Spanish Major/Minor

Welcome to Spanish

Our Spanish programs are designed to prepare students to be bilingual and bicultural professionals. Whether you are a Spanish language learner or a heritage speaker, we offer programs that can be tailored to your interests, including the Spanish major with concentrations in Literature and Culture, or Applied Language. We also have certificates in Business Spanish, Hispanic Literary Studies, and Translating. Beyond the classroom, study abroad opportunities in Spain and Latin America provide immersion experiences that deepen cultural literacy and linguistic proficiency. Students can also apply their Spanish language and culture skills to real-world settings through our internship and service-learning opportunities with our business and community partners in the greater Charlotte region. 

Being bilingual and bicultural is an added value to employers who seek the communication, creativity, empathy, critical thinking, and decision-making soft skills that students develop when studying languages. Our graduates establish careers in a wide range of fields including business, education, government, healthcare and legal professions. Interpreters and translators are also among the occupations with the most projected growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are some other interesting facts about Spanish: 

  • Spanish is the official language in 20 countries (plus Puerto Rico) and is the second language with most native speakers in the world 
  • Employers seek more bilingual Spanish employees than other foreign languages 
  • Spanish is the third most commonly used language on the Internet  
  • By the year 2060, the U.S. will become the second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico 

Whether you are new to the language or are interested in expanding your existing Spanish skills, we welcome all students to explore our programs.

Come explore the Spanish Program:

The Spanish Program offers you the following opportunities:

The B.A. in Spanish consists of 30 credit hours of language and content courses at the 2000 level and above, plus a one-credit hour Senior Seminar. This program allows students maximum flexibility to explore a variety of courses from across the Spanish curriculum. Starting at the 2000 level, it can also help students meet their graduation timeline. The B.A. in Spanish includes core courses (12 credit hours) in grammar, composition, and conversation, as well as electives (18 credit hours) in translation, Spanish for the professions, literature, linguistics, or culture.

For more information, see the description of the B.A. in Spanish or contact your advisors.

The B.A. in Spanish with a concentration in Applied Language is designed for students primarily interested in translation and interpreting, global business, or Spanish for the professions. It consists of 30 credit hours of language and content courses at the 3000 level and above, plus a one-credit hour Senior Seminar. After completing core courses (6 credit hours) in grammar, composition, and conversation, students then select from a variety of electives (24 credit hours) in translation and Spanish for professions such as business, health care, and criminal justice. The Concentration in Applied Language also provides course options in literature, culture, and linguistics. 

For more information, see the description of the B.A. in Spanish-Concentration in Applied Language or contact your advisors.

This concentration is designed for students primarily interested in Peninsular and Latin American literature and culture. The B.A. in Spanish with a concentration in Literature and Culture consists of 30 credit hours of language and content courses at the 3000 level and above, plus a one-credit hour Senior Seminar. After completing core course (6 credit hours) in grammar, composition, and conversation, students then select from a variety of electives (24 credit hours) on Peninsular and Latin American literature, civilization, culture, as well as options in linguistics. The Concentration in Literature and Culture is often used as a path by students to pursue teaching Spanish or graduate work after they complete their undergraduate studies. 

For more information, see the description of the B.A. in Spanish-Concentration in Literature and Culture or contact your advisors.

A Minor in Spanish consists of 15 credit hours of language and content courses at the 3000 level and above. Students must complete core courses (6 credit hours) in grammar, composition, and conversation, as well as the required Introduction to Literary Analysis (3 credit hours). After completion of the language requirements, students select from electives (6 credit hours) in literature, culture, linguistics, or Spanish for the professions.

For more information, see the description of the Spanish Minor or contact your advisors.

The undergraduate Certificate in Translating provides classroom training for students to develop their Spanish-English translation skills. Students study the history of and current issues in translation, and also complete a series of practice courses covering translation in medical, legal, and other real-world contexts. The certificate requires 12 credit hours. Majors in any field are welcome.

For more information see the description of the Certificate in Translating Spanish-English or contact the coordinator of this program, Dr. Anton Pujol.

The undergraduate Certificate in Business Spanish provides classroom training in Spanish for international business. Students are exposed to vocabulary, concepts, business culture, social, political, historical, and current issues, as they pertain to the Hispanic business world. The certificate requires 12 credit hours. Majors in any field are welcome.

For more information see the description of the Certificate in Business Spanish or contact the Coordinator of this certificate program, Prof. Shaun Stone.

