Department of Spanish and Portuguese
- Pedro Meira Monteiro
Director of Undergraduate Studies
- Javier E. Guerrero
Director of Graduate Studies
- Christina H. Lee
- Marina S. Brownlee
- Rubén Gallo
- Germán Labrador Méndez
- Pedro Meira Monteiro
- Gabriela Nouzeilles
- Javier E. Guerrero
- Christina H. Lee
- Rachel L. Price
- Natalia Castro Picón
- Nicole D. Legnani
- Jeremy I. Adelman, History
- João Biehl, Anthropology
- Susana Draper, Comparative Literature
- Christina León, English
- Douglas S. Massey, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
- Alberto Bruzos Moro
- Nicola T. Cooney
- Anna Alsina Naudi
- Gorka Bilbao Terreros
- Mariana Bono
- Nadia Cervantes Pérez
- Gabriela Diaz-Davalos
- Nicholas J. Figueroa
- Luis Gonçalves
- Iris I. Hauser
- Anais Holgado-Lage
- Perla Masi
- Raquel Mattson-Prieto
- Adriana G. Merino
- Paloma Moscardó-Vallés
- Dunia Catalina Méndez Vallejo
- Eliot Raynor
- Cesar A. Romero Fernandez
- Daniela C. Salcedo Arnaiz
- Amina B. Shabani
- Daiane Tamanaha De Quadros
- Andréa de Castro Melloni
- Lilia K. Moritz Schwarcz
Information and Departmental Plan of Study
More than half a billion people across five continents speak Spanish or Portuguese as their first language, and in the United States, with more than 38 million Spanish speakers, the Hispanic legacy is embedded in myriad aspects of American politics, arts, and culture. Our community of scholars studies and highlights the importance and influence of the Spanish, Latin American, and Luso-Brazilian histories, cultures, and languages in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to our globalized present.
Our department is a critical pillar of Princeton's commitment to internationalization and scholarly excellence. We encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary work, and our faculty are active in many other departments and programs on campus, including the Program in Latin American Studies, international and regional studies, American studies, media and modernity, the School of Architecture, comparative literature, renaissance studies, history, art and archaeology, the art museum, and the environmental institute.
Our mission is to help Princeton students flourish as global citizens, ready to face the challenges posed by an increasingly cosmopolitan and multilingual professional world. With this general purpose in mind, we offer a full range of language courses, advanced seminars on literature and culture, translation workshops and the opportunity for independent study. With the support and guidance of our talented faculty, students are able to study not only the Spanish and Portuguese languages, but also literatures, visual arts, music, urban cultures, as well as the complex political and social histories of the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian worlds.
Students become familiar with renowned writers such as Miguel de Cervantes and Jorge Luis Borges, Nobel Prize laureates Gabriela Mistral, José Saramago, and Mario Vargas Llosa; influential artists such as the painters Diego Velázquez, Pablo Picasso, and Frida Kahlo, the architect Oscar Niemeyer, contemporary musicians Caetano Veloso, Gotan Project, and Calle 13; as well as international filmmakers such as Luis Buñuel, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça, and Alfonso Cuarón. In order to experience cultural and linguistic immersion, our students also have the opportunity to study abroad with our popular summer programs in Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain, or with other approved international programs.
Our concentrators and certificate recipients are provided with the high linguistic proficiency, cross-cultural literacy, and critical and analytical skills that are key for careers in the humanities, law, medicine, government, international relations, international business, education, and community-based initiatives today. They also enable students interested in the environment to communicate effectively when doing research or volunteering in Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking regions. Our courses serve as passports for living and working in more than thirty countries, including some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
An advanced placement examination in Spanish (language and/or literature) with a score of 5 or SAT Subject Test score of at least 760 is required to satisfy the A.B. language requirement at entrance, or for admission to a 200-level course. Students who took either test in 2020 or in 2021 must take the Spanish placement test to confirm their advanced placement.
The normal requirement for admission to the department is successful completion of two 200-level courses in Spanish or one 200-level course in Portuguese.
Before or right after declaring a concentration in Spanish and/or Portuguese in April of sophomore year, please email the director of undergraduate studies to set up an appointment.
Qualified students are encouraged to decide on their concentration as early as possible in their sophomore year. In this way they can benefit from departmental advising on course selection and on the possibility of spending a semester or the whole junior year abroad.
Program of Study
All Spanish concentrators are strongly advised to take one advanced language course (SPA 205, SPA 207, SPA 207S, SPA 208S, SPA 209 or SPA 307), unless the director of undergraduate studies (in consultation with the language directors) determines that the respective student’s language skills do not warrant taking such course.
All Portuguese concentrators are required to take at least one 200-level POR course.
All Spanish concentrators must take one course in pre-1800 literature. University regulations limit to 12 the number of departmental courses allowed to each student in his or her concentration. Students cannot earn both a SPO concentration (in any track) and a SPO certificate (in any language). Students interested in focusing both in Spanish and Portuguese may choose track 2 for their concentration.
Departmental courses cover a wide array of literary, cultural, social, historical, and political topics. Students are, therefore, able to pursue courses of study that are tailor-made to their own individual interests.
