Spanish program

MUndergrad major mUndergrad minor TTeaching/Certification

Learn the second most common language in the U.S.

Studying Spanish is an opportunity to open up your worldview and gain marketable language skills for your future as communities become increasingly multilingual and multicultural. 

Spanish is offered through UWL's Department of Global Cultures and Languages. Spanish faculty are committed to developing students’ linguistic and cultural competence, including effective communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills. Courses include in-depth study of film, literature, linguistics, history, art and culture. 

Why study Spanish?

Spanish is one of the fastest growing languages worldwide. Because of the prominence of this language, it is likely you will interact with Spanish speakers in your future. By studying Spanish, you will develop not only language skills to interact, but also cultural competency. These skills help you to work with people from other cultures more effectively and appropriately.

Jobs in Spanish

Studying a liberal arts degree such as Spanish gives students the skills to find and develop their own career pathway. Spanish faculty prepare students to interact with speakers of other languages in various economic contexts, both within the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S, the growth of multilingualism and multiculturalism has created an increased interest in college graduates with strong language and intercultural skills. Spanish can be applied to many career pathways. 

Many students choose to minor in Spanish as a complement to their major area of study. Minors pursue careers in a variety of fields.

Use Spanish in

  • Healthcare
  • Education
  • Counseling and social work
  • Business, management or international business
  • Recreation and hospitality
  • Sport science
  • Law and diplomacy
  • Communications and marketing
  • Human resources
  • Public health
  • Urban planning
  • Government and politics

Teach Spanish

Multiple certification options are available for students interested in teaching Spanish at the elementary, middle, and high-school level. In each certification option, students enroll in foundational education courses and then complete a range of language courses, depending on the type of certification. Certification options for Spanish include: Dual certification in Elementary/Middle Education and Spanish Education (certification K-9); World language education major in Spanish Education (PreK-12 certification); and Dual certification in Spanish Education and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (PreK-12 certification).

What distinguishes UWL's Spanish program?

Student involvement

Meet other students while growing your language skills and appreciation of Spanish speaking cultures though the Spanish Club. Students can also participate in conversation groups to practice speaking and share cultural experiences with international students and native speakers. 

Peer-to-peer mentoring

Advanced language students can volunteer as tutors at the Global Cultures and Language Department's Language Resource Center or collaborate with faculty. Spanish students also have the opportunity to join Sigma Delta Pi, a national honor society for students of Hispanic Studies.

Innovation in teaching that engages cultures

Spanish faculty engage students in relevant issues such as social justice and cultural and linguistic diversity. Using innovative teaching methods and technologies, faculty and students explore their role as global citizens through service to and engagement with cultures in the community, on campus or abroad.

Hands-on experiences here and abroad

Students can participate in research projects with faculty and find internships and volunteer opportunities in the La Crosse region where language skills are required. Spanish students can also pursue international internships in business or health-related fields, and the department prepares students through Languages for Professional Purposes courses such as Spanish for the Health Professions.

Study abroad opportunities

Students are encouraged to study abroad so they can improve their language proficiency and further develop their cross-cultural preparation. Spanish students can return to campus with up to 16 credits to use toward their Spanish major or minor and can also earn UWL general education credit for courses taken in a Spanish speaking country. The department has faculty-led programs to Granada, Spain and Havana, Cuba. 

Undergraduate research opportunities

Students gain important experience and develop skills as they learn how to complete collaborative research with a faculty mentor, present research and travel to national and international conferences. Students have received grants and/or completed research and travel related to a variety of interdisciplinary topics such as AIDS in the male gay community in Havana, Cuba and Mexican immigrant students and their challenges in the U.S Public School system.

Retroactive credits for proficiency and heritage or native speakers

Incoming students take a placement test to determine their course level in Spanish. Once a student is placed in a UWL Spanish course above 103, they can earn a B or better and receive up to 16 retroactive credits for courses taken at other institutions. Also, students who have attended high school in Spanish, or speak Spanish at home, have many options to receive retroactive credits as heritage speakers or native speakers. 

Open doors to work abroad

Because Spanish curriculum emphasizes internationalization and intercultural competence, graduates are well-equipped to join the workforce abroad. Many opportunities are available after graduation to teach English or work for non-profit organizations around the world through global programs such as the North American Language and Cultural Ambassadors Program, Fulbright Scholars Program, Council on International Educational Exchange and many more.

Areas of study

Sample courses