The undergraduate Certificate in Hispanic Literary Studies emphasizes the study of literatures written in Spanish from Latin America and Spain within the broader context of the language and culture studied in the major.  Literature courses in Spanish enrich students’ perspectives by engaging them in the study of history, culture, and philosophy, enabling them to understand other people as well as encouraging introspection and a better understanding of the self and their place in the world. The certificate requires 15 credit hours. Majors in any field are welcome.

For more information see the description of the Certificate Hispanic Literary Studies or contact the Coordinator of this certificate, Dr. José Manuel Batista.

We work closely with the Office of Education Abroad to offer study abroad opportunities for students who are interested in strengthening their linguistic proficiency in Spanish in another country, where they will be completely immersed in the language. Students can study abroad in the fall, spring, or summer, for a semester, the entire year or even during spring break. Destinations include Spain and different countries in Latin America. 

For over 30 years, our Spanish faculty have led the Spanish Language and Culture summer program in Costa Rica, as well as the Semester in Spain program as members of the North Carolina Consortium for Study Abroad. 

The Spanish Language and Culture in Costa Rica program is offered in the summer only, typically in the month of June. It is designed for students at all levels in their Spanish studies. Students take a placement test and complete a mandatory, intensive Spanish language course as well as supplemental coursework and cultural excursions, allowing students to earn 6 credit hours. 

The Semester in Spain program is offered in the fall semester only. It is designed for students at the intermediate level or students who have just begun advanced level courses. Students complete two mandatory intensive Spanish grammar courses and two or three elective courses, allowing students to earn 12-15 credit hours that count towards the majors and minor in Spanish. 

In addition to these faculty-led programs, the Office of Education Abroad can also help students find programs in other destinations and times of the year. We encourage students to explore the diverse Spanish-speaking world.

For more information see the study abroad opportunities we offer on the website of the Office of Education Abroad and start finding YOUR PROGRAM now or contact the Spanish Program coordinator, Dr. Jeffrey Killman.

Study Abroad Scholarship

Sponsored by the UNC Charlotte Barnes & Noble Bookstore, the Study Abroad Scholarship is a financial award based on scholarly merit designed to help cover the travel expenses of our language students who choose to enrich their UNC Charlotte experience through a full learning-immersion experience in a host country of their chosen target language.

Please contact your advisor for more information and see the NinerScholars Portal.

The Yvette M. Huet Sí Se Puede Scholarship

The Yvette M. Huet Sí Se Puede Scholarship recognizes junior and senior undergraduate students who demonstrate a continued commitment to the growth, support, and empowerment of Latino/a/x communities. 

Please see the NinerScholars Portal for more information.

International Festival

The annual UNC Charlotte International Festival is centered around booths arranged in colorful marketplace style representing the cultures of over 50 nations. The booths are staffed by UNC Charlotte international students and members of Charlotte’s international community and features art, crafts and costumes from each participating country. Many booths offer international food for sale. Throughout the day the music and dance of a variety of nations are presented on indoor and outdoor stages. In addition, the International Festival, which is family-oriented, offers a number of elements such as mimes and face painting designed especially for children. The Spanish program is always well-represented at IFest with several booths representing various Latin American countries. In the past, the Spanish Club participated with a booth representing the country of Argentina. Susana Cisneros, Lecturer in Spanish, helped out during the event by providing cultural information about Argentina to event attendees, as she is a native of the country. She also facilitated the making and selling of wonderful empanadas.

Latino YES Program

In 2019, two of Professor Susana Cisneros’ Spanish students volunteered at the Latino YES program. The event, organized by Community Partnerships, hosted almost 400 Latino high school students. The two volunteers were Brianna Cullins who was completing her “Span 4410 Spanish Professional internship” and Acneer Avila was completing work for “Spanish 3409 Service Learning in the Latino Community.” Professor Susana Cisneros, who taught both students, commented, “Serving the community is my passion and integrating people from different areas of the community is something that I enjoy doing. I am aware that many Latino students do not have teachers that look like them. Often, that is why they believe it is important for them to go into teaching.”

#CMSCPFE, #LatinoYes2019

Meeting Community Leaders

Also in 2019, Professor Susana Cisneros’ students from Spanish 3409 Service Learning in the Hispanic Community, had the opportunity to meet with the Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox, at the City Council meeting. They also attended a Board of Education meeting. In this class, students are required to attend a meeting for both the Board of Education and for City Council. Before they work in community service, they need to know who is serving the community and how they are impacting the Latino community. The goal is for the students to develop a deep understanding of why they would like to be a part of the impact.