The department offers four different tracks for concentrators:
Please note that an upper division course is any course above Spanish 209 or POR 209.
Concentration in one language, literature and culture (Spanish or Portuguese). Requires a minimum of eight upper-division courses in the language of concentration. Up to two of those courses may be taken in English, in which case all written work must be completed in the target language.
Concentration in two languages, literatures and cultures (Spanish and Portuguese; or Spanish/Portuguese and another language). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the second language. One of the five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese may be taken in English, in which case all written work must be completed in the target language.
Concentration in Spanish or Portuguese with another related field (e.g. urban studies, architecture, global health and health policy, environmental studies, humanistic studies, sociology, European studies, international studies, Latino studies, Latin American studies, comparative literature, history, politics, anthropology). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the secondary field. One of the five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese may be taken in English, in which case all written work must be completed in the target language.
Concentration in Spanish or Portuguese with the creative arts (e.g. creative writing, theater, visual arts, translation). Requires a combination of five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese and three upper-division courses in the creative arts. One of the five upper-division courses in Spanish or Portuguese may be taken in English, in which case all written work must be completed in the target language.
Any track in the concentration in Spanish and/or Portuguese literature and cultures requires a minimum of eight upper-division courses, at least five of which must be in the language of concentration. With the approval of the director of undergraduate studies, up to three courses taken during a semester abroad may count towards the concentration if the student is pursuing Track 1 or Track 2. Up to two courses taken during a semester abroad may be counted towards the concentration if the student is pursuing Track 3 or Track 4.
Students who wish to continue a language begun in secondary school must have their proficiency measured either by a College Board score for admission (see Advanced Placement above) or by the department's placement test administered online during the summer before course registration.
Spanish Language Program
The normal program for beginners seeking a basic mastery of Spanish is the sequence 101, 102, 107, which satisfies the University's language requirement.
Students with a satisfactory score on the department's Spanish language placement test will be placed in either 103 or 105, and will proceed respectively to 107 or 108 to satisfy the University language requirement. They may also be placed directly into 108. Students who have successfully completed 107 may not take 108. Students cannot place into SPA 102 or SPA 107 through the department's placement test.
Course credit in 101-102, 103, 107 or 108 is also available through approved courses outside of Princeton University (see Study and Work Abroad below). Students who take 100-level Spanish courses outside of Princeton University must take the departmental placement test after the completion of their courses to demonstrate that they have reached the necessary proficiency level.
Email Catalina Méndez Vallejo, associate director of the Spanish language program, for questions regarding the placement test.
Students who want to receive credit for a Spanish language course taken outside of Princeton, or have questions concerning summer language study, should email Mariana Bono, associate director of the Spanish language program.
Portuguese Language Program
The sequence for beginners seeking a basic mastery of Portuguese is 101, 102, 107, which satisfies the University's language requirement. The sequence for students who have a previous knowledge of a Romance language is 106, 109, which also satisfies the University's language requirement. POR 106 is designed for, but not limited to, students who have already fulfilled the language requirement in Spanish, French, or Italian. Students are encouraged to contact an instructor of Portuguese to find out whether they qualify to take 106. POR 199 is an intensive one-semester course and may not be used to fulfill the language requirement.
For questions concerning placement and summer study, please contact Nicola Cooney (email@example.com), director of the Portuguese language program.
Concentrators are strongly advised to take SPA/POR 330 during the fall of their junior year. This course is designed to introduce students to research methods and to guide them in the production of their first Junior Paper.
Concentrators should discuss as soon as possible their area of interest with the director of undergraduate studies in order to find the most appropriate advisers for the junior papers (JPs). By the end of September (first JP), and by mid-February (second JP), all juniors should have contacted their advisers to discuss a plan of work. The first JP (fall semester) should be about 4,000 words, and the second JP (spring semester) should be between 5,000 and 8,000 words. Both JPs may be written in English, in which case a three-page summary in the target language must be provided. Or, the JP can be written in the target language in which case a summary is not needed. All JPs must include PU's honor pledge.
Concentrators following two languages are encouraged to write one JP in each of the languages of concentration.
Concentrators should select a senior thesis adviser by the end of September at the latest. The senior thesis is normally written in English, and should be between 15,000 and 20,000 words. Topics chosen in the past have ranged over the whole field of Spanish and Portuguese studies, from linguistic problems and literary techniques through close textual analysis to thematic and ideological studies. Students primarily interested in culture and civilization have written on art, political and economic issues, education, and a variety of social questions. The senior thesis is a major commitment of a student's time and energy, and the most important yardstick for choosing a topic is willingness to spend many hours on a particular set of texts or problems.
Any extensions beyond the University deadline date need pre-approval from both the director of undergraduate studies and residential college dean.
Resources are available to assist students with the costs of senior thesis research, including, when appropriate, travel abroad. The best time to use them is the summer preceding the senior year.
Senior Departmental Examination
The senior departmental/comprehensive exam will consist of an oral presentation of the thesis. It will be followed by questions regarding the thesis content and bibliography, as well as questions related to the course work done by the student in the department.
