About Us

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The Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Kansas has been distinguished for its quality and long term stability. Founded in 1918, we offer robust undergraduate and graduate programs recognized for academic excellence and interdisciplinary research by faculty and students. The department has received an Award for Exceptional Teaching and Learning from the Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Kansas, and is highly ranked by the National Research Council (NRC). Our facultylecturers, and graduate teaching assistants are committed to meaningful collaboration, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from cultural perspectives in Iberia, Latin America and U.S. Latino/a communities. 

Spanish, the second most spoken language in the world with approximately 559 million speakers, is the official language in 21 countries. The United States ranks second behind Mexico in the number of Spanish speakers. Similarly, Portuguese, the sixth most spoken language with approximately 210 million people, is the official language in 9 nations. Fluency in more than one language and an understanding of literary and cultural texts prepare students to become global citizens. At the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, we hone students’ oral and written skills of global languages and enrich their critical understanding of the world today.

We offer programs designed to help students acquire advanced training in Spanish at the Bachelor'sM.A. and Ph.D. levels as well as minors in Spanish and Portuguese for undergraduate students in other disciplines. Exploring literatures, historical and contemporary, enable you to consider worlds beyond your own. This experience will help you gain important cultural competencies that can serve you well on the job market. While our programs emphasize literature, we also offer courses in Spanish and Portuguese languages, literary theory, Brazilian literatures, linguistics, and cultural studies. This knowledge is highly beneficial for people planning to go into academic and international careers, especially those planning to work with predominantly Latino/a populations in the United States. Spanish and Portuguese degrees are useful in such diverse careers as advertising, marketing, journalism, health services, government, social welfare, and public administration, among others. 

Although you may choose a single major, you may find that double majoring in Spanish and another discipline makes you particularly attractive to employers. For example, students who combine Spanish with journalism can work for newspapers, radio and television stations, and advertising agencies that serve urban and rural Iberian, Latin American, and U.S. Latino/a communities. Likewise, a double major with business or social welfare can prepare students to work with companies or social service agencies that serve diverse customers or clients. Other students complement their Spanish major with a second major in fields such as law, medicine, environmental studies, geography, sociology history, political science, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, economics, or anthropology. Read our Success Stories to learn about how our alumni have built diverse, interdisciplinary careers.

Many of our students also seek advanced degrees in Spanish and Portuguese. Graduate students benefit from the department’s commitment to collaboration, interdisciplinarity, and diversity. As a graduate student, you will join a cohort of engaged scholars. Our program offers rigorous and comprehensive education in contemporary and traditional disciplines of Iberian and Latin American literary studies, and our faculty will help prepare you for a career in the humanities.

Most importantly, we aim to construct a positive learning environment that promotes cultural understanding, equity, and inclusion. Join us at the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Kansas to become an engaged global citizen.

Why Study Spanish and Portuguese Literatures and Cultures at KU?

  • Join a robust and diverse student body of 100 undergraduate students
  • Be a part of a committed and interdisciplinary cohort of graduate students
  • Learn from 15 faculty members dedicated to scholarship and teaching
  • Travel to cities in Argentina, Brazil, or Spain as part of one of our five study aboard programs

By the numbers:  

  • 100 undergraduates majoring in Spanish and ​300 seeking a Spanish minor
  • 40+ books and edited volumes published by current faculty
  • 15 faculty members dedicated to scholarship and teaching
  • study abroad programs in Argentina, Brazil, and Spain
  • in-house publications, Latin American Theater ReviewLATR Books, and La corónica ​

Department Highlights:

  • Fiske Guide to Colleges calls Spanish & Portuguese one of KU's strongest programs
  • Consistently ranked among the most distinguished graduate programs in Spanish by the National Research Council
  • 2007 Departmental Award for Exceptional Teaching and Learning from KU's Center for Teaching Excellence
  • 2012 Access to Language Education Focus Award from the Computer-Assisted Language Instruction Consortium (CALICO) for Acceso
  • Comprehensive undergraduate program in Spanish language, literature and culture, as well as Portuguese language and Brazilian literature and cultural studies