Spanish Major/Minor

Welcome to Spanish

Learning Spanish is one of the smartest things you could do in our global  world. More than 400 million people, which is about 6% of the world’s population, speak Spanish as their mother tongue. Spanish is the second most commonly spoken language. It is spoken in 20 different countries and in the US it is the most popular choice for a second language. Especially as a person living in the US it is useful to learn Spanish as analysts estimate that in 2060 the Latino population will be close to 130 million. The US would then be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world ahead of Mexico even. 

It cannot be emphasized enough how much you are boosting your employment prospects by learning Spanish in today’s global marketplace. Spanish speakers are a huge demographic for US and international companies. The Latin American market’s purchasing power is worth more than $1 trillion, which makes Spanish-speaking employees very valuable for corporations. 

Spanish at UNC Charlotte offers you many opportunities, a B.A in Spanish or a B.A. in Spanish with concentrations in such areas as applied language or literature and culture. You can add a Certificate in Translating or a Certificate in Business Spanish, or a Certificate in Hispanic Literary Studies to your portfolio. Study abroad opportunities in Spain and Latin America give you the chance of immersion experiences leading to true cultural literacy and linguistic proficiency. Internships in the Charlotte community can round out your experiences and open doors to the Charlotte Spanish-speaking business world.

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Come explore the Spanish Program:

The Spanish Program offers you the following opportunities:


You may major in Spanish, and if you choose, add a concentration:

  • Applied Language (Business Spanish and Translating) 
  • Literature and Culture 

All concentrations consist of 30 credit hours of language and content courses, plus a one-credit hour Senior Seminar.

The Applied Language concentration is designed for Spanish for the professions and specific purposes, such as Business Spanish and Translating. 

A Major in Spanish-Applied Language Concentration consists of 30 credits above the intermediate language level. Students complete 6 credit hours of language courses at the advanced (3000) level. After completion of these language requirements, students take 24 credit hours of concentration courses. Of those 24 credit hours, they take 6 credit hours of Concentration Core courses and 18 credit hours of Concentration Elective courses. 9 of the 18 credit hours of Concentration Elective Courses must be taken among courses in Business Spanish, Linguistics, and Translation. At least 12 credit hours of the Concentration Elective courses must be at the 4000 level. The Spanish Major must contain one writing intensive course of three credit hours and 1 credit hour of the Senior Seminar.   

Please see here a detailed list of courses and requirements for the Spanish Major- Concentration in Applied Language or contact your advisors.

The Literature and Culture concentration is designed for students interested in peninsular and Latin American literature and culture. 

A Major in Spanish-Literature and Culture Concentration consists of 30 credits above the intermediate language level. Students complete 6 credit hours of language courses at the advanced (3000) level. After completion of these language requirements, students take 24 credit hours of concentration courses. Of those 24 credit hours, they take 6 credit hours of Concentration Core courses and 18 credit hours of Concentration Elective courses. Three credit hours of the 18 credit hours of Concentration Electives must be the survey of either Spanish Peninsular or Spanish American literature. 

At least 12 credit hours of the Concentration Elective courses must be at the 4000 level (including the surveys). The Spanish Major must contain one writing intensive course of three credit hours. The writing intensive course may be taken if it is taught in English and the topic involves Hispanic literature (Spanish, Latin American, or Latino) and is approved by the advisor. The Major also contains 1 credit hour of the Senior Seminar.  

Please see here a detailed list of courses and requirements for the Spanish Major-Concentration in Literature and Culture or contact your advisors.

You may also major in Spanish without a specific concentration. 

Please see here a detailed list of courses and requirements for the Spanish Major.

The Minor in Spanish is an excellent addition to your degree and resume. Being proficient in Spanish may open many new opportunities in the US, as well as gloabally. 

A Minor in Spanish consists of 15 credits above the intermediate language level. Students complete 6 credit hours of core language classes at the advanced (3000) level. After completion of these language requirements, students take 3 credit hours of the required core course Introduction to Literary Analysis and 6 credit hours of  elective courses at the 3000 or 4000 level. 

Please see here a detailed list of courses and requirements for the Spanish Minor.

Having a certificate in translation is something recorded on your transcript. You can always list it on your resume. To earn the certificate, students must complete a sequence of four translation courses: one course of theory and history of translation as well as a practica in translation. For those majoring in Spanish, 2 of the 4 courses may be counted toward the major. 

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

The Certificate in Business Languages program provides classroom, optional overseas, and practical training in Spanish for international business, which may also be recognized by international examinations.  The certificate requires 12 credit hours.  Beginning with an alternative fourth-semester course, the sequence continues with advanced-level coursework that includes a two-semester component in advanced business Spanish. Majors in any field are welcome.

For more information see the description of the Certificate in Business Spanish or contact the Co-Directors of this program, Professors Michael Doyle & Carlos Coria-Sanchez.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Languages and Culture Studies: 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 adds an additional credential to any major concentration or certificate.

For more information see the description of the Certificate Hispanic Literary Studies or contact the coordinator of this program, José Manuel Batista.

We offer many study abroad opportunities for students who are interested in the Spanish language and culture. Come have some tapas on the Ramblas in Barcelona Spain, listen to Mariachi in the Casa de los Azulejos in Mexico City, hike the Andes trail in Ecuador and Peru, ride your bike on the Death Road in Bolivia, explore the Atacama Desert in Chile, greet some monkeys in Costa Rica’s rainforest or have some Mate tea in Argentina. Study Abroad destinations exist in peninsular Spain and all over Latin America. 

You can study abroad in the Fall or Spring semester, for the entire year or during the summer. Our programs include language instruction, cultural excursions and true immersion in the host culture with home stays. In addition, we offer a faculty-led Spring Break Trip to Argentina. Professors of Spanish guide students in an exploration of history, art, and architecture. Credits you earn on our study abroad programs transfer to UNC Charlotte and count as electives. Study Abroad experiences provide invaluable insights into a culture and literacy in the Spanish language. On your resume such an experience sets you apart from other job candidates.

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, Professor Killman.

Aliaga-Buchenau Witness in Residence Scholarship

The Aliaga-Buchenau Witness in Residence Scholarship is part of the Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau Project which is a partnership between the college and community members. The partnership consists of eyewitness-in-residence and study abroad scholarships. Its focus is to build a broad and deep culture within the college that connects the UNC Charlotte environment with cataclysmic events in the world and the people who have been affected by them and/or who have shaped them. These scholarships will provide students with the opportunity to study abroad and be exposed to an international community that has experienced an event related to genocide, the Holocaust, or a violation of human rights. This scholarship was made possible by the generous contribution of Ms. Dale F. Halton.

Please contact Professor Aliaga-Buchenau for more information and see the NinerScholars Portal.

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.

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.”

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 of Charlotte 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

Learning to dance Salsa

Selling empanadas

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.  He also took classes in German and studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. After graduation, Vallejo went on to serve as interpreter in local hospitals, court rooms, behavioral health practices, and currently works as interpreter at Family Intimacy a therapy practice in Charlotte. He is also pursuing an MA in Spanish at UNC 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.