100 Years of Solitude Marathon Reading

In 2017, UNC Charlotte participated in the Live Marathon Reading of Cien años de soledad. The Department of Languages and Culture Studies at UNC Charlotte served as one of the host sites for a marathon reading of Cien años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. This event was organized by the Artist Studio Project, a collaborative of artists based in Durham, NC, whose focus is to promote each other’s talents and arts through various media forms. The reading of this work was streamed live through the project’s website and had a run time from April 17 through 21, 2017. Students and faculty at UNC Charlotte read passages from the work from a lecture hall on campus. Readings were performed in nine different languages.

Community Cultural Coffeehouse: Latino/Dreamer Immigrant Community in Charlotte

Students from UNC Charlotte and Queens University explored what it is like to grow up as a member of the Latino/Dreamer Immigrant community in Charlotte at a Community Cultural Coffeehouse event held at Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. The event allowed students to talk about the challenges, achievements and dreams while growing up as “Dreamers…Undocumented Youth Raised in the U.S.” Professor Nhora Saxon, Adjunct Instructor in Spanish, along with students in her class, “Service Learning in The Hispanic Community,” initiated the discussion and then all others in attendance were invited to share their thoughts and experiences. The event also featured live entertainment and snacks.

Poverty Simulation

In an effort to inspire her students to empathize with others, Susana Cisneros, Lecturer in Spanish, organized a poverty simulation—an interactive immersion experience that promotes poverty awareness and increased understanding—with the collaboration of Gina Esquivel, Associate Director of Programs, Education and Civic Engagement at the Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte. During the poverty simulation, students were divided into “Families” and given new identities. Using the new identities, students worked with their family members in order to “live on” an allotted amount of resources. Tables were set up around the perimeter of the room that represented the different entities that families and individuals can utilize to manage resources such as a bank, grocery store, or social services. Cisneros invited community members to participate and play the role of the people providing the resources at these tables. As an additional obstacle, the community members only spoke Spanish to the participants. This had the benefit of conveying the difficulty immigrants encounter when they arrive in a new country where people don’t speak the same language. The students, a group of forty, had to “survive” for one hour using only their allotted resources, each fifteen minutes representing one week in real life.

Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration

The Spanish program celebrates Día de los Muertos every year. In 2014, for example, students from the UNC Charlotte Spanish Club collaborated with Charlotte artist, Rosalia Torres-Weiner, for a Day of the Dead Celebration event held at the Latin American Contemporary Art Projects—a gallery established as a platform for the presentation, development and promotion of Latin American contemporary art and culture. Torres-Weiner spoke to students about the Day of the Dead Celebration, as well as explained the process and significance of the building of an altar for loved ones who have passed. The students then helped create an altar for Daniel Hassan. Mr. Hassan earned an undergraduate degree at UNC Charlotte and worked for the Department of Languages and Culture Studies as an adjunct professor before tragically passing away in April 2014. At the event, students were able to meet Mr. Hassan’s wife and his child, who is now five years old. Meeting his family helped students better represent Mr. Hassan when building the altar, which, tradition holds, must include objects representing the things he enjoyed in life. One of the objects that students placed on the altar was a potato because Mr. Hassan believed a meal was not complete unless it included potatoes. The event was free and attended by approximately 400 people including 9 students from the UNC Charlotte Spanish Club. The event included free food provided to the community, a costume contest, sugar-skull making for kids, and other performances. Overall, it was a festive event that celebrated both the lives of those who have passed away and an important tradition in Mexican culture.

CEPA: Club de Español Para Amigos

CEPA stands for Club de Español Para Amigos. Our mission is to help develop an understanding and promote enthusiasm for the various aspects of Spanish speaking culture and language. We meet every other Monday at 5:30pm! We are a group open to all UNC Charlotte students who love and enjoy the Spanish language and cultures. You do not have to speak Spanish to join! Here you will find: opportunities to practice speaking Spanish, fun and exciting events to help you get more familiar with the UNC Charlotte Spanish-speaking community, a window into the Spanish-speaking world, opportunities to volunteer in the community.

Here are some of our activities:

Selling Churros

Selling Empanadas

Learning to Dance Salsa

Face Painting

Making Day of the Dead Altars

Play Games

For a full list of recent Spanish alumni, click here.