Study and Work Abroad
The department strongly encourages its concentrators to spend as much time as they can in any country where their language(s) of concentration is (are) spoken. There are many ways of doing this within the four-year undergraduate degree: through study abroad for one or two semesters; through summer study abroad; and through a summer internship abroad. All students must visit the The Louis A. Simpson *60 International Building to become acquainted with the administrative procedures related to study abroad.
Junior Semester/Junior Year Abroad
Students planning to spend a semester or their whole junior year abroad should seek advice from the director of undergraduate studies and from relevant faculty in choosing a suitable program of study. Further assistance is available from the Office of International Programs. Departmental and University approval of programs abroad are required.
Grades awarded by overseas institutions for courses that are recognized in lieu of Princeton courses are not included in the consideration of departmental honors.
Students who study abroad are not exempted from independent work requirements. If necessary, the department will make arrangements to find a JP adviser in the location where the student spends the semester or year abroad or will indicate a department adviser who will be in contact with the student throughout the term or year abroad.
Up to three approved courses taken abroad in one semester will normally count for up to three course credits toward the concentration. Students must complete the program abroad to the standards required by the overseas institution.
Summer Language Study
All students interested in languages are encouraged to study abroad during the summer in one of the programs recommended by the department and the Office of International Programs. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has summer programs in Toledo, Spain, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, for students with intermediate and advanced knowledge of Spanish, and a summer program in Lisbon, Portugal, for students with intermediate to advanced knowledge of Portuguese. The department offers a number of scholarships to attend those programs.
Summer Work Abroad
Information about placements and internships abroad may be obtained from the Office of International Programs.
Certificate in Language and Culture
The program is open to all undergraduates in all departments. Ordinarily, students concentrating in language and literature departments, including comparative literature, will be eligible for the certificate in language and culture provided that: (a) the linguistic base for the language and culture certificate is different from the linguistic base of the concentration; and (b) the work required for the language and culture certificate does not duplicate the requirements of the concentration. Students pursuing area studies certificates may earn the certificate in language and culture provided that: (a) the courses they elect to satisfy the requirements of the area studies program are different from those they elect to satisfy the requirements of the language and culture certificate program (in agreement with the Program in Latin American Studies, one course can be used toward both a certificate in Spanish and Portuguese and a certificate from the Program in Latin American Studies); and (b) they submit a piece of independent work in addition to the independent work that satisfies the requirements of the area studies program.
Application forms are available on the department's webpage for the certificate. Completed forms are submitted during the senior year. A separate application must be completed for each language in which a certificate will be pursued.
Plan of Study
The certificate in language and culture is available in Spanish and Portuguese and involves satisfactory completion of the following course requirements:
- Four department based or cross-listed SPA courses above SPA 209, at least three of which must be 300-level (or higher) in Spanish language, literature, or culture. Courses must be taken for a letter grade, not Pass/D/Fail or Audit. At the discretion of the director of undergraduate studies, students who study abroad during the academic year may count one pre-approved course per semester abroad toward the certificate. One Princeton summer abroad course offered through the department would also count. Two pre-approved courses in a summer program abroad other than Princeton's can count for one course toward the certificate. In no case, however, can more than two courses taken abroad count toward the certificate. A maximum of one course taught in English may be counted towards the certificate, provided that all written work is submitted in Spanish.
- Independent work. During their senior year, students are required to submit a paper on the topic designated on their application. (See deadline information above.) The paper must be written in Spanish; be at least 6,000 words in length; and be an extension of a paper written for one of the courses taken towards the certificate. Advisers are not assigned. One additional 300-level (or higher) SPA course may be substituted for the independent work.
- Students interested in earning a certificate in another department's program and in Spanish may earn both certificates provided that: (a) different courses are used to fulfill the requirements for each certificate (with the exception of PLAS; see above under Admission); and (b) the student produces two different pieces of independent work.
- Three department-based POR courses above the 100-level on the literature and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking world. At least one of these three courses must be at the 200-level. No course taught in English can count towards the certificate. Courses must be taken for a letter grade, no Pass/D/Fail or Audit. At the discretion of the director of undergraduate studies, students who study abroad during the academic year may count one pre-approved course per semester abroad towards the certificate. One Princeton summer abroad course offered through the department would also count, provided that it is taught in Portuguese. Two pre-approved courses in a summer program abroad other than Princeton's can count as one course towards the certificate, provided that they are taught in Portuguese. In no case, however, can more than one course taken abroad count towards the certificate.
- Independent work. During their senior year, students are required to submit a paper on the topic designated on their application. (See deadline information above.) The paper must be written in Portuguese; be at least 6,000 words in length (title page); and be an extension of a paper written for one of the courses taken towards the certificate. Advisers are not assigned. One additional upper-division POR course (above the 100-level) may be substituted for the independent work.
- Students interested in earning a certificate in another department's program and in Portuguese may earn both certificates provided that: a) different courses are used to fulfill the requirements for each certificate* and; b) the student produces two different pieces of independent work. *In agreement with the Program in Latin American Studies, one course can be used towards both a certificate in POR and PLAS.