Spanish and Hispanic Studies | College of Arts

Spanish and Hispanic Studies

Spanish is the third most widely spoken language in the world. Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1605), Garci­a Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), and Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits (1985) are three of the most read novels today. Pablo Picasso’s and Salvador Dali’s paintings have shaped modern art. The current impact of Spanish and Latin American music and cinematography is more than obvious. The Spanish and Hispanic Studies Program at the University of Guelph examines the wealth of Hispanic literature, art and culture, addresses some of the complex Spanish and Latin American historical and political moments, and touches on folk and popular culture. Above all, it strives to help make its students fluent in the Spanish language. The curriculum of the program is established in the context of present realities such as the demand for graduates who speak more than one language, and for those who possess an interdisciplinary background. It addresses Canada’s growing economic and cultural ties with the Hispanic world through multiple free trade agreements, and the general globalization of the job market.

A previous knowledge of Spanish is not required to begin the Spanish and Hispanic Studies Program. Students with grade 12 Spanish or equivalent, students who have lived extensively in Spanish speaking countries and students whose mother tongue is Spanish usually begin in SPAN*2000, Intermediate Spanish I. While it is possible for students to complete their degree in Spanish and Hispanic Studies by taking Spanish courses on campus only, students are encouraged to take advantage of the University of Guelph’s exchange programs and the semester abroad opportunities in Spanish speaking countries.

Major/Minor Requirements

Requirements for a major or minor in Spanish

Course Offerings


Language courses focus on the structure of the Spanish language, vocabulary acquisition, linguistics, composition and translation.  Emphasis on interculturality and development of speaking and listening skills are achieved through small seminar groups in first and second year language courses.  Courses in Latin and in Linguistics are recommended to complement tthe study of the Spanish language. The fourth-year one credit course, SPAN*4500 focuses on the theory of translation translation and on the development of translation skills from Spanish into English and vice versa. Students work with a variety of texts from multiple fields, including journalism, business, science, and literature.

Students who take advantage of Guelph’s exchange and semester abroad programs are usually fluent in the language when they return.


The required courses in the area of culture and civilization provide an introduction to the rich and diverse Spanish and Latin American cultures as manifested in their society, institutions, history and artistic development. Cultural topics are taught through lectures, films, music, seminars, and assigned readings.


Literature courses are topic oriented. Various theoretical concepts are introduced, with an emphasis on textual analysis. Students are trained to think critically and to communicate their thoughts effectively through in-class presentations and discussions, in seminars and in research papers.

Spanish and Hispanic Studies Faculty

Faculty members have diverse academic backgrounds and expertise in various fields of Spanish language, literature and culture. The faculty members are committed to excellence in teaching. By combining their research efforts with effective pedagogical strategies they work together to create an atmosphere in which critical thinking, dialogue, and respect and appreciation of the rich Hispanic language and culture are encouraged.

For further information, please contact the Head of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, Professor Stephen Henighan (