Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

You can find a complete list of current and past Spanish and Portuguese courses in the KU Catalog.

Courses whose last two digits are in the 20s are language courses, covering grammar, composition, phonetics, linguistics, and stylistics. These classes include 324, Intermediate Grammar and Composition; 424, Advanced Grammar and Composition; 429, Phonetics; 520, Structure of Spanish; and 522, Advanced Studies in Spanish Language. 520 and 522 satisfy the requirement for a 500-level language class.

Courses whose last two digits are in the 40s are usually culture classes, with the exception of 340, an introduction to textual analysis, 440, a literature class, and 540, the colloquium. The culture classes are 446, Spanish Culture; 447, Mexican Culture; and 448, Spanish Language and Culture for Business. Courses whose last two digits are in the 70s are culture classes offered on study abroad programs. Please note that you must earn a grade of A or B in Spanish 340 in order to continue in Spanish.

Courses whose last two digits are in the 50s are Spanish literature classes. These classes include 450, Medieval Spanish Studies; 451, Early Modern Spanish Studies; 452, Nineteenth Century Spanish Studies; and 453, Twentieth Century Spanish Studies. These classes satisfy the requirement for a 400-level Spanish literature class.

Courses whose last two digits are in the 60s are Spanish American literature classes. These classes include 460, Colonial Spanish American Studies; 461, Nineteenth Century Spanish American Studies; 462, Twentieth Century Spanish American Studies; and 463, National Traditions in Spanish America. These classes satisfy the requirement for a 400-level Spanish American literature class.

Colloquia on Hispanic Studies (540), Colloquia on Spanish Film (550) or Colloquia on Latin American Film (560) satisfy the requirement for a 500-level literature class. The prerequisite for Spanish 540 is two 400-level literature courses (one Peninsular, one Latin America). It is advisable to meet with your assigned advisor and plan ahead in order to complete these classes before you register for 540.

Spanish Placement Exam

Please enroll into the course designated by your placement exam score. In order to enroll in SPAN 212, SPAN 322 or SPAN 324/328, you will need a permission code. You should not need a permission code to enroll into SPAN 111. To obtain a permission code, continuing students e-mail Spanish & Portuguese scheduling officer Rhonda Cook ( or to our department email ( after your enrollment window has opened. Incoming students will be issued their permission code at orientation. If you have any questions or concerns about your placement score or have trouble enrolling, please contact the Spanish & Portuguese Undergraduate Academic Advisor.

  • Placement Exam score guide:
    • ScorePlacement
      0 - 260

      SPAN 104 (5 credit hours)

      This course starts at the very beginning of an introductory, project-based Spanish learning program. It is designed to introduce and/or serve as a review of concepts and skills development typical in the first 2 years of high school Spanish. Class is taught in Spanish with a primary focus on communicating about the present.

      261 - 319

      SPAN 108 (5 credit hours)

      This course offers a brief review of the beginning of an introductory project-based Spanish learning program (covered in SPAN 104) but progresses quickly to cover second semester content. It is designed to review concepts and skills covered but not mastered in the second and third years of many high school Spanish programs.  Class is taught in Spanish with a primary focus on communicating about the past.

      320 - 419

      SPAN 212 (3 credit hours)

      This is the first of our 2-course intermediate Spanish sequence that uses Acceso, an open access site that is designed to promote the development of Spanish language abilities while exploring authentic materials found on the Web. Even if a student scores slightly above the lower range for the SPAN 216 (420-435), they might consider taking SPAN 212 because it is the introduction to the intermediate sequence.
      420 - 500

      SPAN 216 OR SPAN 322 (3 credit hours)

      This is the student’s choice based on confidence level and desired focus (SPAN 216: comprehensive culture content/speaking/writing course that satisfies CLAS FL requirement OR SPAN 322: comprehensive grammar review to prepare for SPAN 324/328).

      Students at the lower range should consider 216 and the higher range 322. Students wishing to minor would benefit from taking either (or both) courses.

      Above 500SPAN 324 & SPAN 328 (concurrently)


Information copied from KU Language Study:

Proficiency exams allow undergraduate students to gain exemption from the Non-English Language Proficiency requirement in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences by establishing that your ability in a second language is equivalent to that of someone who has studied that language for four semesters at the college level.

Proficiency exams are intended for students with knowledge of a second language that cannot be documented through academic transcripts. That knowledge may have been gained through time abroad, attending high school where the primary language of instruction was not English, or through regular contact with speakers of a second language at home or in the community at large. Proficiency exams require testing in reading, writing, speaking and listening in a second language.

For Native Speakers of English:

If you are a native speaker of English and wish to prove proficiency in a second language:

  • If you wish to claim proficiency in Spanish, please complete the online placement exam to gain a sense of how your knowledge corresponds to the levels of instruction at KU. If you receive a score of 700+, you will qualify to take a Proficiency Exam with one of our faculty members. Please send a copy of your results to to begin this process. Completion of a course at the fourth semester of language study (or above) is also sufficient to fulfill the four-semester language requirement.

For Native Speakers of a Language Other Than English:

If you are a native speaker of a language other than English, it is most likely that your proficiency in a second language can be proved through academic transcripts.  This might be as simple as establishing that the language of instruction in your high school was a language other than English, that you have appropriate scores on standardized English tests, or that you have completed required coursework in the Applied English Center.  For more information about requesting exemption from the four-semester requirement, you should contact College Advising & Student Services.

SPAN 340 Textual Analysis (3 credit hours). This class is an introduction to literary genres and styles and how to analyze texts. It is a prerequisite for all of the upper division literature classes.

You cannot take a 400-level class concurrently with SPAN 340. You must also complete SPAN 340 with a passing grade to take 400-level classes.

SPAN 540, 550 and 560 are capstone courses for the major. Students wishing to enroll in SPAN 540, 550 or 560 must first complete two 400-level literature courses (one Peninsular, one Latin-American) prior to enrolling in the capstone course. SPAN 424 is also strongly recommended.

Students with no prior college or university Spanish course credit are eligible for retroactive credit according to this formula:

         • 3 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a third-level Spanish course (SPAN 212) and receives a grade of C or higher.

         • 6 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a fourth-level Spanish course (SPAN 216) and receives a grade of C or higher.

         • 9 hours of retroactive credit are awarded to a student who enrolls initially at KU in a 3-credit-hour Spanish course (SPAN 322, 323 or 324) with a fourth-level course as a prerequisite and receives a grade of C or higher.

Students interested in retroactive credit should consult the department before enrolling.

To apply for retroactive credit, bring a complete application to the Spanish and Portuguese main office in 2650 Wescoe. A complete application for retroactive credit includes:

        • A copy of your high school transcript (this can be obtained at Admissions and Scholarships).

        • A copy of your Degree Progress Report from the myKU portal.

        • A note from you stating that you wish to apply for retroactive credit.

Regardless of the number of credits, you will be charged $50.00 by the Bursar’s office after the credits have been applied to your transcript.

If you have taken advanced placement courses through high school programs you may be eligible for advanced placement and/or credit. Please view the "Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate" tab on our Undergraduate Admissions page.