linguistics, students acquire basic skills that can be transferred to teaching or research programs. Through collaboration with other language and linguistics programs, students are provided with opportunities and training to conduct research in linguistics with a focus on the Spanish language.
What can I do with a degree in Spanish?
Plenty! Spanish is recognized as one of the four United Nations official languages. A degree in Spanish linguistics, literature, and culture opens up career paths both domestically and internationally. The skills that students acquire through the study of Spanish and of the Spanish-speaking world either prepare them directly for or are an asset in some of the following fields:
- media, journalism, marketing, public relations;
- domestic government services and NGOs; foreign services and foreign affairs specialist; international development; political aid,
- commerce, finances, tourism, and hospitality
- post-graduate studies and academic careers; cultural work
- editing, publishing, translation, education
- library and information sciences
- careers in the health profession, including medicine, speech pathology and audiology
- computational linguistics, speech recognition, and synthesis
For the Portuguese component, see under “Portuguese Program” in this Calendar.
For further information, please contact us in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Victoria College, Room 208.
- Website: http://spanport.utoronto.ca/
- Telephone: (416) 813-4080
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies: (416) 813-4082
The Department offers Specialist, Major and Minor programs, as well as language citation certificate.
How is the program structured?
For many students, our program begins with the language sequence.
1. The Department reserves the right to place students in the language course best suited to their linguistic preparation.
2. Students who, in the department's assessment, have adequate knowledge of Spanish may be required to take Spanish literature, culture or linguistics course instead of a language course at any level.
The progression of courses in the language sequence is designed to accommodate a wide range of previous language experience. Students are placed in the appropriate language course based on their proficiency, as determined by the online placement test and departmental assessment.
Students who have studied Spanish before joining the department should take the on-line placement test by going to the following link:
Please, read carefully the instructions that explain how to take the test. The placement test can be taken only once.
If you cannot assess your placement level from the available information, please contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies and you will receive personal advice for placement in the language sequence.
Students with no previous knowledge of Spanish: enroll in SPA100Y1.
The recommended sequence of language courses for those students who have had little or no previous training in the language is the following:
Students with previous knowledge of Spanish: take the placement test.
Students who have studied Spanish before joining the department may enroll in several courses – beginners’, intermediate or advanced – depending on their background and their level of preparation. This includes those students who have traveled or lived briefly in the Spanish-speaking world.
The recommended sequence of language courses for those students who join the department having mastered a beginner’s level of Spanish, including those who successfully completed SPA100Y1, is the following:
The recommended sequence of language courses for those students who join the department having mastered an intermediate level of Spanish, including those who have successfully completed SPA220Y1, is the following:
Native or bilingual speakers of Spanish:
Those students who have native fluency in Spanish because they have had a life-long exposure to spoken Spanish in an informal context (i.e., those who have lived in a Spanish-speaking country, or those who live in a Spanish-speaking family) – should enroll in SPA219Y1. Students who qualify for this course have distinctly different learning needs than those students who learned Spanish as a foreign language. They have a native knowledge of the language and are able to understand and speak Spanish, but they have had little or no exposure to written Spanish. The recommended language sequence for such students is the following: SPA219Y1 > SPA420H1
Students who have completed the equivalent of a high school degree or higher level of education in a Spanish-speaking country can skip the language sequence. However, if they have not studied descriptive grammar, they should enroll in SPA420H1. Please consult the Undergraduate Coordinator for placement advice.
Fluent (native) speakers of Spanish who have received high school degree, or a higher level of education in the Spanish language, and who in the department's assessment do not need further training in language, may enroll immediately in any literature, culture or linguistics course.
Throughout the language sequence, stress is laid both on the cultural component of language acquisition and on the range of practical applications to which both the spoken and the written language may be put. Courses in business Spanish and in the structure of the Spanish language provide an array of possible options for students in the upper years.
Literature, culture and linguistics courses:
Students are encouraged to enroll early on in their academic career in several second-year courses as they transition from the language sequence (SPA219Y1 / SPA220Y1 / SPA320Y1) into the third and fourth-year courses in literature, culture, and linguistics.
SPA258H1 is a foundational course for the students who plan to pursue a major or a specialist degree in Spanish. While permitting students to advance their skills in reading and composition, this course also introduces information literacy, and the terms and methods of literary analysis through the study of a wide selection of brief literary texts. Intermediate level students (SPA220Y1) who are comfortable reading short texts, and who have well-developed writing and speaking skills for the intermediate level, may take that course while enrolled in SPA220Y1 (preferable in their second semester of SPA220Y1). Others should complete SPA220Y1 before taking SPA258H1.
The other courses offered in the 200-series (SPA221H1 and SPA259H1) are not required for a Specialist or Major degree but are recommended for students who need to hone their language skills before advancing to the upper-level literature, culture and linguistics courses.
SPA259H1 is a course that introduces students to the techniques of cultural analysis. Although not a degree requirement, this course is a popular option for students enrolled in the program. It has the same language requirements as SPA258H1 (students can take it either while enrolled in SPA220Y1, or upon completion of SPA220Y1).
Following the language sequence, and upon successfully completing SPA258H1, students pursuing a specialist and major degrees will fulfill in the due course of their university career the remaining degree requirements:
- One-half course in Hispanic linguistics from the 300/400 series
- One-half course in Spanish peninsular literature from the 300/400 series
- One-half course in Spanish American literature from the 300/400-series
- SPA454H1 or SPA489H1
SPA420H1 (Advanced Grammar), SPA454H1 (Cervantes: Don Quixote) and SPA489H1 (Latin American Transculturations) are the capstone courses in the Spanish program. Students should plan to take these courses towards the end of their university studies, as by that time they will have acquired language fluency, and become versed in the reading of extended and complex texts in Spanish, and will have honed their skills in textual analysis.
Students should contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies early on in the course of their university career to receive advice on how to proceed with their studies and to thus assure that they can receive their degree by the time of planned graduation. For further information, please visit us in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Victoria College, Room 208.