Beginning this fall, students at UC Santa Cruz can now declare a major in Spanish Studies, leading to a new bachelor of arts degree.

Administered by UCSC’s Language Program in the Humanities Division, the faculty affiliated with the major will come from 10 departments across three divisions.

The interdisciplinary major in Spanish Studies is designed to offer students the linguistic competence and cultural literacy required to understand the perspectives of diverse Spanish-speaking communities.

The major will help students gain a broad understanding of the historical and cultural developments of the countries in which Spanish is a national language, as well as those regions in which Spanish is employed in contact with other languages.

In the interest of advanced linguistic and cultural proficiency, the core of the new major will be comprised of courses taught in the Spanish language.

Students will be able to choose from two tracks that allow more in-depth study--literature and culture, or language and linguistics.

The curriculum draws upon UCSC’s Literature, History, Anthropology, Education, Feminist Studies, History of Art and Visual Culture, Latin American and Latino Studies, Linguistics, and Sociology Departments.

Spanish Studies will also encourage students to take advantage of the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP). EAP language and culture programs are focused primarily on language acquisition.

Many of these programs provide students with the language skills needed to participate in regular university courses taught in the language of the host country. EAP opportunities in Spanish include Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Spain and Costa Rica.

The study of the Spanish language and its diverse cultural groups is of special importance in the United States, the country with the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the world.

“After more than six years of efforts, the faculty and staff involved are delighted to see the major approved,” noted Juan Poblete, UCSC professor of literature and provost of Kresge College, who helped to develop the proposal for the new degree.

“UCSC students will now have another option to learn and live the language and cultures of Spanish speaking countries including the U.S.”

“While many of us are very involved with the Latin American and Latino Studies Department in the Social Sciences Division, the Spanish major presents a Spanish-taught and Humanities-based alternative that will be, we hope, very appealing to many of our students. It will combine, in an interdisciplinary setting, the strengths of History, Applied Linguistics, Literature, and Cultural Studies.”

M. Victoria González-Pagani, director of Spanish Studies at UCSC, noted that the major comes at a very opportune time since the Latino student population has been increasing considerably on campus in recent years.

“Students are excited at the news of the Spanish major,” said Pagani.  “Since the moment they found out we were working on a proposal they have been asking about it, and expressing their desire to pursue this major.”

“Indeed, it is very good news for the students and a wonderful addition to the variety of majors UCSC offers,” she added.