In the USC Dornsife Department of Spanish and Portuguese, we believe that the study of other languages is essential for the twenty-first-century global citizen. Immersion in another language fundamentally shapes the way one thinks. From the first day students begin to study Spanish they are “studying culture.” As a result, we teach culture in our language courses and continue to build language skills throughout the undergraduate curriculum.


  • Spanish majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad in order to enhance their linguistic and cultural competency. Many of our majors and minors before graduation spend at least one semester in Spain or Latin America, an experience that has proven to be decisive for their language and cultural skills.
  • Our advanced language courses provide students with the oral and writing competence in Spanish and an enduring intellectual understanding of language as an integral part of human knowledge.
  • In the language and linguistics courses, our students acquire knowledge of the historical development and the structure of the Spanish language and its relationship with the cultures of the diverse peoples who speak it.
  • Our students enhance their critical thinking competencies through the analysis of the structure of Spanish (including the phonetic, morphological, and syntactic structures). We encourage them to apply what they have learned to the development of individual and group research projects because we believe that learning how to learn is a most valuable goal.
  • Through our literature and culture courses, our program teaches our students the importance of approaching the study of language by delving into the broader cultural context from which it emerges.
  •  Students learn to explore the established narratives about Spanish and Latin American literatures, including major authors, works, and literary periods and movements. As they read and write about literature, they learn to think, discuss, and write critically about the formation and status of literary canons in relation to such issues as gender, ethnicity, and nationhood.
  • Beyond literature and literary history, students also learn to consider the role of other cultural narratives in Latin America and Spain, with a special focus on the discourses of film, visual and material culture, music, and gender.
  • As they investigate the cultural narratives of Latin America and Spain in Spanish, students learn the critical importance of considering other cultures in their own linguistic and theoretical contexts.