Featured Alumni

Mariana Duran

Mariana Duran graduated in 2017 with a Major in Spanish in the Applied Language Concentration and German and a Minor in American Studies. In addition she obtained a Certificate in Translation Spanish-English, a Certificate in Translation German-English and a Certificate in Business German. Duran, who is originally from San Jose, Costa Rica, studied abroad in Berlin, Germany with the support of the prestigious German Language and Culture Foundation scholarship. After graduation she worked as a Media Center Assistant and Social Media Manager at the Spanish immersion Collinswood Language Academy and then as Media Center Assistant at Mallard Creek elementary school in Charlotte. Duran is pursuing a Masters of Library and Information Science at UNC Greensboro.

Najir Johnson

Najir Johnson graduated in May 2020 with a Major in Spanish and German. He was also awarded an undergraduate Certificate of Translation in German. Johnson joined the Honors program while becoming an Early Entry student. In fall 2020, he began his path into graduate school with his MA in Spanish while continuing with a Graduate Certificate in German Translating. Johnson wants to continue to push himself to deepen his knowledge in the field of translation and pursue a doctorate.

Daniel Vallejo Quintero

Originally from Colombia, Daniel Vallejo has made Charlotte, North Carolina his home for the last 18 years. Vallejo’s passion to become an interpreter was sparked as a young man while attending doctor appointments with his Spanish-speaking father. Vallejo graduated in 2016 with a BA in Spanish, a Certificate in Translating Spanish-English and a Certificate in Business Spanish, and he also took classes in German. After graduation, Vallejo went on to serve as interpreter in local hospitals, court rooms, behavioral health practices, and currently works as an interpreter in Charlotte.

Chance Williams

Chance Williams graduated with a BA in Spanish in the Concentration of Applied Language and a Certificate in Translation Spanish-English. He also obtained a Minor in Italian. Williams then went on to pursue a graduate degree in Spanish and graduated in 2019 with an MA in Spanish from UNC Charlotte. During his studies Williams received the inaugural Italian Language at the Leonardo Da Vinci School scholarship, funded by the Casa della Cultura Italiana. He also studied abroad in Limoges, France at the University of Limoges. Since 2018, Williams has been a Lecturer of English at the Université de Limoges, Faculté des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines.

Svanny Wong

Svanny Wong graduated with a law degree from University Simón Bolivar in her country, Colombia, where she started up a law firm specializing in family law. After her arrival in Charlotte, she volunteered at a non-profit to teach English to the Latin communities, and also volunteered with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in translations, and liaison for the Hispanic community and the police officers. Wong graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2016 receiving her B.A. in Spanish and a Certificate in Translating Spanish-Engilish. She continued at UNC Charlotte for her graduate education and obtained an MA in Spanish Language and Literature in 2017. After graduation, Wong worked as an MA Fellow in Spanish at UNC Charlotte. After completion of this one year appointment, she has been an adjunct instructor in the Department of Language and Culture Studies. She is presently pursuing her PhD in Education with an emphasis in Investigation and Educational Projects at UNC Charlotte.


Name Job Title Email
José Manuel Batista Associate Professor of Spanish
Jenn Burke Lecturer of Spanish
Susana Cisneros Senior Lecturer of Spanish
Carlos M. Coria-Sánchez Professor of Spanish
David Dalton Associate Professor of Spanish & Director of Latin American Studies
Kallie De La Cruz Instructor of Spanish
María Lorena Delgadillo Latorre Lecturer of Spanish
Paloma Fernández Sánchez Teaching Professor of Spanish
Martha Vanessa Ferretti-Alyea Graduate Teaching Assistant of Spanish
Javier García León Assistant Professor of Spanish
Concepción Godev Professor of Spanish
Jeffrey A. Killman Associate Professor & Coordinator of Spanish
Aura Lawson-Alonso Senior Lecturer of Spanish
Maryrica Ortiz Lottman Associate Professor of Spanish
Maria Mahaffey Senior Lecturer of Spanish
Christopher Mellinger Graduate Director and Associate Professor of Spanish
Olga Padilla-Falto Teaching Professor of Spanish & Coordinator of Elementary Spanish
Anton Pujol Associate Professor of Spanish
Mónica Rodríguez-Castro Associate Professor of Spanish
Shaun Stone Lecturer of Spanish
Laura Viale MA Fellow in Spanish
Sandra Watts Teaching Professor
Svanny Wong Instructor of Spanish
Sarah Wyble MA Fellow in Spanish

Explore Past Events and News about the Spanish Program