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The objective of the Spanish major is to learn about Hispanic cultures directly through the Spanish language and principally by way of their literature and other artistic expressions.
We study literature and a variety of cultural manifestations from a modern critical perspective, without isolating them from their context. Most courses are taught in Spanish. Courses are categorized according to level of difficulty and focus:
- Language Courses
- Panoramic Introductions
- Nation-Specific Studies
- Courses Specialized by Author and Text
- Thematic Analyses
To give students a better idea of the development of the Hispanic world throughout the centuries, we expect majors to select courses on the literature and cultures of Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean and Latinos in the United States. Fluent and correct use of the language is essential to the successful completion of the major. To this end, continuous training in the use of the language and travel abroad will be emphasized.
A major in Spanish (both rite and Honors) will consist of nine courses in the literatures and cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples. Up to three courses in the Spanish 130-212 range and all upper-division courses (above Spanish 212) may be counted toward the major. Five of the nine courses must be taken from the Spanish Department offerings at Amherst College. Please note: Once enrolled in a culture course (courses numbered 211 and above), students may not go back to take a language course and receive credit toward the Spanish major. During their sophomore or junior year, majors will be required to enroll in an Amherst College Spanish course that stresses the use of critical research tools. Courses designed to fulfill this requirement are marked "RC" for Research Course in the course description.
Courses enrolled abroad or outside the Department will require departmental approval. Three courses taken abroad and taught in Spanish may be counted toward the major with the exception of grammar or language courses and music or art practice courses. One of these courses must focus on literature. Please consult the Study Abroad page on the Spanish Department website for further details. The Department highly recommends that students returning from studying abroad elect from among Nation-Specific, Author and Text-Specialized and Thematic Analyses courses (Spanish 300 and above) as they complete the major requirements in their final semesters.
Only one course taken on Pass/Fail will be counted toward the major. **Beginning with the class of 2015 no Pass/Fail course may be counted toward the major.
Up to two courses offered by the Spanish Department and taught in English may be counted toward the major. **Beginning with the class of 2014 only one course offered by the Spanish Department which is taught in English may be counted toward the major.
Only one Special Topics course will be accepted toward the Spanish major. Special Topics courses can be taken by seniors who are interested in pursuing a subject matter that is a particular faculty's specialty, has not been offered by the Department, nor is available at the Five-Colleges. The student must have a well-defined idea of the topic and a clear and convincing reason for his/her education to take the course. Special Topic course enrollments are limited to two students.