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The Spanish major consists of nine courses above the 103-104 level. These nine courses include 301, any 200 level or above (excluding RLSP 205 and RLSP 303), and 403.

The major seeks to provide training in literary analysis and linguistic expression, as well as an appreciation of Hispanic civilization, through the study of the major writers of the Spanish-speaking world.

Students majoring in Spanish may replace one of their Spanish electives with a course in Comparative Literature, with one course in Latin-American Studies that is 200-level or higher, or with a course in Linguistics.

Inasmuch as all courses in Spanish assume the active participation of each student in discussions conducted in the foreign language, regular attendance at class meetings is expected.


Candidates for a senior thesis must have maintained a 3.5 GPA in the major by the time of proposal submission. Two alternative routes are available to those who wish to apply for the degree with honors.

The first of these involves the writing of a senior thesis. Honors candidates are required to devote to their theses two semesters of Independent Study (beyond the nine courses required for the major-and the winter study period of their senior year (493-W031-494). The thesis will be written in Spanish and will usually be in the range of from forty to sixty pages. Candidates are encouraged to submit thesis proposals in May of their junior year. By the end of the first semester of the senior year, students will normally have finished the research for the thesis. By the end of the winter study period, candidates will submit to the department a completed first draft of their work. At this time, the student will make a presentation of his project at a departmental colloquium. The thesis will be discussed and evaluated to determine whether or not the student should continue in the honors program. The second semester of independent thesis work will be spent revising and rewriting the thesis. The completed dissertation in its final form will be due at the end of April.

The second route is a group of three clearly related courses (offered by the Department of Romance Languages or by other departments, such as History, Art, Philosophy, English, etc.), only one of which may be counted in the nine courses comprising the major. One of the courses will be an Independent Study (plus senior year WSP 030) in the spring of the senior year, at the end of which the student will write an essay that synthesizes the content of the three related courses. Students may apply for this route by November 2 of the senior year.

In the case of both routes to the degree with honors, the department's recommendation for graduation with honors will be based on the originality and thoroughness of the finished project.


The Certificate in Spanish Language and Culture consists of a sequence of seven courses for which the student must earn a cumulative grade average of B or higher. In addition, the student must take a proficiency test and achieve a score of "Advanced." The test will be administered by the department once a year during the month of April to all students desirous of obtaining the Certificate. Those so interested should express their intent to the chair of the department by March 1 or earlier.

For students with no prior Spanish background, the course sequence will consist of Spanish 101-102, Spanish 103 and 104, and three courses in Spanish above the 104 level, with at least one of these courses at the 200-level or higher taken at Williams. If the student starts out the sequence at Spanish 103, in addition to the three courses in Spanish beyond the 104 level (including a 200-level course or higher), two electives may be taken in other departments. One elective should be in Spanish or Latin-American cultural history (art, literature, drama, music) and the other in Spanish or Latin-American intellectual, political, or social history. Spanish 200, 201, or 208 can be counted for the elective requirement.

List of possible electives in other departments:

Anthropology 215 The Secrets of Ancient Peru: Archaeology of South America

Anthropology 216 Native Peoples of Latin America

Anthropology 217 Mesoamerican Civilizations

ArtH 200 Art of Mesoamerica

ArtH 209/Anthropology 219 The Art and Archaeology of Maya Civilization: A Marriage Made in Xibalba

Economics 226 Economic Development and Change in Latin America

History 242 Latin-American from Conquest to Independence

History 243 Modern Latin America, 1822 to the Present

Political Science 344 Rebels and Revolution in Latin America

Political Science 349T Cuba and the United States

Other electives may likewise be considered as departments create new courses. However, students should consult with the chair of Romance Languages before making any enrollment decisions.


A placement test in Spanish is administered at Williams at the opening of the fall semester. Incoming first-year students who wish to register for any Spanish courses above the 101 level must take this test.


Spanish majors, as well as non-majors interested in further exposure to the language and the culture, are strongly encouraged to include study in Spain or Latin America as part of their program at Williams. Through its special ties with the Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain, the department offers a comprehensive linguistic and cultural experience in a Spanish-speaking environment, for periods either of a semester or a year. Credit for up to four courses can be granted at the discretion of the Department for study overseas. Students interested in study abroad should consult with a member of the department at their earliest convenience.