Spanish Major

Immerse yourself in Spanish – the nation’s second most commonly spoken language.

As a Spanish major at UNI, you’ll explore different areas of study, including Spanish grammar and vocabulary, Spanish-speaking cultures and civilizations, literature and film in Spanish, Spanish linguistics, Spanish/English translation and Spanish for Heritage Speakers.

All courses are taught exclusively in Spanish and offer ample opportunities to improve in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

Our faculty come from very diverse backgrounds, allowing students to hear a variety of Spanish dialects and explore a breadth of intellectual possibilities. With small class size, our students receive one-on-one attention from faculty members, resulting in numerous opportunities for undergraduate research, including honors theses and presentations at conferences.

Outside of the classroom, our students engage in a variety of community service projects, working with local business and community and government agencies, providing language assistance for immigrants and refugees, participating in simulations, as well as doing professional-level translation services.

Find out more about Spanish major classes and program requirements.

Spanish students in classroom.

Community Engagement

Community engagement experiences are embedded in most advanced Spanish courses.

Study Abroad

Most Spanish majors spend a summer or semester abroad, building their language skills in real-world settings.

Grad School Ready

UNI Spanish majors have gone on to succeed in nationally recognized graduate programs.


Learn more about Spanish

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Contact us directly at:

Department of Languages and Literatures
1001 Bartlett Hall
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0506

Phone: 319.273.2821
Fax: 319.273.5807

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Spanish placement exam

Spanish for Heritage Speakers – gain credits, save money

If you grew up in a home where Spanish is spoken, should you still study Spanish? At UNI, the answer is yes! The Department of Languages & Literatures allows heritage speakers of Spanish to earn credit based on their previous language experiences that can be applied to UNI language requirements or toward a major or minor in Spanish.

Students who successfully pass Spanish for Heritage Speakers are eligible to automatically earn up to 18 Spanish credits, including:

  • Satisfaction of the foreign language exit requirement
  • 12 credits towards a Spanish minor or Spanish teaching minor
  • 9 credits towards a Spanish major
  • 9 credits towards a Spanish teaching major

Many heritage learners go on to take more advanced courses in literature, cultural studies, translation, and linguistics in Spanish. They also participate in study abroad programs and internships where they apply their Spanish language skills out in the world. These students know that developing academic and professional skills in Spanish will complement their professional advancement in almost any field.

Resources for Spanish Heritage Speakers 

Why study Spanish at UNI?


“I originally was a nursing student, and I got my Associate’s Degree from Marshalltown. However, I realized that I wanted to make more of an impact. Coming to UNI has helped me to decide that I wanted to help people more long term, and I realized social work could help me connect with people, because I really enjoy having that contact with others. Having a Spanish major can help your overall end goal, which is assisting my social work major by broadening the range of people I can impact. Being able to reach a wider scope of people will allow me to help more of those who need it. I also am very interested in diversity, and I want to showcase that throughout my life. Having a social work and Spanish major allows me to do that.”

Martha Ortiz Diaz is a Spanish and social work double major at UNI. 

Spanish Honor Society - Sigma Delta Pi

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A Spanish major enables students to gain a wide-variety of teaching experience by offering courses in communication, literary theory and film. Common career areas for graduates of this major include:

  • Teaching and student affairs
  • health services
  • translation and interpretation
  • public relations
  • law enforcement
  • Business
  • social services
  • journalism


Spanish for Special Purposes
Grammatical review and specialized vocabulary for practical professional situations; develops listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills; and provides a vehicle for cultural awareness. 

Spanish for Heritage Speakers
Reading and writing-intensive Spanish course for heritage speakers of Spanish, including linguistic, literary and cultural content. 

Hispanic Literature
Combined study of Peninsular Spanish and Spanish American literature by genre, period, theme, or author. Topic listed in Schedule of Classes. May be repeated on different topics.

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Study Abroad

Spanish majors are expected to study abroad during their time at UNI. We offer opportunities to study in Spain, Peru and Costa Rica, from two weeks to semester-long, in faculty-led programs as well as studying at local universities with family stay.

Languages and Literatures Features